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PsychNotes July 2017
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.
Clinical and Sport Psychologist

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July 25, 2017

Signs You Are Not “Thriving” on Stress

It's not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it. Hans Selye
Some people believe they perform best under stress. Certainly, an optimal degree of stress can be beneficial for performance but it is also important to be aware of when stress is affecting your performance, your relationships, and/or your health.

7 signs that stress is creating problems

1) Irritability. Many busy people who run on adrenalin also are frequently irritable with others. Frustration is especially likely if other people are getting in their way to accomplishing their goals whether it is a slow driver in front of them or a co-worker who needs further explanation of a task.

2) Complaining. Even though a person who believes they “thrive” on stress often creates stressful conditions by taking on too much or setting unrealistic deadlines, a sign they are not thriving is frequent complaining about the stress: “I'm so stressed! (with a sigh)” or “I don't have enough time!” Some people believe that complaining helps relieve the stress, but typically it doesn't because it increases the focus on the negative aspects of stress.

3) Forgetfulness. Those who are overly stressed are often forgetful. They pick up the phone to tell a co-worker something and forget what it was when the person answers due to being distracted by another task. Or, they forget or overbook meetings. Read more...


July 19, 2017

Is Diet a Cause or Consequence of Depression? And How is Impulsiveness Related?

Is diet a cause or a consequence of depression?
Although it has been thought that depression can be a cause of weight gain, the initial trigger for both weight gain and depression can be a poor diet at least for some people. For those people, the problem might lie in a genetic predisposition for impulsiveness and carelessness (Stevenson, 2017). What this research tells us is that depression can have multiple origins which may require different methods of treatment.

Much of the approach in the psychological literature to managing weight has focused on how people think and how that affects emotions and eating. Although the evidence is that such an approach is effective, it may be helpful primarily for those who are more conscientious and self-aware.

Yet, those who are susceptible to depression due to poor diet are those who are more impulsive and less conscientious. Unfortunately, the cognitive methods of changing thinking require a certain degree of attentiveness and thoughtfulness to be effective. So using these methods to address the diet/depression relationship may not be as effective for those with a tendency toward impulsiveness. As a result they may feel frustrated and possibly even blamed due to the failure of a method that is supposed to be effective. Read more...


July 11, 2017

When Stress Management Training in the Workplace Can Be Harmful

In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can. Nikos Kazantzakis
Although stress management training is generally effective in decreasing the negative effects of stress, for some people it can worsen existing problems. Instead of seeing stress management as a one-size-fits-all employers need to be more aware of the individual differences and reactions to training.

Companies committed to reducing stress for employees are rewarded with improved performance and productivity from the employees. However, to reduce stress in the workplace it may not be enough to provide stress management training and it can even be counter-productive to insist that all employees attend such training.

Stress management training has often been one-sided in which the employer offers the employee the opportunity to learn how to reduce the effects of stress. However, without the employer's participation in reducing the workplace stress such efforts can be fruitless. In other words, the employer doesn't take responsibility for the workplace stress but places it on the employee: “You should learn how to cope with the stress in the workplace. We shouldn't have to change policy and procedures or the workplace environment to make it less stressful for you.” Read more...

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