Showing posts from June, 2020

Workplace Stress: Research, Explanations and Practical Application

Job Strain: The workplace causes stress and illness in two ways: High workload (high job demand) and Low Job Control (low control of deadlines e.t.c.) The Research Marmot et. al.(1997) researched workplace stress and referred to job strain as being a toxic mixture of high workload, low job control and a lack of social support. The combination of these factors was most likely to produce destructive stress in an individual.  The study followed 10,000 civil servants who had worked in Whitehall since 1985. Some of them worked in high-grade jobs (such as accountants) and others worked in low-grade positions such as administration. It was suggested that those in high-grade jobs would have a greater level of workload and control in comparison to the lower grade positions who while having a lower workload they also had lower job control. The job strain model would suggest that they would both suffer from workplace stress for different reasons. The researchers began by assessing the level work

Intention or Nice Idea?

How many times have you had great intentions to make a positive change in your life only to find you lose enthusiasm for it after a few days or weeks?  You start off with great vigour and drive only to find yourself drifting away from your goal and going back to your old ways of thinking. Why? Maybe your goal was a nice idea rather than a firm intention? The Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 2011) The likelihood of a person engaging in a particular behaviour can be predicted by their intention to succeed. Take, for example, the person having the intention to tackle their problem with self-confidence… When the person believes that they will be able to be more confident rather than simply hoping that they will be able to, they are move from a desire to an intention. Likewise, when they have experience of other’s having success in a similar way, they have a greater investment in their own abilities succeed too. Without a belief in our abilities, what appears  to be an intention is l

Individual Differences and Emotional Problems

Ever wondered why one person  develops an anxiety condition and another doesn’t? You know what I mean… some people have phobias while other’s don’t. One person may suffer terribly with depression while the next person never has to fight against the same emotional numbness. In years gone by, people were described as ‘having trouble with their nerves’, or being ‘highly strung,’ but that just describes how they are and not WHY they are so. A description is not an explanation and in terms of what might have caused the problem, we are left empty-handed. If you were to ask the person suffering from depression or phobia, WHY they had that problem, they might shrug their shoulders and say: “that’s just the way I am.” Other times they might offer an explanation… “I know where it all began, I was trapped in the cupboard under the stairs as a child, I was terrified. You see… that’s why I don’t like getting into lifts now…” What if you were to ask why they think that caused their phobia, they

Explaining Health Anxiety

Jamie would have agreed if you had said he was a bit of a Hypochondriac, but he was just being polite because deep down he really did feel that something was wrong. He took pride in being healthy and so it when he spent longer in the bathroom each day checking for physical signs of illness it explained to himself as common sense. When he used the internet to reassure himself that that spot on his arm was not skin cancer, he told himself it was better to be safe than sorry. His girlfriend became frustrated having to constantly reassure him that he didn’t have a temperature even though he had several electronic thermometers; one was not enough: what if one wasn’t working properly? As he waited for his second GP appointment that month, he was sure that even though the blood test results had come back negative, maybe they had missed something. His doctor had reassured him that there was nothing to worry about, but there was that nagging doubt. A few days later there would be ano

False Consensus and Self-Serving Bias

How agreeable are your opinions? Do most people agree with your point of view? We tend to overestimate the extent people agree with us and feel satisfied when there is a consensus with the point we are making. The bias is a manipulation of our perception. We perceive that those around us are in agreement with our views and wishes more often than is realistically justified. If you are in a discussion with someone about a topic they feel strongly about they will be looking for confirmation that their point of view is correct. They will put their point across as clearly as they see it and if it appears that you are going to have an opposing viewpoint they will further put emphasis on the points which they feel are the most compelling. What happens when that doesn’t work? They will look for confirmation from others to ‘prove’ the righteousness of their point. They have the expectation that others will, of course, agree with them. They are falsely assuming a consensus before the evide

Anxiety - Past Concerns Making Themselves Known

Your heart beats alarmingly quickly. You become aware that you are breathing more rapidly. It’s like you are struggling for air. You can feel a tightness in the chest with hot or cold flushes; feeling rooted to the spot.  Sound familiar? These symptoms are what we commonly call an anxiety attack. I would estimate that at least 80% of the people I see have experienced some or all of these feelings at some time; often without realising that they were having an anxiety attack. Perhaps the most frustrating thing for the sufferer is their inability to control the anxiety once it has taken hold. They realise the anxiety doesn’t make sense but they continue to feel a rising fear within themselves. To the observer, it can seem quite dramatic, but many sufferers have developed an ability to conceal how they are feeling; they suffer in silence. Something inside yourself but outside your own control. The person feels anxious but doesn’t know where it is coming from so their mind associate