In today’s world, work stress is far and away the top issue faced by American adults. As more and more companies strive to survive the ever-changing factors of industry, employees are often finding themselves tasked with doing the work of three people. As workloads become more overloaded, the stress mounts high and has real impact on mental health. No one wants to be perceived as not being able to take on whatever work is handed down - but let’s face it, we’re human, and the juggling act can really take its toll.
What are we not talking about with work stress? Exactly how serious it is, and how to manage it. The general perception of increased workloads seems to be that a good employee is somehow able to summon superhuman powers of tackling a huge workload with ease, without missing a beat. Whether it’s a top-level supervisor or an entry-level staff member, it’s common to see employees take on more work than is feasible out of fear of being replaced by someone else. Being a good, hard-working employee often feels like the answer to every question has to be “yes.”
While a lot of work has already been done to stop the stigma associated with mental health in the workplace and companies are becoming more aware of the need to address it, an important fact remains: the workload is still very stress-inducing. The old ‘9-to-5’ work life has long since been replaced with a workday that never seems to end, thanks to always-on devices that serve as a digital tether. No matter what job you’re in, it’s pretty likely that you feel like you’re always working. And whether you’re physically in the workplace or at home, your full plate is probably never really cleared and always on your mind.
In addition to the workload itself, issues expand when it’s increasingly common for workers to have been shifted to unfamiliar tasks within their companies and wonder how much longer they will be employed. Adding to the pressures that workers face are new bosses, computer surveillance of production, fewer health and retirement benefits, and the feeling they have to work longer and harder just to maintain their current economic status. Workers at every level are experiencing increased tension and uncertainty.
According to the American Institute of Stress, workload represents 46% of work stress, followed by 28% people/co-worker or management issues, 20% juggling work and personal life, and 6% lack of job security. Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and a major strain on mental health.
This kind of pressure really adds up - the impact on mental and physical health is real and the statistics are eye-opening. Excessive workplace stress causes a staggering 120,000 deaths and results in nearly $190 billion in health care costs each year.1 This represents 5 to 8% of national health care spending, derived primarily from high demands at work ($48 billion), lack of insurance ($40 billion), and work-family conflict ($24 billion).
As reported by the Center for Workplace Health (American Psychiatric Association Foundation) these are some of the harmful health effects from excessive stress:
High on-the-job demands and insufficient resources contribute to work stress. In addition, an effort/rewards imbalance with perceptions of high effort and low compensation or recognition can also contribute to work stress. Goals perceived as exceedingly difficult, rather than achievable challenges, are also factors in excessive stress, anger, and anxiety.
What You Can Do About Work Stress
Leaving a job is not always an option - so let’s take a look at some suggestions for workplace stress management as provided by the American Psychological Association.
Make the most of workday breaks
Even ten minutes of “personal time” will refresh your mental outlook. If you can, get outside. Take a brief walk, or sit in a quiet spot and simply sit quietly with your eyes closed and breathe. Your scheduled breaks (lunch, etc) should be used as just that - eat, rest, get some space. Working through a break is counterproductive.
If you feel angry, walk away
Mentally regroup by counting to ten, then take a second look at the situation. It can also help to blow off a bit of steam by taking a brisk walk around the workplace.
Set reasonable standards for yourself and others. Don’t expect perfection. Review your job description with your supervisor - your responsibilities and performance criteria may not accurately reflect what you’re doing. Working together to make necessary adjustments can benefit your mental and emotional health and has the potential to enhance the organization’s overall productivity.
Enlisting the help of a mental health professional can benefit you immensely. By working together to develop healthier coping skills, a qualified therapist can offer an outside perspective and listen in a non-judgmental way. They can help you create a game plan with constructive stress-reducing techniques both during and after work, as well as communication methods for defining and defending important mental and emotional boundaries.
In the Bay Area and need help dealing with workplace stress? Look to reflect, where we connect people who are looking for quality, financially accessible therapists with a data-driven algorithm for the right fit based on your own unique needs. Clients rate their reflect therapist an average of 4.8 out of 5.0 on how comfortable they feel and how much he or she is helping them. We’re committed to bringing quality therapy care to you in a way that is uncomplicated - and we are passionate about making a difference in the world of mental health. Let us help you find a better way.
Meditation has many benefits, and it’s growing ever more popular as we all explore options for self-care in the approach to mental health. So how does it really measure up? Quite well. But it can seem intimidating, involved, and possibly complicated. After all, the idea of “clearing the mind” seems rather daunting, especially when most of us could feel like we are a computer running with fifty tabs open at once. If these thoughts have kept you away from meditation, or if you’re exploring your self-care options and considering meditation techniques, we’ll cover some great ways to simplify it a bit, along with three benefits to mental health as added incentive to give it a try.
And when managing a busy Bay Area lifestyle, dealing with work stress and struggling to find balance with mental health at work and beyond, meditation is an excellent option to consider.
There are many different types of meditation, but they all share the same objective – prompting a relaxation response. This is a deeply serene state, induced by the release of calming hormones. In a quiet setting, by focusing your attention on a single object, a person receives immense benefit. The mind grows still, muscles relax, and blood pressure gradually drops. Breathing and heart rate slow. Neurons in the brain forge new connections.
For simplicity’s sake, we’ll be referring to Mindfulness Meditation, but note that other types of meditation - Trancendental, Guided, Vipassana, Zazen and more - share the core purpose of prompting the body’s relaxation response, albeit in different ways. The practice of Mindfulness Meditation involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future. Sessions can be quite short (even five minutes works great) or longer if you are able to do so - but the beauty of meditation as a practice is that it does not require any special equipment, can be done anywhere, and with a bit of practice, can easily become a hugely valuable tool in your self-care and stress management toolkit.
Addressing mental health, the relaxation that comes from a meditation session has proven benefits. Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD sifted through nearly 19,000 meditation studies. Their findings, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggest that mindful meditation can help ease psychological stresses like anxiety, depression, and pain.
But it doesn’t just begin and end with relaxation. Here’s a look at three ways that meditation can benefit other areas of your mental health:
MFT, LCSW, PsyD, PhD - what does it mean when looking for a therapist? Sure, a set of letters after a name lends confidence to anyone who is doing research on potential therapist options, but navigating the various acronyms can make an already-scary process feel down right overwhelming. Finding the right mental health care professional is easier when you understand what these letters mean when it comes to their licensing and credentials. Above all, it’s essential that you find someone that you feel comfortable with - their training is only the beginning.
First of all, it’s important to remember that all these accreditations serve an important purpose. Going to see a therapist is very different than talking to a friend -- the education a therapist receives allows him or her to better engage with clients to understand their full perspectives and pull appropriate tools to address those needs and create lasting change.
A rigorous licensing process ensures practitioners have the appropriate training to best serve your needs. Plus, it’s important to know that this (or any other) medical professional has been properly evaluated and adheres to your state’s regulations in the field in terms of competency, qualifications, ethics, and business practices.
Unfortunately, that’s where things get complicated. The National Alliance on Mental Health explains that many types of mental health care professionals can help you achieve your therapy goals. They operate under a variety of job titles—including counselor, clinician, therapist or something else—based on the treatment setting. And variations exist state-by-state (the points below are most relevant for California, where reflect is headquartered).
To practice, clinicians must hold a Master’s degree (Master of Science or Master of the Arts) or Doctorate (PhD, PsyD) in a mental health-related field such as psychology, counseling psychology, marriage or family therapy, among others.
Here, the licensure and certification designations can include a variety of additional acronyms to indicate specifics which can vary by specialty and state. Examples of licensure include: LPCC Licensed Professional Counselor, LMFT Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and LCADAC, Licensed Clinical Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselor.
The most common in California are Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), Psychologist (PsyD or PhD), and Psychiatrist (MD).
Confused? We’re here to help, so let’s take a closer look at some of the most common acronyms and what they mean.
If you’ve made the decision to look into therapy, you might be asking yourself, “where do I even begin?” Well, you’re not alone. The process of finding the right therapist and the right therapeutic approach can feel overwhelming. In fact, you may begin not knowing that the therapeutic approach will impact the progress you make in therapy. Why? Mental health professionals operate from a variety of techniques (and styles), and it’s important to explore the systems of treatment as you begin the task of selecting a therapist. Let’s take a deeper look at the therapeutic approaches most commonly used so that you can make an informed decision.
Start the process by asking yourself what you are expecting from therapy. Would you prefer an analytical process, in which you’ll learn techniques for changing behaviors, or simply be able to talk freely with gentle guidance and acceptance? Therapy is a highly personal process, and naturally, you’ll want a therapist that’s most effective for you.
Many therapists will blend various therapeutic techniques to customize an approach that works for each client. Your therapy should feel comfortable to you - understanding how different therapies operate will help you determine how to meet those needs.
As the conversation continues to grow around the importance and availability of quality mental health resources, many strides have already been taken to raise awareness by corporations and community members alike. May is Mental Health Month, and in fact, this year marks the 70th anniversary of this vital movement. That’s quite a milestone - one that is well worth the highlight!
We want to take a moment to honor all of the hard work and dedication that has taken place over the decades and a few ways to make the most of Mental Health Month.
First began in 1949, Mental Health America and its affiliates developed the observance of ‘May is Mental Health Month’ by reaching millions of people through local events, screenings, and the media. The point? To spread the word that mental health is something that everyone should care about. And that is every bit as important today as it was seventy years ago.
Each year, Mental Health America assigns a theme to unify the movement and hone in on specific aspects of the cause. This year’s theme is kind of a ‘part two’ that follows the 2018 focus on #4Mind4Body. Psychology Today describes #4Mind4Body 2018 as an emphasis on the fact that “health is an all-encompassing matter and we must take care care of our minds just as much as we take care of our bodies.”
For 2019, the #4Mind4Body campaign has been expanded even further to include the topics of support animals, spirituality, humor, work/life balance, recreation and social connections for enhancing mental health and well-being.
Let’s face it - life can get very overwhelming at times. Whether there’s been a sudden loss, new realities, unresolved issues or pressure of any kind, the balancing act between managing our emotional world along with our work/life balance can be challenging to say the least. These days, it can definitely feel like we are getting pulled in a thousand directions at once. One false move, and the whole house of cards comes down. The Bay Area presents its own issues within the areas of career, finances and work/life balance - it’s not uncommon to feel like you’re walking on a tightrope everyday.
That struggle between emotional wellness and work/life balance may benefit from some professional help. Much like we need assistance with our taxes, we can also reach out to professionals who will support our desire for a healthy and happy life. Professional therapists bridge the gap between, “can I do this?” and “here’s our plan.” Whether you suspect an underlying mental illness or simply need an outside perspective to talk it out, therapy can benefit you in many ways.
According to Forbes, there are some pretty intriguing reasons to give talk therapy a try. The number one reason? Therapy has lasting benefits. This is because a therapist helps people work through the issues and develop tools to deal with future problems. While just about everyone can benefit, recent studies found that 60% of adults with mental health concerns did not receive mental health services in the previous year.
Consider bringing a therapist into your support system and you’ll find that it is a fantastic opportunity to level up your professional game and improve your personal life. It can help you handle emotions from problems or stressors, even if they are not dramatically traumatic or life-altering. Therapy can deliver results relatively quickly; the American Psychological Association reports that many patients felt improvement within two weeks of talk therapy. 75% of the clients who work with reflect will gain new insights about their lives within the first four sessions.
Here’s a closer look at four great reasons to put “find a therapist” on today’s to-do list.
Ah, happiness. It feels so elusive, doesn’t it? Life throws curve balls at us on a regular basis. one minute, everything is perfectly okay, humming right along. Next thing you know, something (or someone) can enter your space and disrupt your mindset. From there, it could all go downhill unless you take action to protect your positivity and your mental health.
These days, happiness is even harder to come by due to a seemingly endless sources of stressors. So much so that the most recent World Happiness Report has determined that happiness and life satisfaction have been on the decline in the United States. Across the board, the general population is dealing with major stress factors in the most fundamental aspects of our lives: financial, career, housing, health, and family. Time certainly doesn’t seem to be slowing down enough for all of life’s demands to be met – at least, not without some sacrifices along the way.
When life gets busy, all too often, self-care drops to the end of the to-do list. While this is a natural response, it’s actually rather counterproductive and unhealthy.
After all, we believe that the purpose of life is to be happy! If dealing with life’s Mount Everest on a daily basis is robbing you of the opportunity to access your happiness, there are ways to build that back in to your life again. Getting back to happy utilizes our own body’s ability to get those endorphins flowing and improve your mental, emotional and physical well-being. You deserve it.
In every business, the most important challenge is how to get clients or customers. Without paying customers, no business will run for very long and the saying, “if we build it, they will come” no longer applies to the real world. To get more customers or clients, business owners need to learn how to market their business
For some, marketing is fun and crunching numbers for individual marketing strategies comes naturally. Meanwhile, therapists are rarely trained marketers and prefer to focus their efforts on their clients which leaves them struggling between finding clients and helping them. If you find your practice dealing with this struggle, follow these four tips to get counseling clients with a bit more ease.
Most working American adults are affected by stress at some point in their daily lives. This stress is, perhaps unsurprisingly, most frequently coming from the workplace. From competition with fellow employees, to not getting paid enough and/or tumultuous relationships with employers, work-related stress is common and can be unhealthy and impact performance. In fact, a recent study from Everest College found that 83% of U.S. workers are stressed. But, what is work-related stress?
Let’s face it, we live in stressful times. Rates of suicide, depression, and anxiety are up across the country. The National Alliance on Mental Illness found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults will experience mental illness in a given year. That’s over 48 million adults! Between financial pressure, family pressure, relationships, and the constant expectation to look perfect on social media, it’s understandable to feel stressed out or worse. Therapy is a meaningful way to work through life’s stressors and, fortunately for everyone, therapy is finally gaining the popularity it deserves. In fact, the Wall Street Journal recently reported that “Millennials are the therapy generation.” This generation is more open to seeking assistance for mental health problems and is changing the landscape of mental health treatment. We’re okay with that.
Therapy has been used to treat mental health illness and conditions since the 19th century. Healthline reports that “Behavioral therapy has successfully been used to treat a large number of conditions.” Some of those conditions include anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. However, you don't have to have a “disorder” or mental illness to see a therapist. Therapy is wildly successful in treating conditions that we all might experience at one time or another, such as work stress, the death of a loved one, or any other terrible life event that may happen. We are all human and we all can benefit from therapy, especially when there are obvious signs that life sucks right now and it’s time to see a therapist. The following are a few of those signs.
Helpful tips for managing stress, incorporating mindfulness, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.