While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with productivity and impact physical and emotional health.
Professor Ewan Gillon, counselling psychologist and clinical director of First Psychology, said: “Stress costs the UK economy about £26billion each year and up to one in six workers is affected. Being able to understand and reduce stress – both for yourself and your workforce – is quite possibly the best way to contribute to any business’s bottom line.
“Aberdeen is one of Scotland’s major centres with a high percentage of professionals and we believe that with our wide range of services we can make a real contribution to the city.”
First Psychology currently has centres in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders. The company’s services include counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, couples and relationship counselling, coaching and more.
To mark First Psychology’s arrival in Aberdeen, Professor Gillon is offering a free stress factor workshop, being held at the city’s Hotel Malmaison from 6-8pm on Thursday June 14.
On the evening, guests will explore what stress does to us and discover ways to avoid and deal with stressful situations and lifestyles. Attendees will receive a free stress guide to take away.
Professor Gillon said: “In uncertain economic times, people tend to feel more stressed, especially in their work environment which obviously has consequences for their private life too.
“We respond to stress in different ways – sometimes we drink or eat too much of the wrong things, forget to exercise, or do too little of the stuff we enjoy. One of the most important things to look at is each individual’s ‘stress style’ to identify ways to cope with stress and introduce various strategies to overcome stressful situations.”
Professor Gillon added that while individual reasons for feeling stressed often differ, there are a few tips that can make a difference in almost everyone’s life:
Recognise your symptoms: Look out for irregular breathing, sweating and skin problems, but also irritability, lack of concentration or moodiness.
Identify your stressors: Note each time you feel stressed, how you felt both physically and emotionally and how you reacted to it. This will help identify stress patterns.
Avoid unnecessary stress: Learn to say ‘no’ and distinguish between the ‘shoulds’ and the ‘musts’. By doing so, you will only shoulder as much as you can handle.
Change it, adapt to it or accept it: Sometimes stress is unavoidable. To prevent it from becoming a problem our best bet may be to alter our situation. If you cannot change your situation, control your stress by changing yourself: could you be less of a perfectionist? In the long run, acceptance is better than trying to change something you can’t control.
Develop healthier coping strategies: Drinking alcohol, eating too much and withdrawing from activity or people can relieve stress in the short term but causes greater problems in the long run. Look for alternative ways to manage stress.
And, finally how does Professor Gillon, who is also a part-time professor of psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University and heads up Scotland’s only doctorate in counselling psychology, manage his stress levels?
“I enjoy spending time with the family and being outdoors, blowing off the cobwebs. I have a particular love of walking, which is both good exercise and a way of bringing a more relaxed pace to the day”.
To attend the free stress workshop please RSVP to events@aberdeen psychology.co.uk