These days you can get pills and medication for just about anything and it's no surprise that there are medications available for a range of stress-related conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
But is taking pills for stress management a good idea?
Recent research on the use of vitamin supplements would suggest that it might be a very bad idea, because the 'licensing effects' caused by taking tablets encourage unhealthy behaviours.
Licensing effects are a phenomenon widely observed in psychological research where we feel something, in this case, vitamin pills, gives us 'license' (otherwise known as an excuse!) to behave in negative ways.
There's another psychological problem with taking pills for stress problems. Medication can certainly help at the time but the benefits are often temporary and the likelihood of relapse is much higher. Although it is time consuming and difficult, making changes to our behaviour increases our feelings of control and self-efficacy and dramatically decreases the chance of relapse.
Pills for stress - they might catch on, but they definitely won't work long term. We need to change our behaviour.
Recently, I recorded a skype interview with Chartered Psychologist, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, who led the 4-year research project into the stress management competencies. Emma gives an excellent overview and insight into this research, including the key results and outcomes. This includes an explanation about the management development intervention/workshop that was developed and tested during the research. For more on the research, reports from all 4 phases of the research can be downloaded here.
We've arranged for Emma to deliver train-the-trainer courses for organizations and practitioners who want to use this workshop in-house. For more information on this see our events page.
Just to warn you, there is a little bit of noise interference in a couple of places in the audio, but it only lasts a few seconds each time. Both audio and video versions can be found below. The first podcast below is my introduction and the second is the interview itself.
Alan Bradshaw's introduction...
Interview with Emma Donaldson-Feilder...
Last week I headed down to Newcastle to record an interview Katie Duncan, Organizational Psychologist at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust. Northumbria was one of the first organizations in the UK to implement the stress management competencies. Katie describes why they adopted this approach, the process they followed, and the results that ensued. Below you'll find both audio and video versions. Details of confirmed stress management competencies roadshow events (mostly free) and train-the-trainer events can be found on our stress events page.
Today, I launched our brand new twitter account @stressnews - looking forward to having lots of people following our and others' stress news.
If you have any stress news, please follow us and we'll follow back so we can exchange our news and let others know. Just click the follow @stressnews link below my author profile.
If you're on linkedin, you can also link up with me via the linkedin profile link. See in social cyberspace soon!
Over the last couple of weeks, I've agreed to run a couple of Stress Management Competencies Roadshows in Teesside, one in Hartlepool and one in Redcar.
This has put me in touch with two excellent and committed workplace health improvement people in Teesside, Steven Carter and Richie Andrew, who are doing great work locally to prevent and reduce stress and to promote healthy workplaces in general.
A good example is South Tees NHS' How Healthy Is Your Business website. It's great to see this kind of regional investment in workplace health promotion.
I've noticed that compared to Scotland, and more recently, Wales, who have been prioritising and investing heavily in workplace health promotion, the situation in England is very patchy. Some areas such as the North East and South West appear to being doing a lot of good work and other areas little if anything. Why there should be such stark regional variations is a bit of mystery, as the arguments about the value of prevention have surely long since been won. Certainly where stress and mental well-being are concerned, prevention is hugely more cost-effective than 'cure'.
I've been very busy recently organising these free stress management roadshows all around the UK. They introduce and explain a new evidence-based approach to stress management based around stress management competencies.
What are stress management competencies? Stress management competencies are combinations of skills and behaviours that managers need to prevent and reduce stress at work. The seminars discuss the 4-year programme of stress research that led to the development of a stress management competency framework and associated tools.
We also explain the behaviours included in the framework and introduce the tools and applications, including management development. If you're interested in these events, you can find out more and book through links on our events page.
Business Psychologist, Alan Bradshaw, is a specialist in the fields of stress management and the management of wellbeing at work.