Beating Away The Stress Blues In The Corporate World

By Psychotherapist Ravi Samuel 

Mental health problems among the corporate employees are noticed to be high, due to high stress, work pressure, irregular work timings, sleep deprivation, conflicts at workplace, high expectation of self, ambitious nature etc. People can silently suffer from this problem without being aware that they are having a reversible condition.

A person who faces low motivation suddenly may just be having features of exhaustion or depression, a person who avoids parties and travelling may have Social Anxiety Disorder. In mental health, many of the problems can be treated and one need not withhold for fear of discrimination.

Role of Career Growth:

  A person’s career growth is based on their work performance for which the education, attitude, skills and performance. The growth is centred on the skills a person can demonstrate at the workplace; if a person has a good public speaking skill then they can do interesting presentations, then this brings career advantage.

 If a person demonstrates skills in managing people effectively however difficult they are, then they grow in people oriented fields like administration and marketing. If a person is mortally scared of travelling even to a known destination, it will paralyse him with restrictions.

Substance abuse :

     Substance abuse can be found in the form of daily drinking of alcohol, taking tablets and intake of marijuana, heroin and other substances to induce intoxication. This habit can be formed out of social compulsions to drink in parties and then it can become a devastating habit. Similarly being adventurous in trying out drugs can get them hooked on to it on a permanent basis. Those who take such substance can also have underlying emotional problems in terms of failures in their personal life, career or some major disappointment.

Psychological problems:

 Self-esteem is another major issue, which influences a person’s behaviour and performance. A person with very mediocre capabilities can think very high and mighty about self. If a person develops such superior self esteem then they can become dysfunctional as they will start feeling superior over others, will tend to have a condescending attitude towards the juniors and colleagues, will be over sensitive and can also be very explosive with their expressions.

They will also be oblivious towards the damage they do to others and as to how others feel about their explosive expressions. On the other hand a person with low self-esteem can be very docile and be an under performer as he would constantly devalue himself and consider to be incompetent. This can lead to underperformance by the person, which would affect the person and also the company.

 If a rude superior is shouting on top of his voice, cause he is not able to deal with the situation, what the subordinate does will be detrimental to his personality. If the subordinate on the first instance of screaming, responds assertively then the behaviour of verbal abuse may diminish, on the other hand if the subordinate takes all the abuse quietly then the abuser will feel encouraged to repeat such undesirable behaviour.

Accepting to perform an unfamiliar work cause of the inhibition to say ‘No’ just to satisfy the superior for the moment and then tossing themselves for blindly accepting to perform the work would be habitual for someone with lack of assertiveness. They will also not be able to perform the work leading to disappointment with themselves and to the people who had delegated the work. In an effort to please a person they will end up causing loss of time and irritation about the incomplete work.

     ‘All work and no play can make Jack a dull boy’ similarly those who keep scheduling tasks without taking a break and relaxing can experience ‘burnout’; a condition in which they get emotionally and physically exhausted.

Psychiatric problems:

     Corporate staff can experience psychiatric problems secondary to various life situations and personal problems. The common types of psychiatric conditions that affect corporate staff are depression, anxiety, somatisation and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In anxiety disorder the person will have an unknown fear or fear of some particular situation like making a presentation or travel.

The anxiety can cause palpitation tremors, sweating and make the person loose his ability to think rationally. The anxiety can be caused by an irrational fear. In depression the person will experience lack of interest, low mood and increase or decrease in appetite and sexual drive. In obsessive-compulsive disorder the person inspite of knowing the futility, will keep repeatedly doing things like washing, hoarding useless objects, keep washing hands or be totally preoccupied with the orderliness and neatness of the place. Similarly a person can also develop symptoms of a medical illness without actually having the medical problem or be over concerned about their general physical health.

Treatment :

     Mental Health problems are treated with psychiatric medication, counselling and Psychotherapy. Meeting a psychotherapist and discussing the symptoms and real life situation will enable the therapist to diagnose the nature of the problem. Some of the mental health problems can be overcome by a simple work up on the personality or on coping skills of the person. Some psychological problems and psychiatric problems may require specific intense psychotherapy over a period of three months or so, depending upon the severity of the illness.

     Many workshops and skills development programmes are available nowadays, but those with low self-esteem and those not comfortable with groups may not benefit from such workshops. They may require individual attention in a customised form in therapy sessions; also they may perform better as individuals rather than in groups.

     Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a specialised form of counselling and psychotherapy, to help patients overcome their emotional problems, correct faulty process in thinking, feeling and behaviour. Patients can develop illogical thoughts faulty way of thinking, (ex: I am good for nothing, others usually do not respect me etc). Such faulty thought patterns can provoke intense negative emotions. Similarly out of fear of failure they can avoid doing certain activity, which can lead to problems in their life. (Ex; public speaking, avoiding exams)

 The therapist enables the person to recognise such patterns of distorted thinking and dysfunctional behaviour. The therapist alters distorted thoughts and dysfunctional behaviours using systematic discussion and carefully structured cognitive and behavioural assignments. The patient’s work in a collaborative relationship with the therapist to identify problems and strategies to overcome the problem.

     Initially a very detailed assessment is made about the problem the person is facing, their personality, their strengths and weakness. The central principle of cognitive-behavioural assessment is the ways in which an individual behaves are determined by immediate situations, thought process, mood and the individual’s interpretations of them.

     In Cognitive Behavioural approach the therapist aims to help the person to develop skills to overcome the present problem. The progress of the therapy directly depends on the way patient performs the assignments, stays committed to the therapeutic goals and his efforts in working out various strategies.

The cognitive and behavioural exercises would be like challenging the automatic thoughts that he/she is no good or is deficient in many ways compared to others etc The patient is expected to participate actively by collecting information, giving feedback on the effectiveness of techniques, and making suggestions about new strategies.


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