Dealing with stress

Energy to work and focus of attention

Dealing with stress

fatigue, exhaustion, depression, outbursts of anger, silence


We carry out our dealing with stress training in the following contexts:

  • Difficult working conditions. Stress is a generalised physiological reaction of the body to a situation of danger and/or overload. People assigned to the dealing with stress training are often exposed in their work to: performance of tasks requiring maximum attention for many hours a day and under time pressure; daily contacts with tens or hundreds of customers and colleagues; the need to deal with strong negative emotions of their interlocutors (anger, fear, sadness and suffering).
  • Managerial responsibility. Our training is particularly dedicated to managerial teams. Making decisions involving a risk that is difficult to determine and responsibility for the fate of others are one of the strongest stressors. The lack of ability to deal with the sense of threat and hostility from others leads to serious somatic (heart attack, stroke, cancer) and psychological diseases (depression, neurosis, empathy disorders: psychopathy, borderline, narcissism).
  • Problems with focusing attention. Sometimes, the reason why somebody applies for the dealing with stress training is the growing difficulty with focusing attention. Continuous irritation, dissipation of attention, exhaustion and fatigue are the first signs of burnout. The lack of knowledge and skills in dealing with these conditions may lead to consequences that are difficult to reverse.
  • Lateness, absence, medical leaves, mental problems. Serious difficulties in dealing with sadness, anger and anxiety are also manifested by frequent absence from work; officially, reasons for such absence are explained in very different ways; in practice, the employee, repeatedly and without previous arrangement, informs that, once again, he/she needs a holiday that he/she was unable to plan.

Modern psychology uses the term “hardiness”, i.e. psychological hardness. People who have this trait of character are typified by three skills: definition of personal goals that are important to them; naming and talking about their needs and emotions; and treating difficult events as opportunities and changes for development. During our trainings, we show exercises and methods that help discover own needs and motivations, deal with difficult emotions (anger, sadness, anxiety), and objectify specific events by referring them to a complex personal story.

Selected issues:

  • Stress and its consequences: theory. At the beginning of the training, participants are presented with theories and research on physiological and psychological stress. We particularly focus on presenting reasons and consequences of keeping the body in a state of increased readiness to defend. Understanding the dynamics of this process significantly helps in the proper performance of exercises, carried out later on during the course.
  • Evaluation of exhaustion. An important element of our training is also the evaluation of the degree of own exhaustion. Applied tests verify, among others, the number of finished and unfinished tasks and obligations; number of other promises made, but not fulfilled; number and scope of experienced conflicts; number of hours of sleep and its quality; number and quantity of meals consumed during the day. The identification of the factors that contribute the most to our overload and fatigue enable participants to build an individual stress reduction programme.
  • My narratives. When we experience difficulties, problems or crises, we create negative stories and histories about what happened and what will happen now. Conclusions of these stories are most often very similar: I am good for nothing (bad/guilty); others are good for nothing (they have hurt me); the world is a gloomy and hostile place (above, all, you have to think of yourself). During the training, we show exercises that de-construct these stories and enable to see your history as complex and complicated, where difficult experiences (suffering, harm, loneliness) mix with the experience of joy and closeness with others.
  • Optimism: exercises with STACs (Situation – Thought – Assessment – Consequences). During the training, we try to convince participants that optimism can be trained using very specific exercises. Our pessimistic attitude develops when people important to us tell us our success is a coincidence, concerns only one field and there is nothing in us that would make it happen again; but that each failure is only our fault, testifies to the fact that we will have difficulties in other matters as well and, generally, that this will not change. If we have experienced such “talks” from our parents and loved ones in childhood, we may become overly worried, afraid and anxious about everything in adulthood; we may have trouble sleeping and give up chances for success that are important to us. We will be less resistant to stress.
  • Exercises in mindfulness and focus of attention. Mindfulness training is the most important substantive basis of the entire training. We do not know a more effective method of reducing stress, although for some people, these exercises may seem a bit strange, sometimes incomprehensible. For this reason, our goal during the training is to familiarise participants solely with the basics of this method (the strategic meaning of “being here and now”) and carry out a few simple and understandable exercises.

During the training, we use the following methods and tools:

Psychological models of adult human development

The effectiveness of dealing with stress largely depends on the general logic of action we have adopted. The increased sense of danger and necessity of defence are usually experienced by “dependent” people who try to avoid, at any price, risk-related tasks; and by energetic and conscientious people who undertake too many tasks and, because of the pressure of events, are unable to be “here and now”: they are in a hurry and almost always feel guilty that they have not done so many things important for others. During the training, we enable tests and tasks that help determine participant’s preferred logic of action.

Exercises in narrative and cognitive-behavioural therapy

During the training, we use exercises that are applied at therapeutic workshops. However, we never ask participants to discuss their results in the group forum. Our goal is to train the ability to perform individual exercises, so that later they can repeat them themselves in a situation of difficulty and crisis.

Mindful exercises

The mindfulness training, developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, has been helping people all over the world for more than 25 years to deal with daily difficulties and troubles. The effectiveness of this programme has been confirmed in a meta-analysis of 209 studies participated by 12,145 people. This method supports building and protecting your personal energy, motivation, involvement, and counteracts effects of stress, exhaustion and burnout.

In our work, we often use a tool referred to as “micro-break”. This is a moment of loneliness in which we can take a spontaneous or organised look at experienced emotions and thoughts. This is particularly important in a situation when the implementation of our professional tasks seems to go beyond our capabilities, and it is increasingly difficult for us to achieve set goals. This may be a signal that it is necessary to reformulate the assumptions we make and the ways we react. A regular micro-break enables us to learn about our goals and values, and helps us find a way to achieve them.

During our development activities, we advise different methods of using micro-breaks to the people we accompany.

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