Are your employees…

emotional, oppositional, reactive, or defensive?

– making errors, not meeting timelines, being forgetful?

– having difficulty focusing or solving problems?

– failing to be ready for work either with work, appearance or timelines?

These are only a few of the signs that employees are experiencing a decline in their mental health. Not all employees complain about the distress they are experiencing. It’s critical that employers and employees are aware of all of the symptoms, both behavioral and work related, that indicate the need for a programmatic approach to dealing with stress and anxiety.

Not all Mental Health and Stress Management Programs are created equal! While Mindfulness, Cognitive Behavior Approaches and Yoga can contribute to improving feelings of well-being temporarily, they don’t get to the underlying issues that create stress and the decline of mental health.

creating mental health - Program Overview

While employers are increasingly doing more to ensure that their employees have resources to attend to their mental and emotional health, they find that not all programs and approaches empower employees to take responsibility for creating their own mental health and well being. Emphasizing mental health as a critical element of their wellness program is a good starting point. However, mental health and emotional wellness remain elusive when programs provide content that deal with the symptoms rather than root causes. It can do more harm than good when during these programs, employees are counselled to sleep more when they have insomnia, or to get exercise when they don’t have a free moment in their day.  

Employees don’t have access to high impact programs such as the Creating Mental Health & Wellness Program that give employees an understanding of how they are contributing to the decline of their mental health. Our Program is unique in that it provides participants with everything they need to change stress producing habits of mind with others who are experiencing like challenges. It helps them develop a mindset that increases optimism and decreases feelings of powerlessness. 

Using a combination of approaches, including facilitated education sessions, mindfulness, cognitive strategies, exercises, reflections and group coaching, participants are able to understand and change their relationship with stress and uncertainty and empower themselves, gaining mastery and taking responsibility for their reactions to stress and mental health.

Creating strong mental health during times of uncertainty starts with the recognition that the brain’s natural bias for negativity and reactivity acts against that goal.  Automatic habits of mind create stress when we aren’t paying attention to what is going on between our ears, including catastrophizing and other automatic negative thoughts. During the program, participants work at developing self-awareness, gain tools for self-management, learn how to set boundaries, and build an individualized own toolkit and path to empowerment.

Highlights

Target Audience

Employees
Leaders
Organizations of All Sizes

Independent Learning

4 Recorded
Learning Modules,  homework & Exercises

Facilitated Sessions

4 Virtual small Group
Coaching Sessions 

Timeline

8-Week Program 
Alternating Weeks Between Recorded & Facilitated 

Recorded Learning Modules

Group Coaching Sessions

Session 1:
Managing Stress Through Self-Awareness

The key to managing our stress is through self-awareness. 

The realization that it isn’t stress that is the issue but our reaction to it, is the first step in empower ourselves and creating meaningful solutions to issues and challenges in our lives.  Our brain and nervous system is wired to react to real and perceived threats and reactive, catastrophic thoughts are usually the basis for the majority of stress in our lives. Becoming aware of our Mental Health and Wellness Mindset allows us to recognize and change the underlying beliefs that cause self-inflicted suffering.

Self awareness begins with the examination of the automatic nature of our thoughts and feelings and the beliefs that drive them. Developing awareness of automatic  thoughts and feelings, fixed negative beliefs and fear triggers  provide insight into understanding your role in creating stress, anxiety and suffering. 

An absence of awareness of how we contribute to our own distress amplifies our stress and ultimately creates suffering. Learning our current mindset and stress tolerance and how to strengthen ourselves through self-awareness empowers us to respond to situations instead of catastrophizing and becoming fearful about them. During this session we will look at a number of approaches to building self-awareness and introduce techniques for maintaining equanimity in the face of challenges, competing priorities and the demands of others.  

self-awareness

Coaching Session 1:
Building Self-Awareness

During the coaching session, participants will discuss the results of practicing the exercises from Session 1. They will debrief on barriers to practice and share their experiences. In this facilitated session, they will have the opportunity to gain support from their peers and talk about how their mindset is impacting their stress.

Session 2:
Self-Management During Times of Uncertainty

Stress and anxiety are always associated with times of uncertainty

Let’s face it, we don’t know what the future holds in terms of dealing with a pandemic and getting back to a sense of normalcy both at work and in our relationships. The reality is we have no control over many things in our external environment, but we do have control over what we create in our inner environment. Unfortunately, during times of stress, we end up creating anxiety.

Uncertainty triggers fear. Fear causes automatic negative thinking that leads to anxiety and suffering. Not accepting that uncertainty is a normal part of life and staying open instead of shutting down when we experience it, creates more anxiety than a situation warrants. Add to the mix the belief that you can’t help but worry depletes your energy and wears you down over time.  We focus on our emotions, not on how to manage and master the challenges of uncertain times. 

The brain has an enormous capacity for making up scary stories in creating more anxiety and stress then is healthy for us to experience. It’s called catastrophizing. During this session we will look at the mechanism in the brain that causes us to create stress and anxiety. We will also examine self-limiting beliefs that can get in the way of changing the way we feel. The session will also include tools and techniques to help identify and manage unhelpful thoughts and let you recognize when you are catastrophizing about the future instead of living fully in the present moment.

Coaching Session 2: Strengthening Self-Management

During the coaching session, participants will discuss the results of practicing the exercises from Session 2. They will identify thoughts and self-limiting beliefs that disempower them in their ability to manage their emotions and stress. In this facilitated session, they will have the opportunity to gain support from their peers and talk about how their emotions are negatively affecting their stress and their lives.

Session 3: Setting & Managing Boundaries at Work & in Relationships

Many people have difficulty with communicating and clarifying expectations and creating boundaries. 

Whether it is at work or in our relationships, we will often tell ourselves that we can’t say no or negotiate for fear that it will make the situation worse. While this rarely happens, we still scare ourselves into silence. It also means that we internalize our conflict and create suffering for ourselves bearing the issue rather than resolving it. Our catastrophizing and telling ourselves stories to scare ourselves causes us to feel powerless. We believe that we are experiencing more suffering than is actually the case. In the famous words of Mark Twain…

“I have known a great many troubles, most of which never happened”  

Believing that you aren’t entitled to say “no” to the needs of others because it makes you a “bad” person and deprioritizing your own needs because work or personal demands come first are often at the root of not setting boundaries. Making conscious the fears that cause us to say “yes” to others when we are  running on empty allows us to challenge them and make healthy decisions for ourselves.

During this session we will look at self-limiting beliefs and disempowering habits of mind and how they get in the way of self-advocacy. The competencies, such as setting expectations, identifying needs, negotiating to get our needs met and issue resolution will be explored. In addition, suggestions for setting boundaries around your workplace availability, and how to negotiate to get time to yourself in relationships will be explored.

boundaries

Coaching Session 3: Creating Relationship Rules at Work and in Relationships

During the coaching session, participants will discuss the results of practicing the exercises from Session 3. They will debrief on barriers to self-advocacy in relationships and identify reasons why they cannot say no to others and why.  Also, the practice of making up stories with negative consequences will be discussed as a core barrier to self-assertion. In this facilitated session, they will have the opportunity to gain support from their peers and talk about how their beliefs stop them from asserting boundaries.  

Session 4: Empowering Yourself: Your Stress Management Toolkit

It’s not always apparent to us how we victimize or disempower ourselves.

This workshop introduces the different types of Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) that we can use to frightening ourselves into a state of anxiety and mental unwellness. It teaches participants a variety of tools and techniques to use to manage unhelpful and triggering thoughts and feelings that lead to increased stress. During this experiential workshop, participants have the opportunity to practice a variety of empowering activities easily integrated into daily life.

In addition to traditional cognitive tools that build self-awareness, a variety of mindfulness practices will be taught, including a brief sitting meditation, the 3-minute breathing space and a staying grounded exercise. Cultivating mindfulness allows us to make sure our head and body are in the same time zone, fulling experiencing what is going on in the present moment. This includes recognizing when we’re catastrophizing about the future or bringing negative associations from the past into the present. This mechanism is automatic and learning how to focus without inflaming ourselves allows us to solve problems, not create emotions.   

Participants will be introduced to how the brain reacts to perceived and real threats, demonstrating how mindfulness allows us to respond to what is actually going on instead of to our fears and catastrophic thinking. It introduces mindfulness practices as way of changing habits of mind and creating new habits using affirmation and intention setting. We will also discuss how mindfulness can assist us to deal more effectively with stress and to help shift our nervous system back to neutral when it is on overload. This helps us achieve overall improved health and well-being.

Path to Empowerment

Coaching Session 4: Your Path to Empowerment

During the coaching session, participants will discuss the results of practicing the exercises from Session 4. They will discuss the ways they tend to victimize themselves and how they may power past automatic behaviors by identifying and using tools and developing a daily practice. Learning the different types of ANTs allows them to identify and stomp them out before they have the opportunity to take hold and create stress. In this facilitated session, participants gain support from their peers and talk about how the challenges to implementing a plan to manage their inner and outer life.

Meet Anne Dranitsaris, Ph.D.

Program Facilitator

Dr. Anne Dranitsaris  is a behavioral change expert with more than 40 years’ experience in helping individuals, leaders, employees and organizations create mental and emotional well-being. 

From her early career beginning as a Registered Massage Therapist, to psychotherapist, to receiving her PhD in Philosophy of Healing in World Religions, Anne has been driven by a vision for an holistic approach to creating emotional, mental and physical health. After establishing herself as a psychotherapist in private practice, Anne became one of Toronto’s first Executive Coaches in the late 1980’s. She could see the direct application of the therapeutic tools to the corporate world, which drove her to expand her work into that realm using the title of corporate therapist to indicate her holistic approach to working with leaders and teams. During this time, Anne also taught workshops on the emerging topics of stress management and corporate wellness and later opened the Centre for Mindful Therapies for the purpose of teaching clients and groups the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction program.

Most individuals seek Anne’s help because something in their life isn’t working and they need help changing dysfunctional patterns of behavior, thinking or emotions

During workshops and individual sessions, clients build awareness of automatic habits of mind and the fears that create stress and emotional suffering. By teaching the mechanics of the mind and a combination of brain-based, psychodynamic, cognitive and mindfulness approaches, clients learn to shift from surviving behaviors to thriving in their lives. They learn what drives them, what energizes them, and how they are most likely to behave when they are not getting their needs met. Clients also become increasingly self-aware, empowering themselves through changing limiting beliefs and automatic negative self-defeating behaviors and self-talk that create stress and inhibit achieving goals, ambitions and potential.

Anne is the co-creator of the Striving Styles Personality System® (SSPS®) – a neuropsychological approach to discovering and developing your full potential and the co-author of “Who Are You Meant to Be? – A groundbreaking, step-by-step approach to identifying and achieving your true potential.” She is also the co-author of “So, You Think You Can Lead: A Guide to Developing Leadership Authority and Potential” and “Power Past the Imposter Syndrome: A Brain-Building Framework for Changing Painful, Self-Limiting Beliefs & Habits of Mind”.  She has authored more than 70 books in the Maximizing Your Potential series based on the Striving Styles and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Anne Dranitsaris PhD -blue backdrop
Published books by Anne Dranitsaris and Heather Hilliard
striving styles reports