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Category Archives for "Stress"

Jul 07

Healthcare Professionals: 3 Keys to Preventing Burnout

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

We don’t often think about the extreme stress that medical practitioners endure while shouldering the tremendous responsibility for the lives of their patients. Burnout and early career termination are frequent occurrences among these professionals, whether they are doctors, nurses, mental health professionals, trauma first responders, EMS professionals or emergency room staff.

Some of these medical professionals work with a population of clients whose needs are dramatic and immediate—victims of catastrophic injuries and/or those who are in overwhelming pain. As any family whose life has been turned upside down by a catastrophic injury will attest, navigating the healthcare system and coordinating the multiple aspects of care is a monumental and overwhelming undertaking. In the split second that it takes for the accident to take place, the family’s lives change dramatically and often permanently.

Dealing with catastrophic injuries and complex pain conditions necessitate a complex approach that supports not only the victim but everyone connected to the victim, every step of the way.  Successful outcomes require an extremely dedicated and professional case management team, with a laser focus on optimal medical recovery.

I am honored to be invited to keynote the 2016 Summit for a company that has taken on these challenges and has done so with an amazing track record of success.  This company, filled with unsung heroes, is Paradigm Outcomes.  Like all companies charged with taking on dramatic and often life-threatening cases, Paradigm’s teams are extremely vulnerable to burnout. Attaining optimal outcomes can have burnout side effects.  Of course, burnout is no stranger to any occupation, so the tips below apply to any industry where stress occurs simultaneously with job performance.

3 Keys to Preventing Burnout

1. Make Stress Resilience Practice a Part of Every Day

Healthcare professionals, especially those working with urgent, catastrophic cases, rarely afford themselves the time to develop stress resiliency skills.  They are so focused on the task at hand that they concentrate on providing their skills to others, neglecting themselves in the process.  Such activities as taking a brisk walk during breaks and after meals can go a long way toward calming and rebuilding mental strength.

The new rage in mental health is “mindfulness.”  You can obtain free mindfulness apps on your phone, and these relaxing exercises can attain powerful results in literally minutes.

Having a break room with relaxing chairs, calming music and pictures/posters of island paradises, pristine mountain scenes, etc., can help to melt away stress.  Being able to discuss the difficult cases with colleagues in such places can eliminate feelings of helplessness that often undermine burnout.

[Tweet “Tips for #healthcare professionals: 3 keys to preventing #burnout.”]

2. Have Realistic Expectations

Many healthcare professionals are hard-wired with Type A personality traits.  Among those traits is the need to be perfect in everything one sets out to do.  You can imagine how such a need is self-destructive.

Healthcare professionals often go into this career field with the admirable desire to help people recover and save lives, but they will never be able to solve every issue and save every life.  You need to recognize that you can diligently diagnose, design treatment plans, consult with colleagues and treat your patients, but you will not always save them…no one can.  Moreover, a large part of “saving” patients depends on the patient being compliant with the treatment plan.  Sadly, that important ingredient is often missing.

Change your expectations to doing the best you can with the available technology and medicine, rather than feeling like a failure when patients do not recover.  Self-acceptance without judgment is an important trait for everyone to embrace.

3. Embrace SELF-Compassion

Self-acceptance involves self-compassion. Healthcare professionals are hard-wired with empathy and compassion for their patients, but all too often self-acceptance and self-compassion are missing.  Simply put, if your best friend was suffering from the stress in which you find yourself, what advice would you give to her/him?  I’m certain you would be empathic and make a myriad of healthy suggestions, but, do you ever follow the same stress-reducing prescriptions for yourself?

Treat yourself like you would advise your best friend or close relative.  Understand that it’s natural to be stressed under these circumstances.  Give yourself a break!

Another powerful suggestion is to recover your balance through the balance of others.  During the devastating bombing of Britain in WWII, the population was able to maintain their balance by identifying with the calm, not-to-worry demeanor of their leader, Winston Churchill.

Make sure there is at least one person in your life who faces and reacts to stressors very calmly.  Reach out to that person to discuss the stressors you face, and resonate with her/his calmness.  This is the essence of giving yourself permission to have self-compassion.  Our bodies have evolved to mobilize to stressors, which can be exhausting.  Absorbing the calmness of others enduring the same stressors can serve to de-activate your stress.

These are the important keys to resilience that I will share with the catastrophic event teams attending the Paradigm Outcomes Summit in October. They are some of the key ways that healthcare professionals – and indeed anyone in a stressful career – can use to prevent burnout.

Jun 23

2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey: Still a Long Way to Go in Workplace Wellness

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Workplace Wellness

Every year the American Psychological Association conducts a survey to study stress, workplace wellness, and other critical factors among America’s workers. The 2016 survey was conducted in March and findings were released in June, so it’s time once again to examine the results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey. The results show key areas where employers can improve their respective workplaces.

My overall thoughts on the 2016 APA Work and Well-Being Survey? The results are both surprising and disappointing.

Main Findings of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey

Overall, the findings show that after all of these years of consistent research findings by professional industrial/organizational psychologists, many companies are still failing in several critical areas.

Some of the most disappointing findings I read:

  • Only about half of those surveyed feel valued by their employer.
  • About half of workers still do not believe that their employer provides opportunities to participate in decision-making, solving problems, or setting goals.
  • The main sources of worker job stress are low salaries and insufficient opportunities for development and advancement

Feeling valued and having the opportunity to challenge yourself, reach goals, and grow as a worker are basic needs that every company must address. These crucial elements help employers nurture their most valued assets—their employees.

Workplace Wellness Findings

In addition to job stress, the APA Work and Well-Being Survey also examined workplace wellness, a topic that I have covered in recent blog posts.

Despite the research and anecdotal documentation of the wonderful benefits of workplace wellness programs, the survey found that only one-third of American workers regularly participates in such health-promoting programs, when provided by their employers.

Secondly, despite the plethora of research proving that workplace wellness programs promote health (for example, by proactively teaching employees how to manage stress), more than half of those surveyed believe that their work climate does not support employee wellness and a third still complain of chronic stress in their jobs!

There is evidence that more than half of the companies in the U.S. still do not see the benefits of promoting worker and job site wellness initiatives.

Much more education regarding the health and bottom line benefits for employees and their companies, respectively, must be provided for HR professionals.

[Tweet “2016 @APA #Work and #WellBeing Survey – still a long way to go in workplace #wellness.”]

What Key Element Differentiates Companies that Embrace Wellness Initiatives from Those that Do Not?

From the survey results, it seems that the key determinant of whether a company embraces workplace health and wellness programs is whether senior leadership supports and encourages wellness.  A whopping seventy-three percent of employees who have senior managers who show support and commitment to well-being initiatives said their companies encouraged and nurtured healthy workplace and healthy lifestyle plans.

There are also other significant, positive outcomes for employees with senior leadership that supports and encourages wellness. These employees:

  • Feel motivated to do their best.
  • Have higher job satisfaction.
  • Have positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers.

Eighty-nine percent of these employees also recommended their company as a “good place to work” and were less likely to leave their job the next year.

Using the Findings to Create Better Workplaces

Results of the APA Work and Well-Being Survey demonstrate that the presence of senior leadership that embraces wellness programs is linked to many far-ranging outcomes. As David W. Ballard, director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, concludes, “When supervisors’ actions match their words, employees notice.” 

The take-home message from the APA Work and Well-Being Survey is that employers must focus training on their senior leaders and be sure they understand the critical need for workplace health and well-being initiatives.  Ballard puts it succinctly: “Employers who truly embrace well-being as part of how they do business create a workplace where both employees and the organization thrive.”

May 05

How Corporate Wellness Programs Boost Employees AND Companies

By Dr. Jack Singer | Self Improvement , Stress , Stress Management , Workplace Wellness

Corporate wellness is a current buzz word, but the fact is, some businesses have been offering corporate wellness programs for years or even decades. New research on corporate wellness and the physical effects of stress is making more and more corporations interested in implementing their own wellness programs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the norm in the future.

Arguably the most convincing study on corporate wellness was recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA). It tackles the argument that some companies have for not enacting wellness programs – more specifically, some argue that although these programs benefit employees, they are costly and don’t help the business’s bottom line. As it turns out, this thinking is wrong.

APA Study Shows the Financial Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs

This study looked at stock portfolios from two different groups of publically-traded companies. The first group had established wellness programs for their employees – robust wellness programs that had won industry awards. The second group was composed of traditional publicly-traded companies that had no wellness programs.

The researchers then compared the performance of each groups’ stock portfolios over a period of 14 years. In the end, they found that companies with wellness programs outperformed the S&P by more than 200 percent.

This study demonstrates that not only do corporate wellness programs benefit individual employees – they also impact a company’s profit. This shows that it is financially and fiscally smart to implement wellness programs in order to increase revenue and profitability.

How Corporate Wellness Works on the Individual Level

Obviously, this study took a macro-level view of corporate wellness, examining performance at the company level. So how does corporate wellness work at the individual level to produce these astounding results on corporate profit?

On the individual level, corporate wellness programs work to raise the health of your workers. By focusing on physical health, mental health, diet, and exercise, your employees stay healthy and strong. They get sick less often, which means fewer insurance claims and fewer missed days of work. And their work improves because they are alert, confident and perceptive. They make fewer mistakes, their productivity improves and so does their morale. These individual effects then add up to company-wide improvements which fuel profit growth.

Corporate wellness programs contain a range of elements related to physical health, exercise, diet and mental health. Although all of these components are important to a well-rounded corporate wellness program, I argue that mental health is a crucial concern for any business starting a corporate wellness program.

This is because mental health impacts other forms of health and there are proven ways you CAN change the amount of stress in your life. This is done by understanding how stress forms – that it isn’t a result of events but rather your interpretation of those events – and then taking steps to change your interpretations. Doing so not only improves your mental health, but your physical health as well.

Apr 21

How Stress Impacts Physical Health: Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

In my last blog post over at Advising the Advisors, I talked about how stress forms. Although most people view stress as the result of specific negative events in their lives, stress is actually not formed by these events but rather how you interpret them. A negative event can trigger a series of negative thought patterns, and when you get caught in these tangents you, yourself, create your own stress.

Fortunately, we are capable of changing our thought patterns. With every event we encounter we make choices about how we interpret the event (whether we realize it or not). By becoming mentally aware of how we interpret events, we can reduce and even eliminate stress in our lives. Saying goodbye to stress means living a happier, more productive and fulfilling life.

However, a focus on mental health does more than just reduce stress. Actually, this reduction in stress will improve your physical health as well. Let me explain how stress impacts physical health by first taking a look at fight or flight in the 21st century.

Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

Think back to the last biology class you took and you might remember an idea called the fight or flight response. This is a biological system that originated back in early human history when physical threats were abundant. A sudden noise, for example, would trigger the fight or flight alarm system to go off in your brain. This stress response would make us more vigilant so we could protect our own lives. If a hungry tiger was lurking around the corner, we were primed to process that information quickly and make the right choice (fight or flight) so we wouldn’t end up as dinner.

Our fight or flight response still works in the 21st century, but the things we respond to are a lot different than when the system was first developed. Many of us live in safe environments, so we don’t have to worry about being devoured by a predator. However, events in our lives can still trigger the fight or flight alarm system. Our subconscious mind doesn’t know if this is a life-threatening event or not, but it is not going to take any chances. If we interpret the event as a threat, we create stress and flip the switch that turns on the fight or flight nervous system.

[Tweet “#Stress is making you sick! Learn how stress impacts physical #health here.”]

How Stress Impacts Physical Health

The fight or flight response has not changed much from our early days. Our body physically tenses up as we prepare to flee or to battle. We become hyper-vigilant and on edge.  And our other systems shut down or become minimized so we can expend our energy in fight or flight mode.

All of these things impact our physical health:

  • Anxiety and tension can raise blood pressure and make you susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses.
  • Our hyper-vigilant state means it is hard to sleep and can bring about insomnia.
  • Our immune system is minimized during the fight or flight response, making us more receptive to illness with a decreased ability to fight that illness off.

This demonstrates how stress can have a physical impact on our bodies, and how reducing stress can improve our physical health. In fact, the American Medical Association has admitted that ‘gatekeepers’ in the medical community (such as family practice doctors and internists) say that 2 out of 3 of their clients don’t have a physical disease. They do have real symptoms, but these symptoms are caused by some kind of stress. They run busy practices so the most efficient procedure is to treat the symptoms. However, what we really need to do is deal with the original cause of these symptoms – stress and our ability to manage it.

Knowing how stress impacts physical health, every individual who wants to live a happier and healthier life should focus on their mental well-being. Not only is it possible to reduce your stress by changing how you interpret events, but in doing so you can also improve your physical health.

Apr 15

How Stress Can Knock the Health Out of You!

By Dr. Jack Singer | Stress , Stress Management

Robert Sapolsky in his wonderful book, “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers,” said it best: “A critical shift in medicine has been the recognition that many of the damaging diseases of slow accumulation can be either caused or made far worse by stress.

Accordingly, a wealth of research has surfaced over the past 30 years showing clear relationships between stress and major diseases, including asthma, back and neck pain, various cancers, cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, GI disorders and a variety of headaches.

The Mind-Body Relationship

Our bodies have been hot wired genetically to deal with stressors involved in perceived physical danger, since we lived in caves. Seeing a saber-toothed tiger lurking outside of ones’ cave automatically sets off the “fight-flight-freeze” nervous system, which begins a chain of physiological reactions directed at protecting the internal organs and preparing the body to escape the danger.

This is all well and good, except that to be completely efficient, this “fight-flight-freeze” reaction harnesses all of the energy in the body and shuts down many systems that are not necessary for immediate survival, while this nervous system is pressed into action. Critically, one of those systems is the immune system. Most danger can be dealt with in a matter of a few minutes, after which the body resumes normal functioning, much like a zebra goes back to calmly grazing after escaping a stalking lion.

So, shutting down the immune system for a few minutes while someone deals with a dangerous situation, is not a problem. The problem for we humans in the 21st Century is that we are worriers, and each time we worry, the fight-flight-freeze system switches on, so if one is often worried, stressed, and anxious, her/his immune system is continually shutting off, making the onset of disease highly likely.

This is why learning stress mastery skills reverses the process and keeps the immune system strong and efficient.

In my own 33- year practice as a Clinical Psychologist, using a combination of psychotherapy and hypnotherapy, without medication, I have resolved symptoms of irritable bowel, headaches, hypertension, and even bulging back discs and cancer! The power of the mind over every system in the body is truly amazing.

Sep 18

Seven Surefire Strategies for Success Over Stress: How to Build Lasting Resilience!

By Dr. Jack Singer | Self Improvement , Stress , Stress Management

By Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.

Susan has been suffering a series of medical conditions, which her doctors have not been able to diagnose or treat effectively. On and off pain in her stomach, achiness in her neck and back and headaches have become a regular part of her life. Susan fears that she may have cancer or another dreaded disease that has been missed by her doctors. After a series of negative tests, the doctors concluded that there is no disease present and that her symptoms are the result of the stresses in her life. Stress can and does cause medical symptoms with no disease present. In fact, it has been estimated by medical practitioners that up to 75% of the patients they treat have real symptoms, but these symptoms are caused by stress alone, not by a disease. Everyone knows about relaxation, exercise and proper diet, but what other powerful strategies can Susan use to continually master the stresses in her life?

  • Understand the warning signs of your “Internal Critic” at work. Your self-talk will either keep you well or make you sick. Negative, pessimistic messages that you allow to pass through your mind immediately leads to muscle tightening throughout the body. This tightening is accompanied by more rapid breathing and often high blood pressure. You can practice catching yourself when these types of negative thoughts go through your mind and make a fist, which is a reminder to STOP thinking that way. Next, take a few, deep breaths, release the fist, relax and proceed to think positively and optimistically.

There is an old saying that “What you believe, you can achieve.” Internal self-talk leads to beliefs (either positive or negative) and beliefs lead to the body’s reactions. So looking at stressful situations in a positive, optimistic way, calms the body and mind. Example: “My boss may be angry because of something else happening in his life today. I have no evidence that he is really angry at me.”

  • Give yourself positive affirmations each day. Positive affirmations are positive, optimistic thoughts about your future as if you have already gotten there as of today. Since your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between something real or imagined (for example, visualize yourself biting into a tart lemon and see what your mind tells your salivary glands to do), when you give yourself positive affirmations and imagine these things are actually happening right now, your subconscious mind wants to make them happen for you. Example: “I will remain calm and relaxed even when my teenager tries to push my buttons. It is so wonderful to have control over my emotions.”

Make a list of at least seven positive affirmations to say each morning upon arising and each evening when retiring. Say each one 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening, breathing slowly and imagine yourself accomplishing each affirmation as you recite it.

  • Choose to make optimistic interpretations of events in your life. Recent research depicts the positive physical health consequences of finding a silver lining in every dark cloud that comes your way. When you view unfortunate, bothersome events in your life as temporary and not permanent indicators of you having a weakness or a flaw, you can continually ward off the stresses of events that take place in your life. In fact, research shows that maintaining an optimistic interpretation of events leads to remission of disease and the generation of T-cells, which are critical components of your immune systems! More importantly, Example: “Just because I haven’t found the right partner in life so far does not discourage me. I am particular and that’s good. It’s only a matter of time until I find my sole mate.”

The key here is choice. You always have the choice in how you will see a situation and deal with it. As someone once said, “You can find yourself in the middle of nowhere…or, in the middle of nowhere, YOU can find yourself!”

  • Set realistic goals. When you set attainable, healthy goals and write them down, you will stay focused and have a high probability of accomplishing them. People are 11 times more likely to reach a goal when they write it down, as opposed to simply thinking about the goal. Put these goals into your computer to flash reminders to you on a regular basis. Visualize attaining these goals each night as you fall asleep and you will maximize your ability to achieve them! Write down short and long-term goals that are specific and action-oriented. Example: “I will have a pad of paper printed with the words, ‘Things to do Today’ across the top and lines with check off boxes on each page. This will help me stay focused on what I have to do each day and I will have a nice sense of accomplishment.”

A key question to ask yourself is “What behaviors could I engage in to be sure I’ll sabotage myself from meeting my goals?” If you are honest with yourself, you’ll see exactly why you haven’t reached your goals before and you’ll realize what you need to do to change those behaviors today.

  • Stay close to positive people and positive influences. Unfortunately, many of you are married to, related to, or work for negative, pessimistic people. These are folks who have their own fears of change, do not take risks, and wallow in their own misery. These members of the “negativity club” want you to join them, because that helps them to justify their own behavior and ideas. Become a “Teflon” person by letting the comments of these folks bounce off you. Assert yourself and politely tell them to keep their negative opinions about you or your ideas to themselves.

Find positive, optimistic, supportive and non-judgmental people to get close to, who will encourage and reinforce you. What a breath of fresh air that will feel like!

  • Find healthy ways to defuse frustration and anger. Schedule regular visits to a gym, take dancing lessons, get involved in church activities, volunteer and scream to your heart’s content at a sporting event. All of these activities have been shown to melt away angry emotions.
  • Search for opportunities for fun and laughter. Research has shown the immense power of fun and laughter on both our emotions and our bodies. Sadly, the average youngster laughs more than 100 times a day, while the average adult laughs only about 15 times.We now know that a primary antidote for stress is fun, laughter and engaging your sense of humor. Whether it is reading a joke book, watching a funny movie or sitcom, or using your creativity to lighten up your workplace, bringing fun into your life is immensely important for your health. Endorphins, which override stress hormones and produce a sense of release and calm, are released by the brain every time you laugh or engage in a fun activity. In fact, the immune system is impacted in a powerful way by fun and laughter.

    Someone once said the “people don’t stop laughing and having fun because they get old…they get old because they stop laughing and having fun!” So, by making sure that your life includes frequent episodes of laughing and looking at the funny side of events that take place in the world…you will surely add life to your years and years to your life!

 

Mar 27

Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

By Dr. Jack Singer | Confidence , Stress , Stress Management

3 videos by Amy Cuddy that you should watch.

There has been a lot of research into how others perceive our body language, and the importance of sending the right message. However, Amy Cuddy delves into how we are influenced by our own body language — and how a few strategic power poses can make a world of difference in our self-confidence and stress levels.

http://youtu.be/1YyH2frFL1A

 

 

Jan 16

Manage Job/Workplace Stress – The Golden Rule

By Dr. Jack Singer | Stress , Stress Management

There are many times that you apply for the job. You get the job. And the job pretty much sucks.

You often put in your best efforts, but everyone around you is dissatisfied. The reasons are beyond your understanding. Your fellow-workers are not happy with you; some of them do not hesitate to taunt you. Your boss frowns at you for nothing. Your wife nags you for your late arrival by 30 minutes from the office. Traveling through public transport, leaving your kid to school, going to the market in between hustle and bustle of office and home-what more is required for you to say, ‘oh, this hellish life!’

These are some of the issues that contribute to your job workplace stress.

If someone else is to be blamed for your stress, blame yourself much more for giving that prominent place to the evil monster Stress. Throw him out lock, stock and barrel from your personality. Take a firm stand. Yes, it is possible; it is achievable.

A story goes thus: An educated youngster, fed up of his job workplace stress, ran away to Himalayas. There he met a Yogi. The youngster prostrated at his feet with all humility, and prayed that he wants to stay at His hermitage, as he was fed up of the city life and the job workplace stress.

Yogi’s reply was historic: Don’t runaway to any Ashram; create an Ashram, where you are!

What you need to is to analyze and understand your stress? Take out the negativities one by one. Unburden the burden! Mind in itself, doesn’t have any existence. It is supposed to be a bundle of thoughts. Take out the thoughts, one by one and reduce the heavy load that you unnecessarily carry on your head.

There was another young man who wanted to take a bath in the sea. He stood at the seashore all the time worrying – let these waves disappear from the ocean, then I will take bath. Will that situation ever be possible? The message to such an youngster would be- having gone for a sea bath, don’t be afraid of the oncoming waves. Take your plunge!

These points are ones that we all understand:

  • Getting a job, involves lots of stress.
  • Getting a job, without the stressful environment, is a blessing.
  • Getting a job, with the type work profile that you like, a cheerfully disposed staff, and the administration that maintains the human relations at its best, is a boon!

With a positive bent of mind it is possible to control and transcend job workplace stress. Stick to your job, have patience and understanding! Go placidly amidst the noise and din. Everything is happening, as it should!

Until next time, this is Dr. Jack Singer.

Jul 22

Advising the Advisors – Part V

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Financial Advisors , Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

Additional Distorted Thinking Habits for Which Advisors Should Be on the Lookout

Recall that in my last segment, I discussed the thinking patterns in which we frequently engage whenever we encounter difficult or challenging events. And, if our “Internal Critics” are allowed to run rampant, those thinking patterns tend to be self-defeating, negative and pessimistic. Often, these patterns of thinking are irrational expectations and beliefs about ourselves, how others view us, the situation and/or pessimistic predictions about how the situation will turn out. Such habitual thinking patterns exacerbates our stress dramatically and can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and even worthlessness!

I discussed All or Nothing, Mind-Reading, Mental Filter, Magnification and Catastrophising. In this segment I will discuss Having to be Right, Should Statements, Overgeneralization, Blaming and Emotional Reasoning.

Having to be Right

“ I certainly know much more than my clients do about investing and wealth management. Therefore, if I make a recommendation, it had better be right.”

This form of distorted thinking develops out of insecurity. You are worried about what it says about you if you are ever wrong. Unpredictable downturns in the market can lead to losses for your clients, yet you feel so strongly that you have to be right in your predictions, that you don’t provide the inevitable market fluctuation caveat to them when making recommendations.

You rarely consult with colleagues before making recommendations to clients, believing that shows a weakness about you to both your clients and your colleagues. Consequently, you tend to ignore or discount others’ (especially clients’) opinions, if they disagree with yours. Your mind is closed to other possibilities because you are very threatened by the idea that you could be wrong.

Should Statements

“I never should have made that recommendation. Look how it turned out! I’d better be more careful the next time I make a recommendation or I will surely lose this client.”

If you look carefully, you will also see Catastrophising (Fortune Telling) in this distortion.

People whose thoughts frequently include “ I should…,” “I must…,” or “I’d better…” are making an unconscious assumption that there is a universal list of iron clad “rules” (in addition to the laws of the land and your particular religious commandments) to which we must all adhere, or we will be judged in a negative way. If you break the “rule” (e.g., “I never should have…”), it leads to you having feelings of guilt and incompetence. If someone else breaks the “rule” (e.g., “He never should have…”) it leads to you feeling angry or frustrated.

Although we often regret actions that had unfortunate outcomes and we may occasionally use a phrase such as “I should have,” the continual use of such words leaves no room for innocent mistakes. It smacks of having to be perfect in order to feel good about yourself.

Overgeneralization

“Since I lost money for my client thinking I made a good investment decision, I will probably continue to do so. It seems like every time he asks my advice, I make suggestions that are awful. He’ll probably fire me”

If you look carefully at this string of thoughts, it also involves Catastrophizing (Fortune Telling).

Overgeneralization involves an incident or situation in which you fail to achieve what you desire and you generalize from that situation to an overwhelming series of negative ideas about yourself. You believe that because of this unfortunate incident, it is inevitable that it will be followed by a never-ending pattern of similar unfortunate events.

A tip-off to this kind of thinking pattern is the frequent use of words such as never, always, all, every and none. These absolutes are exaggerations of reality and they are extremely self-defeating.

Blaming

“I’m struggling in my business because I have a bunch of clients who expect me to accurately predict the market. Who do they think I am, anyway, a psychic?”

This is an interesting example of distorted thinking because it is common to find someone or something to blame when you fail to accomplish something important to you. In fact, there may be an advantage to finding an excuse to explain failure, rather than blaming yourself, as if you are hopelessly incompetent. The real problem with the Blaming distortion is when you rarely take responsibility for events that befall you and continuously blame others. Obviously, when this happens you don’t learn from your mistakes.

Emotional Reasoning

“I feel so stupid because I couldn’t answer my client’s complicated question. Since I feel stupid, I’ll probably always struggle with these kinds of questions.”

This example of distorted thinking involves drawing the wrong conclusion, based strictly on your emotions at the time. Because you feel an emotion or have a negative thought, you conclude it must be true. So, if if you make a mistake and describe it as stupid, then you conclude that you are stupid.

If you feel anger after speaking on the phone with a client, you conclude that the client must have done something wrong to you, rather than realizing that your angry emotions may be based on faulty thinking or not having all of the information (such as believing that your client will always be angry at you for not having the answer right away).

Jul 15

Advising the Advisors – Part IV

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Financial Advisors , Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

Recognizing Your Distorted Thinking Habits

Recall that in my last segment, I discussed the foundation of all stress, mood and attitude issues is your “Internal Critic,” that little voice in your head that you listen to hundreds of times each day. Sadly, most of us allow negative, self-defeating, distorted thoughts to interfere with our work every day—unless we become aware of our thinking habits and take charge them.

As Dr. David Burns, a pioneer in the field of Cognitive Therapy, puts it: “If you want to break out of a bad mood, you must first understand that every type of negative feeling results from a specific kind of negative thought.” Left unchallenged, the “Internal Critic” and its distorted thought patterns can quickly lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.

These five examples of distorted thinking habits are very commonly used by advisors.

Five Common Distorted Thinking Habits. Learning about the thinking patterns that you employ whenever you encounter difficult or challenging events is the first step in making life-altering changes in your thinking. This is a critical first step in changing the thinking habits that lead to depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. There are basically ten categories of distorted thinking patterns. Here are examples of the first five:

All or Nothing. “If I can’t make money for all of my clients, all of the time, despite market fluctuations, I feel like a failure.” These thoughts are distorted because you look at your world as strictly black or white, good or bad. Such thinking often involves attempting to be perfect, which is obviously impossible.

Mind Reading. “My manager has probably lost faith in me because I haven’t landed the number of new clients that he expected this month.” Mind Reading is a very common thinking habit. You conclude that somehow you have an ESP-like understanding of what people are feeling and thinking about you. Even though you have no real evidence or proof that these people are having these thoughts or feelings about you, you just “feel” it, so you conclude it must be true.

Mental Filter. “Even though my performance review was positive across the board, my manager said I do need to improve my customer service skills when I am on the phone with clients. He must be disappointed in me.” This form of distorted thinking involves having tunnel vision when it comes to positives in your life. You can have ten positive things said about you or your performance, but you dwell only on the single negative comment, as if the positives count for nothing. (The example above also involves the mind reading distortion.)

Magnification. “ I must be a terrible advisor because the product I recommended for my client lost seven per cent of its value in a week. I made a huge mistake, I feel awful and I wouldn’t blame the client if he is disgusted. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes his business elsewhere.” In this kind of distorted thinking habit, you blow things out of perspective and dramatically intensify what is actually happening. You use dramatic descriptions, such as terrible, awful, huge and disgusted to describe situations and outcomes that are rarely that critical.

Catastrophising or Fortune-Telling.
“What if I continue to get turned down in my cold calling? I will fail as an advisor, and since I don’t have another career I’d like to pursue, I’ll become a failure as a husband and provider for my family.” Fortune-telling is predicting dramatically negative things happening, as if you have absolutely no control over them and your fate is sealed. A clue to this habit is the use of “what ifs” You take a situation, such as a week full of rejections from your cold calls, and blow this out of proportion by assuming that a disastrous outcome is on its way. You come to expect a catastrophic outcome, as if you have a crystal ball to look into the future and you usually expect that the outcome will be negative.

Jul 08

Advising the Advisors – Part III

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

It all Starts with Your “Internal Critic”

Recall that in my last segment, Advising the Advisors – Part 2: Buffer Yourself Against the Real Cause of ALL of Your Stress, I discussed the foundation of all stress, among advisors (and anyone else, for that matter) which is not, events, such as dealing with an angry client, having difficulty with your prospecting calls,  or the market tanking unexpectedly. it is your “self-talk” about each event that either causes stress or doesn’t.  And your self-talk habits are part of what I call your “Internal Critic.”

Your “Internal Critic” is that little voice within that spews out an average of 55,000 words per day, 77% of which are negative, self-defeating messages.  Current research in the field of Cognitive Psychology shows that self-limiting, negative and pessimistic thoughts (self-talk) inhibit your success because they undermine your self-confidence. Examples are thoughts that begin with variations of the following: “What if…,“I hope I don’t . . .” “I should have said . . .” “The client won’t like me if . . .” “I always have problems with . . .” “I probably won’t be able to close this sale,” or “I can’t believe how stupid I was to tell her . . .” 

The “impostor fear,” which I discussed in an earlier segment, and most other fears, are all learned habits.  Advisors who fear that they will fail to develop enough business to support their families were not born with that fear; it was learned by repeating negative self-statements for years.

The wisdom about how our inner thoughts and beliefs about events are critical to our well-being has been around for centuries.  The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “Men are disturbed not my things, but by the views which they take of them.”  In Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, “There’s nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

Negative, messages that pass through your mind immediately lead to muscle tightening, rapid breathing, and perspiring. These physiological responses are perceived as “stress,” so the more we allow these self-limiting thoughts continue unabated, the more stress we suffer.  What all advisors need is resiliency skills to counter the self-doubt and lack of confidence they frequently experience.

Overcoming the Internal Critic 

It’s one thing to recognize that you are producing stress by worrisome, anxiety-producing thoughts, but how do you avoid doing this during economic downturns and topsy-turvy market fluctuations?  The first step is to stop the negative thought as soon as you recognize it.

A trick that works is wearing a rubber band and snapping away whenever you catch yourself beginning one of your habitual negative thinking habits. Next, ask yourself some key questions about that thought, such as, “Do I have any evidence that I won’t be able to control my client’s rampage?”  “What can I do differently this time?”  Can I use ‘active listening’ (a subject of an upcoming column) to focus on his emotions and concerns, rather than justifying my recommendations in a defensive manner?”  “Can I assert myself with this client and not worry about losing him?”

Give yourself positive descriptions about who you are.  For example, tell yourself that you have helped many clients and their families to successfully manage their wealth through many market fluctuations and you can do so with this client as well.

You are, indeed, a wonderful financial advisor, but that doesn’t mean you can please every client.  Perhaps, if this client is a constant thorn in your side, it’s time to refer him elsewhere or recommend that he move on.  The income you will lose is not worth the constant aggravation he causes you. Your peace of mind is not worth the problems this client presents.  Being calmer will ultimately result in you making better decisions for your clients, so that the lost income will be quickly replaced.

Finally, take a series of slow, deep breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, until you feel calmer.  Simultaneously, visualize yourself feeling relief after having the upcoming conversation.

Practicing these simple techniques will help you to overcome the negative thinking habits that have caused the bulk of your stress.

 

Jun 30

Advising the Advisors – Part 2

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Financial Advisors , Stress

Buffer Yourself Against The Real Cause of All of Your Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

In my initial article Advising the Advisors – Part 1, I talked about the surveys done with financial advisors right after the 2008 financial crisis and the alarming percentage of advisors who actually suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. We don’t know how many advisors actually retired or tried to change their careers in response to the stress they endured, but in an effort to avoid or escape stress many people (not only advisors, of course) change careers. That certainly introduces new stressors, and so the cycle continues.

The good news is that anyone can learn how to buffer themselves against any stressor, and thus avoid making dramatic, and sometimes disastrous, career decisions as a result.

First, recognize the real source of your stress. “Stress” is an overused term, yet in our competitive and impatient culture, and with chaos rampant around the globe, examples of stress are with us constantly. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent annually for stress-related medical insurance claims, workers’ compensation benefits, reduced productivity, poor product quality, absenteeism, spillover into marital and family problems, and even drug and alcohol abuse, which is often a desperate attempt to cope with the stress. Stress symptoms may include, anxiety, fear, depression, burnout, and a whole host of possible physical symptoms. Stress has even surpassed the common cold as the most prevalent health problem in America!

For most of us, work challenges, managing our teens, and pleasing our spouses represent daily stressors. But these potentially negative events, do not cause stress! It is our perception of the events—our thoughts about those events—that determines whether or not we will experience stress as a result.

Negative events do not cause stress. Most people assume that specific events—particularly negative ones– that they are faced with “cause” their stress. For example, the economic disaster of 2008 was a series of “events,” none of which directly caused stress for advisors. It was not the events, per se, but each advisor’s perception of those events and the simultaneous the“self-talk” that the advisor engaged in during and following those events that determined whether or not the advisor experienced stress, and how much.

Your feelings of stress, including all of the symptoms mentioned above, are not directly caused by the necessity to make cold calls, generate referrals, market fluctuations, disgruntled clients, fiduciary and compliance hassles, etc. These events may invite you to feel stressed, but they do not cause stress. Specifically, your perception of these situations and what you say to yourself about them determines whether or not you will suffer from stress symptoms. If you perceive potentially stress-causing events in a negative, self-defeating, pessimistic, or overwhelming sense, you will certainly become stressed.
However, if you perceive those same events as challenges which you will be able to master and give yourself positive, empowering, optimistic thoughts about them, your stress will be markedly reduced.

Here is an example of an event that actually took place in my life. I was booked to be the opening general session speaker for an important financial advisor’s conference. Attendees had flown in from all over the country for this conference. Soon after I landed at the first airport where I was to transfer for my final flight, a major storm moved into the area, grounding all flights for the remainder of the day and night. It became clear that I would be able to get to the conference in time to open it the next morning.

While one might consider this situation to be extremely “stressful,” the situation, per se, would not be the source of my stress. What I said to myself about the situation would determine how stressed I would feel.

For example, if I was worried about upsetting the meeting planner and leaving the audience hanging, that would cause me to feel symptoms of stress.

To continue my example, when I learned that the flight was cancelled (the negative event), I had a choice regarding what I could say to myself. One option is: “Oh, that’s just great…now I won’t make the meeting, everyone is there expecting a rousing keynote, they’ll be disappointed and the meeting planner for the conference will be so angry at me that she’ll never book me to conduct a program again.”

Such a negative, self-defeating statement would immediately activate the nervous system necessary to deal with life-threatening situations, my brain would conclude that I was in an emergency and my body would react accordingly. My blood pressure would rise, my anxiety spike, and my behavior might become irrational…all resulting from my worried perception of a situation over which I had no control.

You do have control over your self-talk. This is really important to remember. Although we are creatures of habit, we can learn to change any habit that causes stress for us. In fact, in her wonderful little book, Change Almost Anything in 21 Days, Ruth Fishel describes research that shows how quickly people can change their stress producing self-talk.

Back to my example, suppose that when I learned that the flight was cancelled, I said to myself the following: “It is what it is! This is really unfortunate and I feel badly that I will not be there on time, but it is absolutely beyond my control. I will phone the meeting planner right away and see if she would like me to find a substitute speaker who is based in the city where the conference is being held.”

Also, I could have suggested, “Perhaps we can postpone my keynote until the last day of the Conference, when I will definitely be able to get there.”

If these possibilities were not acceptable, I could have even suggested that, “I can do the keynote through a tele-conference via Skype, for example. That way, with the audience all situated in the meeting room, I can arrange to do the keynote by interactive television and have a dialogue, etc..” I could even have used this example with them when I discussed how their self-talk always determines their emotional, attitudinal and behavioral responses to dramatic events, over which they have no control!

Bringing this example into the everyday realm of the financial advisor, consider getting a message from your assistant that your least favorite client is angry about how poorly the last product/equity you recommended is doing in the current, downward market and he wants you to call him as soon as possible.

Again, this potentially negative event does not have to be stressful, depending on the self-talk in which you engage. For example, you could say to yourself: “I hate it when this client gets angry whenever the market dips and he blames me. I would like to dump him and suggest he find another advisor.” Just imagine how your stress and anxiety will spike if you give yourself that message.

But, remember, you have choices. You could tell yourself that you will use the active listening skills you have learned (as detailed in an upcoming Advising the Advisors segment) to allow the client to vent, empathize with his frustration, and once he is calm, remind him how you went over the risks with him when he purchased the product/equity and that this dip in the market is like all past dips—temporary. Explain to him that your overall strategy in helping him manage and expand his wealth takes these unpredictable market dips into account and the strategy is still viable. Gently point out to him that patience will prove to be his most valuable learned skill, etc.

Using this technique you can convince yourself that, although you still wish that you didn’t have to deal with this client, you have dealt successfully with him before and you will so once again.

To conclude, the amount of stress you feel is ultimately up to you, isn’t it? Will you listen to the rational, positive voice in your head, or will you fall prey to the irrational, negative, “Internal Critic”? The choice determines your stress level and the choice is always yours!

 

Jun 22

Advising the Advisors – Part 1

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Sales Professionals , Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

A Psychological Perspective of PTSD Among Financial Advisors

When we think about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we typically envision tornadoes, hurricanes, combat, and other life-threatening events. But PTSD is not limited to life-threatening events. For example, events threatening financial security and even career-threatening events can be very traumatic, as well.

A recent study reported in Health & Social Work examined the risk of PTSD associated with sudden and dramatic personal financial loss.  The authors conducted a survey among 173 Madoff victims and found that 58 % met the criteria for the PTSD diagnosis, 61% acknowledged high levels of anxiety, 58% were depressed and 34% had health-related issues.  Moreover, 90% of these victims felt a substantial loss of confidence in any financial institutions.  In short, severe economic trauma can certainly lead to PTSD.

We know from the famous work of Dr. Abraham Maslow, that when people have their security threatened through any event, all of their confidence and self-esteem can be dashed overnight, and they then focus all of their attention on desperately searching for recovery.  Certainly, this holds for both clients and financial advisors, when their financial security is undermined. 

A major study of the emotional well-being of financial advisors during the 2008 financial crisis (documented in the May, 2013 Journal of Financial Therapy), showed that 93% reported medium to high stress levels and 39% of the advisors reported stress symptoms at levels considered to be diagnostic of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the case of advisors, it was not only the threat to the security of their careers, but the threat to their own portfolios, as well.  After all, in an ideal world, advisors basically make the same financial decisions and use the same strategies with regard to their own portfolios, as they would make for their clients’.

So, many advisors suffered the double whammy of major losses in both their clients’ portfolios and in their own portfolios. Added to this stress, is getting bombarded with calls from frightened, disgruntled and hostile clients, who blame the advisor for not having seen this coming.

Diagnosing PTSD. The manual for diagnosing emotional and mental syndromes is the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR). Diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder include being confronted with an event, where ones’ response involves intense fear and helplessness.  In addition, recurrent and obsessively distressing thoughts about the event persist and can become all consuming. It is easy to understand advisor’s fearing the collapse and the domino effects, and feeling helpless since they obviously have no control over such events.

People suffering from PTSD feel as if the traumatic event is still occurring or will reoccur and the psychological distress  intensifies at exposure to external cues that resemble any aspect of the traumatic event. So, the traumatized advisor comes to the office each day, dreading watching the market fluctuations and even hearing their phone ring.

In order to reach the specific clinical criteria of PTSD, the symptoms must persist for at least one month, and at least two of the following specific symptoms must be present:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response

It is common for PTSD sufferers to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollection of the trauma, so avoiding the office and looking for a career change is a common outcome of PTSD. In addition, the traumatized advisor may avoid contacting clients, anticipating a negative, hostile conversation. I have spoken to many advisors, who, when they are stressed, simply avoid coming into the office or call in sick.

In Australia, for example, when the government imposed fee-for-service demands on advisors, removing the traditional commission based services, a large percentage of advisors panicked and looked for new careers. If the thought of telling clients that they were moving to a fee-for-service status frightened advisors, imagine the huge impact of the economic collapse of 2008 and the anticipation of future collapses. Many advisors began to question whether they could continue to work in a profession where they have the huge fiduciary responsibility of safeguarding their clients’ family savings; moreover, making midlife career changes is also traumatic, so many advisors facing these decisions felt trapped.

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and AskDrJack.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

 

Mar 15

The “Psychology” of Money

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Professional Sport and Business Psychologist

When we talk about money, we don’t usually put it in the same sentence as “psychology,” but amassing and spending money certainly involves much in the way of our personal psychology.  Money, sometimes referred to as the “root of all evil,” is one of the main motives in murder, one of the top three reasons why marriages fail, and not having enough money is certainly one of the main causes of depression and anxiety.

Aside from not earning enough money, one of the biggest problems, psychologically, is overspending.

Here is how people’s core beliefs can make them vulnerable to overspending: 

  • The “Psychology” of Money- How to Stop Flushing Your Money Down the ToiletPeople who ignore their basic need to save enough money to feel secure often focus more on their lack of self esteem and status; thus, they seek cars, homes, clothing, etc. to satisfy that need.
  • People who go to great lengths to please others, because of fear that not pleasing them will lead to being disliked or rejected; so, they overspend in order to live up to some magical standard they have invented in their head.
  • People who believe that when others disapprove of them, it means they must be bad or wrong; so they do anything to avoid that disapproval, including giving them gifts which they can’t afford.
  • People who become addicted to overspending. An addiction is a behavior that impairs healthy accomplishments in a critical part of your life, including your work, marriage, or health…and you simply cannot stop the addictive behavior.  Spending addiction is an attempt to try to buy happiness, to feel admired, accepted, empowered, at the expense of everything you hold dear.  This should be a giant neon warning sight that there are deep-rooted feelings or fears that they avoid facing and they are indulging in this overspending to either avoid those feelings or to numb themselves to them.

Here is how they can change their core beliefs and therefore, change their lives: 

  • Examine their internal dialogue, their self talk, and catch themselves overreacting, such as assuming that they won’t fit in with people if they don’t buy expensive things, join their fancy clubs, or worry that by not doing so they’ll never be happy.
  • Ask themselves what proof you have that if they don’t go to great lengths to please people that they will actually be rejected. Understand that if they learn to say “no” they may actually gain their respect, rather than their rejection.
  • Recognize the damage that overspending is doing to them and the people they love, and look for the toxic triggers that provoke them to continue to overspend.
  • Once they discover those triggers, they can learn to engage in alternative behaviors when they are provoked, such as asserting themselves and behave differently than they have in the past, not worrying about pleasing people who make unfair demands.

The key here is for people to take charge of their lives and stop making assumptions that if they don’t do the “right thing” then they will be seen as a failure and not be liked.  It’s time to cure their “Disease to Please.”

Psychologically Speaking w/Dr. Jack: The Psychology of Money

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Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Nov 30

Stress Management Tip of the Day: Job Burnout Prevention

By Dr. Jack Singer | Stress , Stress Management

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Consulting Psychologist and Professional Speaker & Trainer

[contentbox width=”500″ borderwidth=”1″ borderstyle=”dashed” bordercolor=”000000″ dropshadow=”0″ backgroundcolor=”F5F5F5″ radius=”0″]This is the 1st of a series of cutting edge tips from the field of Stress Management from a stress management expert. If you have any questions, please feel free to call Dr. Jack at 1-800-497-9880 or email him on the contact page.[/contentbox]

Stress Management Tip of the Day from Dr. Jack Singer. Handling Job Burnout.“Burnout” has been defined as “a state of mental or physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress.”

Job burnout is an insidious problem in the American workforce, among all levels of employees.  Frequently undiagnosed, burnout may appear in job statistics of absenteeism statistics, in suicide rates, or in the development of chronic illnesses that keep employees from working.  Ultimately, working oneself to death can be the disguise for job burnout.

Job Conditions That Lead to Burnout

The following conditions have been found to lead to burnout.  Obviously, the more of these that a person has to deal with, the more the likelihood of burnout occurring:

  • Heavy workload
  • Long work hours and difficult deadlines
  • Little participation in decision-making
  • Poor communications within the organization
  • Conflicting or uncertain expectations from supervisors
  • Job insecurity
  • Lack of recognition
  • Poor advancement opportunities
  • Minimal support from supervisors or co-workers
  • Unpleasant or dangerous working environments or conditions

Stages of Job Burnout

Now, all of the person’s defenses are worn to a frazzle.  She/he may be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness.  A lack of motivation, fatigue, cynicism and even suicidal thoughts may be present, along with major physiological symptoms.  Frequent trips to medical specialists who run many tests and find nothing are common occurrences.

Preventing Job Burnout

Of course, being examined by a mental health professional is a wonderful preventive technique.  But what steps can the employee take in order to avoid the symptoms of job burnout?

  • Feel comfortable delegating responsibility at work
  • Find outlets for frustration, like a brisk walk at noon, reading, listening to music, etc.
  • Become assertive and be able to say “no” to excessive demands on your time
  • Feel good about your accomplishments even if you don’t get recognized by supervisors
  • Avoid excessive alcohol, prescription drugs, nicotine and caffeine
  • Look everywhere for humor
  • Remain optimistic in the face of frustration
  • Learn to organize your time
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Practice good nutrition
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Have a friend, spouse or colleague who is a good listener

Remarkable Resiliency Skills for Uncertain Times 2 CD Set

Created by world-renowned Psychologist and Professional Speaker, Dr. Jack Singer, the “Remarkable Resiliency Skills for Uncertain Times” dual CD series is exactly the same program Dr. Jack Singer has presented to thousands of attendees at conferences all over the world.

With this CD series, you will be able to release yourself from the self-limiting beliefs that have kept you from true joy, health and happiness! Click here to purchase.

 

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years.  Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada.  He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit  DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

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