Dealing with stress of modern workplaces
More organisations are becoming aware of their corporate responsibility to look after their leaders, managers and staff with regards to mental wellbeing, but there is still a long way to go.
An opportunity to learn how to do more, and why they should, will be presented this month at a pair of two-day resilience training workshops.
Life has always been stressful, but today there are stressors that our predecessors did not have to deal with, according to organisational psychologist Rentia Landman.
There are new technologies, a faster pace of life and increased “living apart” in contrast to previous generations who were more likely to pull together to cope with stressors.
When people become stressed at work, or elsewhere, there are dangers not only for them, but also the people around them.
“There is a level of exhaustion that manifests in physical and emotional illnesses. Research has proven that the majority of illnesses today can be traced back to emotions not being handled appropriately,” Ms Landman said.
She said physical illnesses are on the rise, as is the rate of physiological disorders being diagnosed, and these can be directly related back to internal and external stress.
In addition, there can be a cascading effect on others, including children whose parents have not leanrt to cope with stress themselves, and therefore are unable to pass those skills to them.
“You have to change the pattern if you are not heading in a positive direction. Take ownership of that. You have to start with ‘me',” Ms Landman said.
“If people can rely on the workplace to teach them those skills, then they can take them back into their home and be better adults and better parents, and put those skills back into their children.”
Ms Landman, who is based in South Africa, will be the trainer at the Synergistix Resilience Training events this month. The workshops are hosted by Bermudian-based Benedict Associates Ltd, and will take place at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.
According to Benedict Associates: “Leaders at all levels need to know how to anticipate and cope with internal and external stress. This training will equip you with tools, concrete actions and a practical individualised plan that creates a depth of resilience to utilise daily and especially when difficult times arise in any area of life.”
The interactive training aims to build synergy between a person's mental, physical, socio-emotional and spiritual quadrants, and give them tools to use when faced with workload challenges and “life stressors”.
Ms Landman said that to adapt and become better requires resilience, and practice.
“It is not something you have or don't have, it is something you have to work at,” she said.
“You are not going to be able to run a marathon today just because you decided to run a marathon. It is something you have to train for. Resilience is the same thing. It is something we constantly need to practise to improve our capacity so that when stress happens to us we have reserves to draw on.”
Ms Landman said there are different coping mechanisms, such as exercising, or going into a spiritual space.
But often people only rely on one, and this creates a challenge when that is taken away. As an example, an athlete might be focused on physical fitness but then they get injured and lose their coping mechanism.
Being proactive, you can ensure you have more than one coping mechanism or strategy to manage yourself out of stress.
Synergistix Resilience training profiles a person's characteristics and coping techniques, provides an understanding of physical and psychological implications of the stress process, including stress and burnout indicators, and create an action plan to strengthen development areas and improve resilience, performance, quality of life and wellness.
Ms Landman said it is important to give instruction and equip people with knowledge and strategies that they can practice.
“In two days I give you the ‘why' and the science behind why it makes sense. We can share practices and case studies about what a difference it can make and practice some of it in sessions. At the end of the two days you actually have practical actions.”
She added: “To change some of those core beliefs you have been holding on to is quite an emotive process. We challenge people to discuss things, to get rid of that stuff.”
Burgert van Jaarsveldt, assistant managing director at Benedict, said: “We are very excited to bring this training to Bermuda. Organisations and leaders are becoming more aware of the responsibility towards their own and employee wellbeing.
“There is a continuous and substantial return on investment for both organisations and individuals to actively build resilience and the Synergistix Resilience Training is a programme with statistically proven results.
“Over the past 30 some years, from time to time, Benedict has brought significant figures to our community including Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Travelled; Jim Cathcart, an author and motivational speaker; Chris Roebuck, a speaker on leaders and entrepreneurship; and Dan Newby, author of several book on shifting emotions. Rentia Landman will rank well with those who have come before her.”
He added that Benedict Associates has in-house organisational psychologists to assist businesses with organisational development initiatives.
• The workshops are on March 19-20, and March 23-24. For information and to reserve a place, e-mail email@example.com or call Vaughn or Burgert on 295-2070