I have doubt about burnout.
Understand, not only do I feel certain that employees experience exhaustion, cynicism, disengagement, self-doubt, and depression often as a result of work stressors, but I’ve spent the better part of my career spotlighting these processes in my work as a well-being practitioner. Further, if an employee says they’re burned out, I believe their experience is credible — it should be accepted, respected, and addressed.
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A new study repudiates gratitude interventions as a treatment for depression.
The original intention of positive psychology was to expand mental health, not to cure mental illness. But wannabes self-help gurus, and some mental health professionals, hawk positive psychology interventions as a panacea for clinical disorders.
As the study authors note, gratitude interventions have value (for example, improving relationships) — but not much for the treatment of depression or anxiety.
Ultimately, the authors state (in Gratitude Interventions: Effective Self-help? A Meta-analysis of the Impact on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety):
Consistent with past reviews, we found gratitude interventions had a medium effect when compared with waitlist-only conditions, but only a trivial effect when compared with putatively inert control conditions involving any kind of activity.
In other words, gratitude interventions didn’t fair better than other behavioral activities used as controls.
A remaining controversy is how the limited efficacy of gratitude interventions compares to popular antidepressant medications.
Podcast interviewers and conference organizers often ask me to talk about my mistakes and failures. Thank you very much.
It’s okay; I get it. Others can learn from our mistakes and also take solace in the fact that we all make them. Listening to some presenter prattle on about how perfect their programs are — especially when they’re from companies with nearly unlimited resources — can be discouraging rather than inspiring. (Besides, if our professional social media is pervaded exclusively by self-promotion and ungrounded thought leadership, it’s hard to grow in a way that’s relevant to the real-life work environment.)
For some reason, two of my professional flops fell in the realms of mental health and emotional well-being. Continue reading »