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How To Effectively Complain in the Workplace

As a former human resources manager, I can assure that most employees are not aware that they are annoying you. You may find your loved one’s quirks adorable, but when it comes to your colleagues’ annoying habits, some simply drive you crazy! From coast to coast, Canadians in different sectors of the economy write to … Read more

Managing Different Personality Types on Your Team

Meet Jana Hashim, HR professional and fashion model. A multitude of personalities, work and management styles, along with deadlines don’t always make for the most harmonious of environments. For Hashim, this is simply an opportunity to work her magic. She thrives on the challenge of disseminating personality quirks, building teams and resolving conflicts. “I think … Read more

What Highly Sensitive People Need to Be Happy

Growing up, I was a very sensitive child. One of my earliest memories is of freaking out after seeing a particularly bad story on the news. I don’t remember what the story was about, but I do remember running into my bedroom, plugging my ears, and making up a song about how “everything will be … Read more

Caution! Using Self-Labels Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

The Voice of Reason | Psychology Today
Article originally posted here.

We often see the world through dark-gray lenses that color our life experience and twist or distort everything to the negative. It’s one of the main symptoms of depression, but labeling yourself in this way is also common among anyone who experienced harmful, stressful, or negative life experiences as a young person and may have come to believe the critical statements as true facts.

What do I mean by a self-label? It’s a description you place on yourself, or a way you regard yourself, that is narrowly focused and pigeon-holes you in a certain way—in this case, in a negative light. Such labels are usually not correct but are a distortion of the real facts. For example, it might be that you tell yourself, “I’m no good,” “I’m the plain one, not the pretty one,” or “I’ll never amount to anything.” Or you may hear in your head statements like “You’re lazy” or “He’s the good one, you’re the bad one” and believe that this status is a permanent condition and not “fixable.”

You must ask yourself where these negative statements came from. Who is “saying” them to you, if only in your head, and why? Do they come from a parent or other authority figure who had an impact on your early life? Just because an influential or controlling parent says something about you does not mean that it is true. Parents or grandparents, teachers, clergy, and other authority figures are human, have flaws, and make mistakes. But as a child, we do not know or understand this and cannot challenge them. We believe their words to be true and take them inside of us, through the process known as internalizing. Ask yourself now: Do these statements have any foundation or basis for the truth? The answer is almost certainly No.

There is a danger in believing these negative statements and declaring yourself permanently “no good” or “unfixable.” Believing something that is not a true reflection of you can cause emotional pain and suffering. It can have a major impact on the way you see yourself and think about yourself—and how you present yourself to the world. In thinking this way your mind is closed to the possibilities of what you might accomplish, or who you might become in the future. Experiences and opportunities that might have been available to you no longer are. Since you don’t give yourself a chance, you set yourself up for failure, disappointment, and unhappiness.

So how do you avoid using labels and keep them from overtaking your thinking? It takes a lot of concentrated effort—a good thing to work on with a therapist—but you can also address it on your own. Here’s one way to begin: First, be aware and try to identify when it is happening. Next, challenge your negative thoughts one at a time. When you recognize a negative label that you have just applied to yourself, stop and ask yourself if it is really true. Try to think of where in your past it came from, and who it is who might have said it to you. And then ask yourself if that thought really applies now.

It can be helpful to search out evidence for and against the negative thought as you try to challenge it. Try this exercise: Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the center. On the top of one column write Evidence For and atop the other, Evidence Against. Start to fill in the two columns with concrete examples from your life that speak for or against the negative thought or label. You should soon see that the negative label has little to support it.

Why Empathy will get Workplaces through COVID

Leaders in our current and post COVID reality must focus on cultivating empathy to enable them to engage and support employees.  Whether those employees are essential workers or working from home, they have been experiencing change at an unprecedented rate.  This has increased stress levels and impacted their ability to be engaged with their own … Read more

How to Effectively Reward Employees for their Work

Workplace psychologist says employee recognition programs don’t always work. Employee recognition programs are a popular way to appreciate staff — but they can sometimes backfire, says workplace psychologist Jennifer Newman. Newman sat down with The Early Edition host Rick Cluff to describe the pros and cons of these programs, and how management can more effectively reward their employees for their good … Read more

Grieving in the Workplace: Coping With Loss

Many kinds of loss can affect your work: divorce, retirement, job loss, failure of a project and so on. This article focuses on grief following the loss of a loved one. The suggestions will help you cope with your own loss or support a bereaved co–worker. Understanding grief and its effects Many of us experience … Read more

How to Handle Feelings of Anxiety and Depression at Work

As COVID-19 cases surge across Canada and a “second wave” looms, some people may feel worsening mental health. Throughout the pandemic, Canadians have reported that they are experiencing depression and loneliness, even as anxiety and worry lessened around the disease itself, according to national surveys by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and … Read more

5 Tips to Improve Your Self-Talk

Right now, you are probably getting an earful from your inner voice. You know, that little commentator in your head that is always chattering? It can either sound like the leader of the pep squad, bolstering your confidence, whispering instructions, and boosting performance; or the nagging mother-in-law sabotaging your success with negative comments and cutting … Read more