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The Brain Bath?! Gets Stressed



"I suppose I've created an atmosphere where I'm a friend first and a boss second... probably an entertainer third," David Brent (aka Ricky Gervais) once said.

Is your boss as understanding and as chilled as David? Or can you place you and your colleagues among the following classic types. Find out as The Brain Bath?! gets to the bottom of stress in the workplace with this quiz:

Do you, your boss or one of your colleagues…
A. Moan moan moan moan moan moan
B. Suffer from desk rage
C. Change their physical appearance constantly
D. Compete with everyone at every opportunity
E. Buzz buzz buzz around the office claiming that everything is urgent and must be done yesterday

Check the behavioural characteristics below to see which type your colleagues are - and how to deal with them...

Recognising Stressheads

  • A. The Chronic Complainer - it's generally best to ignore them and carry on with your work.
  • B. Ice Queen/King - someone who has withdrawn from the office banter and is showing signs of suppressed rage - don’t get involved. Leave them to it!.
  • C. The Victim - This is the person you should be most worried about. Nervousness and constantly changing their personal appearance is one of the tell-tale signs identified by professor Cary Cooper of victims of office bullying. Keep an eye on them or mention it to someone in personnel.
  • D. The Competitor - Give them a pat on the back when s/he does something that benefits other team members. Otherwise just ignore them, or tell them to grow up.
  • E. The Stress Carrier - Busy bee, busy bee, buzz buzz buzz. Challenge them and their irrational thinking; is it really so urgent?

But seriously, folks
As fans of The Brain Bath?! will understand, relentless day-to-day tedium can itself be a source of stress - so we occasionally bring a little lighthearted banter to proceedings on TrainingZONE.

But there is a point when verbal jousting can go too far. According to professor Cooper's CD-Rom 'Under Pressure' (available from, bullying is a serious issue that causes stress for one in ten people at work.

He describes bullying behaviour as persistent negative actions which can include ridicule, making offensive personal remarks and constantly interrupting or ignoring everything that's said.

The following characteristics are typical of victims of bullying:

  • nervousness and changes in physical appearance

  • making unusual mistakes

  • irritable or obsessive behaviour

  • poor work performance

  • absenteeism.

The bullyonline website highlights the sort of characters who cause these symptoms in their less assertive colleagues. The bully, it says:

  • is a convincing, practised liar and when called to account, will make up anything spontaneously to fit their needs at that moment
  • has a Jekyll and Hyde nature - is vile, vicious and vindictive in private, but innocent and charming in front of witnesses
  • uses excessive charm and is always plausible and convincing when peers, superiors or others are present

  • is possessed of an exceptional verbal facility and will outmanoeuvre most people in verbal interaction, especially at times of conflict
  • is unusually skilled in being able to anticipate what people want to hear and then saying it plausibly
  • cannot be trusted or relied upon; fails to fulfil commitments
  • is emotionally immature and emotionally untrustworthy
  • holds deep prejudices
  • is self-opinionated and displays arrogance, audacity, a superior sense of entitlement and sense of invulnerability and untouchability
  • is a control freak and has a compulsive need to control everyone and everything you say, do, think and believe
  • displays a compulsive need to criticise while simultaneously refusing to value, praise and acknowledge others, their achievements, or their existence
  • refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer
  • is highly manipulative, especially of people's perceptions and emotions (eg guilt).

Is all this beginning to get you down? If you are worried about your stress levels at work, try the stress test at .

Stresshead - heal thyself, with help from YogaAtWork
But maybe it's time to take a leaf out of Cherie Blair's New Age book - the answer to many of our problems lies within. As puts it, "The path back to the real you is never but a few breaths away." The Brain Bath?! is indebted to the site for the following stress-busting exercise.

The routine can be carried out in any position. But remember - you are at work and hiding under your desk in the foetal position, or sitting in a full lotus pose isn’t really appropriate.

  • Step 1: Breathe slowly
  • Step 2: Breathe slowly
  • Step 3: Breathe slowly
  • Step 4: Repeat Steps 1, 2 and 3

Well, I don’t know about you, but I feel better for that.


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