CBT At Work For Dummies book cover

CBT At Work For Dummies

By: Gill Garratt Published: 11-16-2015

Nip workplace stress in the bud with CBT

Packed with useful tips that make it easy to incorporate CBT—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy— into your working day, CBT at Work For Dummies helps you reap the benefits of a more focused working life. You'll discover how integrating CBT at work promotes improved productivity and concentration, lower staff turnover, enhanced employer/employee and client relationships, reduced cost of staff absenteeism caused by illness, injury, stress, and more.

An alarming number of individuals in the UK and across the globe suffer from work-related stress, some to the point of experiencing illness. The good news is, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy—often associated with treating acute mental health conditions—is finding its way into the workplace, where it's being used as a way to combat one of the most common occupational health issues: stress. In this friendly and accessible guide, you'll find everything you need to put CBT into practice today, whether you're in charge of managing employee wellness or just want to find a positive and productive way to get through the workday yourself.

  • Answers the call of business leaders seeking creative solutions to enhance productivity and minimize the effects of stress in the workplace
  • Offers employees trusted ways to be more effective in the workplace while reducing personal stress levels
  • Arms learning and development professionals with the know-how to apply mindfulness meditation in the workplace
  • Details the benefits of making CBT a part of your business plan

If you're an employer looking to get the best out of your staff or an employee interested in reducing stress and anxiety whilst achieving an enhanced performance at work, CBT at Work For Dummies can help.

Articles From CBT At Work For Dummies

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10 results
CBT at Work For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 03-27-2016

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) can help you find a greater understanding of how you think and behave. CBT can help you identify what emotions are bubbling up inside you and teach you some practical strategies to help reduce the negative ones that don't serve you well.

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How to Change People without Upsetting Them

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Dale Carnegie and the founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Albert Ellis, were both instrumental in forming modern views on change management. There is synergy between these two self-made men. The key is about change and how to deal with it. Dale Carnegie became well known for his writings and training courses about how to achieve success in your work life. He started life in 1888, the son of a poor farmer in Missouri, United States. His determination, resourcefulness, and entrepreneurial activities led him to formulate his own views on leadership and he published 'Public Speaking, a Practical Course for Businessmen.' He went on to have a worldwide best seller in 1936, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'. His views on change management were revolutionary. During the same era, the founder of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Albert Ellis, was starting to publish his work. Ellis had begun by forcing himself to deal with situations he found difficult, one of which was a fear of women and of public speaking. He gave a talk to 100 women at the Bronx Botanical gardens during a period of a month. It is reported he didn't manage to get himself a date, but it helped him overcome his fear of public speaking and being rejected by women. The following is a crib sheet with tips on how to change people without upsetting them, compiled from both of these men's writings: Start off with positive feedback. Give constructive feedback; make sure you phrase it in a way that the person receiving it can do something to bring about change. Admit you make mistakes at times; it is human nature. Ask open questions that won't 'shut down' the person. Ask for the other person's view, 'How do you see this?' Acknowledge the achievements and positive aspects of the person's behaviour. Focus on building on the positive aspects. Offer role modelling as a locus for setting the required goals. Praise the positive and minimise commenting on the negative.

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The Impostor Syndrome — I Will be Found Out!

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Psychological research conducted during the 1980s by two researchers seemed to show that two out of five successful people are constantly worrying that they are fraudsters and don't deserve the success they have. They live in fear of being 'found out'. Doing really well at work, but feeling anxious it is all going to disappear? You may sometimes find it hard to acknowledge your talents and accomplishments and put it all down to luck. You may engage in behaviours that start to inhibit your ability to enjoy life and certainly the fruits of your labours. Hanging on to your money and being reluctant to buy things and use up your savings could be one such behaviour. Extreme anxiety might mean you become quite miserly and avoid social events that entail spending money. This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as the 'impostor syndrome'. This term first appeared in an article written by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. They noticed that many people, and in particular women who were high achievers, could not believe positive feedback given about their skills and talents and thought that they weren't really very intelligent. This didn't seem to be linked to certain types of personalities, but anyone could be prone to these feelings. Although these feelings of self-doubt are common and to be expected, particularly when you start a new job, for some people these negative anxieties and behaviours can persist, even when their success is clearly evident. Some well-known characters such as Albert Einstein and comedian Tommy Cooper wrote about believing themselves to be an impostor. Business tycoon Sheryl Sandberg, American technology executive and chief operating officer of popular social media site Facebook, have reportedly experienced these feelings. Sheryl wrote an article titled 'Women who feel like frauds', in the publication Forbes, and the actress Emma Watson also wrote 'I suffered from imposter syndrome after Harry Potter' in Now magazine in 2011. This is now recognised as a psychological condition and characterised by being unable to internalise your achievements. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been found to be particularly helpful as it encourages the individual to look at the rationality of their thoughts, based on their own evidence of success. Their thoughts are challenged with the therapist and an open dialogue encouraged to change the irrational thinking to rational thinking. The discrepancy, or 'flaws', in their thinking are exposed and debated. The anxiety levels and fear of failure or 'being caught out' are greatly reduced.

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Looking after Yourself with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy — Case Study of a Burnt-Out Employee

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

James Davinport discovered cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) after suffering burnout from his job. He shares his experiences here. These are his words: A year ago my whole world collapsed. In hindsight, I can say that I should have seen it coming — the breakdown had been building up for years: month by month vestiges of myself were chipped away at, until finally, it felt like there was not really a 'me' there that I could recognise anymore. At work, in the lower eschelons of a high-powered business, I had driven myself down into the dust. I had worked seven days a week for years, often in to the early hours of the morning. By the end, nothing on the computer screen in front of me made sense. I dreaded the regular presentations I had to make at work: I felt like each and every one I gave was a 'failure' (even though peer assessment I received indicated the opposite). I didn't want to see people, and I lashed out at family and friends. One evening, I found myself kicking a chair in the living room for no reason. Luckily, my lodger was not in the room at the time! During the day, I would slip away from the office to cry in a nearby park. My head raced with negative thoughts, many of which were so irrational, that it was upsetting just to have them. Often, in my mind's eye, I'd see visions of myself crying out for help. But it was the physical symptoms that made me finally shout 'stop': the dizziness, exhaustion, tender muscles that would suddenly seize up, the panic attacks, the inability to remember or concentrate, the heart palpitations, and digestive difficulties for months on end. My physical health suddenly seemed so vital, and was what finally forced me to reassess what I was doing. So I did what seemed the unthinkable: I quit my job, gathered my savings, and set about recovering. I had tried meditation for the first time a few months before my breakdown but was so anxious that, after each session of mindfulness meditation, I was closer to a panic attack than before it. (Later, I learned that this was brought on by a rather curious form of OCD, or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I had developed, called 'sensor motor OCD', which leads to high levels of anxiety as a result of paying attention to bodily sensations). The present moment hardly seems a joyful place when your head is racing with negative thoughts and turbulent emotions. It became clear to me that 'accepting' these thoughts and feelings nonjudgmentally was not what I needed to do; I needed to change them. Recovering with CBT I'd long heard about CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but had never really considered it for myself. But early on in my determination to recover when I was idly browsing the shelves, I came across a Teach Yourself CBT Book. This was the best purchase of my life. I was determined to commit wholeheartedly to what the book taught me, building on each lesson bit by bit. I have practised this particular technique ever since. I have come to love the challenge of doing it. It feels rather like 'gardening', as if challenging negative thoughts is like clearing out weeds. What I also like about this method is that it is not about replacing negative thoughts with 'positive thinking' for its own sake, but rather with balanced, more accurate thinking, which accepts nuanced understandings of situations. It's a highly rewarding journey. But today, I can safely say that over the last few months the balance has tipped: From being generally 'on edge' and feeling scared when out and about, I now love being out and about. Whereas before, I would have quickly withdrawn into my shell in social situations and felt 'isolated', I now am confident when meeting new people, and tend to focus on the positives of each event afterward, not on a negative 'post mortem'. Now that I'm working again, I don't drive myself nonstop. Now my self-worth is derived from the whole spectrum of my life, not just my work-related achievements. I can knock off without the slightest shred of guilt at not checking my email until nine the next morning. Gone are the days of being fearful that I had several kinds of serious illness; such thoughts rarely cross my mind now. In fact, these days I laugh on the few occasions I have those thoughts. The panic attacks have simply disappeared. A year ago this all seemed impossible even to dream of. Now it seems hard to countenance the kind of fears I had a year ago: was that really me? Back then it seemed like the world was a harsh and horrible place. But, in fact the outside world has not changed — rather, my relationship to it has changed. And I have achieved it myself. James Davinport is a pseudonym. He lives and works in London.

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Living a Happier, More Balanced Life

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

What you learn about applying Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the workplace is applicable in your personal life, too. You may find some peoples' behaviour potentially infuriating among your friends and family as well. Often it is harder to keep your cool in personal relationships, especially family, because there is always a level of familiarity that can blur the boundaries between being objective and allowing your subjective feelings to show. As well as using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, here are some tricks to help you to stay calm. Silence is golden. Step away from the immediate potential confrontation. Allow yourself a breather. Just smile and nod. Remember, not only do you not have to have everyone's approval, but you have a choice, too. You might just not like this person. Separate the person from their behaviour. You can still love someone but not like their immediate behaviour. On balance, give some time to weighing up if the unlikeable behaviours outweigh your preference to have them in your life. You can accept someone's unlikeable behaviours, but you don't have to like them. On balance you may decide they are a good person with whom you want to maintain a relationship. Be clear about your boundaries. Don't feel pushed into making a comment or decision right there in the moment. Have a stock response handy, such as 'That's interesting, I'll think about that'. Give people the benefit of the doubt, or at least pretend to, by saying 'Oh, I guess you didn't realise that this was the situation', or 'perhaps that wasn't apparent when you made that decision'. Be aware that sometimes when you feel your buttons are being pushed, it may actually be a reflection of the things you don't like in yourself. You may instinctively want to jump to the defensive stance as you feel a flash of emotion. Giving yourself time to be more self-aware is in your own best interest.

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Sleep and Your Mental Health

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

During sleep, your brain processes your learning and encourages brain cells to make connections with other brain cells. Sleep is one of the most important things you'll do all day (or night) so always strive to get a good night's sleep. There are different types of sleep — restorative sleep, healing sleep, and dream sleep During dream sleep, rapid eye movements can be observed REM — this sleep is essential for health cognitive functioning. You sleep in 'chunks,' the dream sleep occurs in waves and after falling into a deep sleep, your sleep patterns show lighter sleep. Your depth and quality of sleep can be affected by intake of alcohol. You may fall into a deep sleep quickly but then after about four hours, you tend to wake suddenly and unrefreshed. Sleep deprivation is a major factor in negatively affecting mental health. During sleep, your immune system is boosted and encourages white blood cells to generate, which fight off infections. People sleep in cycles, often thought to be a vestige of ancient behaviours where people would wake every so often to be aware of danger, important to survival. When you are stressed and anxious, you may find it is hard to get off to sleep or you fall asleep, only to wake feeling anxious a couple of hours later. Sleep disturbances are a major indicator of an imbalance in your emotional states.

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How to Determine If You're Depressed

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

There is a strong possibility that you're depressed, but you don't know it. You might feel tired, or just out of sorts more often than you use to. To find out if you might be suffering from depression, here are some signs and symptoms: Insomnia and always tired Changes in eating habits — more or less eating and drinking Feeling ill frequently, many colds and coughs, generally 'low' physically Lack of interest in things — hard to be motivated or unable to find pleasure in the world around you, feelings of hopelessness Low mood over a period of time — longer than two weeks Unable to make decisions, struggling to make your mind up over little things as well as big decisions Loss of interest in or unable to participate in sex Forgetful or a poor memory Feeling emotional or 'wobbly,' for much of the time. You want to withdraw and be on your own. Excessive sleeping or sleeping less than six hours.

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10 Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Tips to Remember

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

When life gets challenging or tricky, you can use the following cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) 10 tips to help you "get a grip" on life's challenges. Be on the lookout for any unhealthy negative feelings: Anger Anxiety Guilt Jealousy Embarrassment Shame Fear Depression Low self-worth; lack of confidence Name that feeling C. Look for the situation or trigger that set the feeling off; this could be your internal thoughts. Name the trigger A. Remember, A did not cause C. Work out the B — your belief or your thinking about the trigger. Work out your 'should,' 'ought,' or 'must' thinking. Challenge your own irrational thinking. Change the irrational thinking to more rational thinking — 'I would prefer that this hadn't happened, but it has. How is upsetting myself helping me? Make a cognitive shift to accepting the situation or trigger; you don't have to like it. Accepting the situation will allow you to move forward.

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10 Tips for a Better Work and Home Life

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Everyone wants a peaceful, happy work and home life. Some days, however, daily stressors can make that goal hard to achieve. Here are ten tips that can help you find some happy balance. Work out your boundaries — decide if and when you will take work home. Put a time limit on work out of office hours. Plan for your personal life — decide how much time you want to give to your personal relationships and work out your priorities Don't push your luck when it comes to tolerant partners. Other people have their own limits and boundaries and you may wake up to find they have closed the boundaries. Practise enlightened self-interest — if you don't look out for you no one else will. Decide if you want to spend most of your time looking down, at emails, social media, constantly searching and researching on the internet, or if you want to build in 'looking around time'. Lucky people', are open to experience, take risks and engage personally with high levels of interaction. Rationalise your work patterns. Work more efficiently and try not to be in the habit of constantly working for the sake of it. Remember, you can say no. Use cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to give you that breathing space. Being perfect is not essential — it may be preferable to you, but accepting it cannot always be achievable will take the unnecessary pressure off yourself. Very few people die wishing they had stayed longer at work.

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10 Tips for Using Body Language Effectively

Article / Updated 03-26-2016

Presentation of you is approximately 55 percent nonverbal. A large part of this nonverbal communication is through your body language. Very often you are totally unaware of how your body is moving and how your expressions are changing and adapting to different situations. A professor gave one of the students some homework that involved practicing an empathetic look in front of a mirror. This chap was completely unaware that when he was concentrating on and listening to a client, his expression looked quite fierce. He wondered why none of his clients on his training practise sessions returned for a second session. Although it is important to be authentic in what you believe and try to convey, a little self-knowledge of how you stand, sit, move around, and present yourself can be helpful. Here are some tips: Dress to impress. You cannot help but be influenced by what the person in front of you looks like. How you look greatly influences how you are perceived and judged by others. Knowing which colours flatter you and put you in your best light adds to your impression management. Make an effort to directly make eye contact. Think about your mouth — try to smile and appear friendly. Decide if body contact is appropriate. Only shake hands in an interview situation if the interviewer has offered you their hand first. Use a warm voice. Remember that according to Mark Twain, 'The human voice is the organ of the soul'. Use good posture. Whether you're standing or sitting, always keep your body straight. Think about where to place your hands; put them in your lap, or put them on the table, if there is one. Cross your legs once, preferable at your calves/ankles. This one is different between genders and may be influenced by the genders of the people with whom you are engaging. Try to engage with all the others. If in an interview situation, make eye contact with the person asking the question, and always smile warmly. Be aware of any habitual behaviours you may use. Ask someone to give you some feedback — for example, nose touching, hands on your chin, flicking hair back, running fingers through hair, nervous coughing, averting eye contact, and other behaviours of which you might not be aware.

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