Wednesday

Work place Stress is not Unusual, nor is Treating it with Psychotherapies

It is thought that workplace stress is suffered by as many as one in three workers. This might seem like a high number but considering the conditions of most workplaces it shouldn't really be all that surprising. If you pack a large number of people into any space tensions can rise pretty quickly. Consider how irritable people become on train platforms when the train comes in late. Manners go out the window and people get pushed out of the way in the rush to get a seat.

Putting all those people together in the same room for eight hours a day, day after day, would create enough friction on its own but then make those people carry out a series of complex tasks that depend on everyone doing their part and you have the makings of one big stress factory.

The simple fact is that our brains are not designed to cope with the intense level of activity required by the modern world. Not only does it call for carrying out intricate and abstract tasks but it also requires our brains to navigate an irregular environment, crossing roads with lethal vehicles travelling faster than anything you'll ever encounter in nature, picking out important details amongst a myriad of shop fronts, square buildings and street lights are things even a few billion years of evolution could never prepare us for.

The very psychologically intense nature of modern life is what eventually gave rise to psychotherapy. New strategies had to be developed to help us live in this strange new world. And it continues to get stranger by the day. The vast array of consumer electronics that we use to make our lives convenient also comes with entirely new sets of problems. From being overwhelmed by the clarity of their dazzling displays to worries about what exactly your co worker meant in the comment they left on your social networking site.

Despite all of this many people are still surprised when they develop stress or anxiety. We tend to think that because everyone else is coping with the world around them we should be able to do so as well. The simple fact is that many of the people around you are not coping with the stresses of everyday life.

Many of them may be suffering from anxiety or even depression. It isn't always obvious. Others may be seeing a counsellor or psychotherapist to help them cope with stress in the workplace or other problems they are having in their lives like relationship difficulties or self esteem issues. There is still a degree of taboo around seeing a therapist and even if there weren't they might not want everyone to know they are having difficulty coping with work.

Of the people who are coping, the majority of them likely have a series of coping strategies in place to help them deal with life. But even these can be derailed by an unexpected event such as a bereavement.

In reality seeking psychotherapeutic help to cope is a sensible and pragmatic action to take rather than being a crutch or an admission of failure that many people perceive it to be. And it is far better to seek help in developing coping strategies when stress is beginning rather than waiting until it develops into depression.

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