Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Mindfulness courses - book a place!

Mindfulness courses

First Psychology is holding a number of courses and workshops on mindfulness this autumn / winter. Mindfulness is a popular approach which has been demonstrated to reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing. It has its roots in ancient meditation practices and is incorporated in many popular pastimes, such as yoga and tai chi. 

Learning to be more mindful will allow you to bring your mind into the present moment and you will start to notice the things that have been passing you by, such as the feeling of the wind on your face, the sound of leaves rustling, and the smell of the air. 

As you become more mindful, your mind will focus less on thoughts about the past and the future. These thoughts create stress and prevent your mind from resting. Mindfulness will teach you to calm your mind.

For further details or to book a place, please click the links below:

An Introduction To Mindfulness (6 Week Course) >
starting Glasgow Monday 19 October 2015
starting Edinburgh Friday 6 Novemeber 2015

Mindfulness For Hectic Lives  - (A Short Workshop For Busy People) >
Inverness: 17 November 2015
Aberdeen: 19 November 2015
Dundee: 1 December 2015
Borders: 8 December 2015


Thursday, 17 September 2015

Lessons from sport

In the next few weeks, Sir Alex Ferguson will reveal the secrets of his success in leadership at two talks taking place in Scotland. (Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow on 28 September 2015; Music Hall, Aberdeen on 1 October 2015)

The former football manager will talk about the leadership skills he developed during his long football management career and the many lessons he has learned along the way.

Can we learn from sport?

You may wonder whether the skills required of someone in a high profile sports management role can be transferred to someone who perhaps manages a business or a team of individuals within a large organisation.

Interestingly, the sports world has by its very competitive nature, been a key area of expertise in not only sports coaching but also performance coaching.

In recent years there has been much written on the subject of what has been termed 'the inner game' and how the way we think can make a huge impact on how we perform. Self belief and confidence in our abilities are key to being successful and achieving our goals.

Whether the goals are sports related, work related or personal achievements, confidence and self-belief are essential to doing your best along with a number of other factors that have been shown to be common among successful sports people.

NEW WORKSHOP - Focus: Lessons From Sport

If you're looking to improve your performance in an area of your life, then you can absolutely do it and the best place to start is by learning from successful sports people.

In a new workshop run by Dr Fani Papayianni, you will examine the key behaviours necessary for achieving your full potential - whether in the workplace or in your personal life - and look at ways you can incorporate these behaviours into your life.

Workshop Dates
Glasgow: 6-8pm, Wednesday 7 October 2015 - more details >
Edinburgh: 6-8pm, Wednesday 3 February 2015 - more details >

Don't delay, places are limited!


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Facing freshers week can be an anxious time for those with social anxiety

It's that time of year when all the hard work of exams pays off and young people pack up their things and head off to university full of excitement about the future.

Freshers week, the first week back when 'freshers' or new students are traditionally welcomed to the university, is usually full of social events.

It is common for new students to feel excited at the thought of starting something new and meeting new friends. It is also usual to have general worries about fitting in, getting on with new people, whether you are good enough for your course, etc. Whenever we experience change in our lives, it is often a time when we also experience stress and anxiety. This is a normal part of life.

However, some people also suffer from social anxiety issues and those people may experience dread at the mere thought of Freshers Week.

Tips for dealing with social situations

If you are feeling highly anxious about Freshers Week, here are some tips for dealing with social situations.

1. Try to time your arrival so you are not entering a room full of people you don't know or waiting in an empty room for people to arrive, both of which can be stressful.

2. Before you enter the room, focus on your breathing, Try to think about the cool air slowly entering your body through your nose and the warm air slowly leaving your body through your mouth.

3. Walk slowly but confidently and look for a signing in table, drinks table or bar as people are often waiting to register / be served and are often alone and more easy to engage in small talk.

4. When talking to people, try to make eye contact and be curious about them and smile.

5. Try to find common ground - it is much easier to talk to people you have something in common with. And don't forget that everyone starting university will be keen to make friends too!

Learn to manage your anxiety using CBT techniques

If you feel anxiety is something you would like to learn to manage, First Psychology is holding workshops this autumn in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Click here for further details of our 'Taking Charge of Anxiety: Using CBT Skills' workshops >

More about social anxiety

Read our web page about social anxiety >

Monday, 7 September 2015

Mindfulness is everywhere

You can't step into a bookshop at the moment without coming face to face with a myriad of mindfulness books. From colouring books for adults and children to self-help books and even a mindfulness diet book, mindfulness is the answer to everything, it seems. So what is mindfulness and does it work?

Is mindfulness a new thing?

Although mindfulness may seem, at first glance, to be the latest fad, it has actually been around for hundred of years. It has its roots in Eastern meditation practices and was first introduced into modern health care by Jon Zabat-Zinn.

How does mindfulness work?

The practice of mindfulness trains the mind to focus on the present moment: our breath, the cool breeze on our skin, the warmth of the sun, the sound of the birds...

In the hectic world in which we live, it can be hard not to get bogged down by the constant 'internal chatter' of our minds. We may travel from A to B without even noticing anything about our journey because we are so focused on our thoughts. Our minds are thinking and creating all the time and mindfulness teaches us to become more aware of ourselves and our surroundings rather than residing in our minds.

There are many exercises and techniques you can use to practise mindfulness and many tools you can use to focus your mind on the present moment. It sounds simple, but it is actually quite a skill to allow your thoughts to flow freely in and out of your mind, but not to engage with them.

With practice mindfulness has been shown to improve wellbeing, reduce stress and make us happier.
That is because no matter what has happened in the past or what we are working towards achieving, happiness resides in the present.

Mindfulness research

Recent research carried out by the University of Oxford showed participants to have reduced levels of anxiety, depression and stress following a mindfulness course. There have also been other studies suggesting beneficial effects on school children and young people.

Mindfulness courses

First Psychology is holding a number of courses and workshops on mindfulness this autumn / winter. Find out how mindfulness can help reduce your stress levels and improve your overall wellbeing. For further details or to book a place, please click the links below:

An Introduction To Mindfulness (6 Week Course) >
starting Glasgow Monday 19 October 2015
starting Edinburgh Friday 6 Novemeber 2015

Mindfulness For Hectic Lives  - (A Short Workshop For Busy People) >
Inverness: 17 November 2015
Aberdeen: 19 November 2015
Dundee: 1 December 2015
Borders: 8 December 2015

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Learning lessons from top sports people

Those of the less sporty among us, may have distant memories of being made to run four laps around the school sports field as a warm up before embarking on the sport for that day. It's not surprising then that these memories may have been pushed to the backs of our minds - sport isn't for us and we are glad we no longer have to do it. But wait, are we throwing the baby out with the bath water? Can we learn lessons from sport that are useful in our lives more generally, and if so what are they?

While many people struggle to manage pressure in their everyday lives and perhaps fail to achieve their goals as a result of this, elite sports people manage to achieve their goals despite the pressure. So what can we 'steal' from the way top athletes do things, to use in our own lives?

Five lessons we can 'steal' from top sports people

1. Keep motivated

If you have one specific goal to achieve, set yourself a range of related goals to keep you motivated along the way and reward yourself when you achieve each goal.

2. Follow a routine

Work out what steps you need to follow to achieve your goal. Plan a routine and follow it. Being successful takes a great deal of commitment so be prepared to work hard.

3. Believe in your ability

To succeed in something, you need to believe you are capable of doing it. Think about the way you think and whether you truly believe in what you are trying to achieve. If not, think why not and challenge your thought processes. Replace your unhelpful thoughts "I can't do this" with helpful realistic ones "I am going to find this very hard, but there is nothing suggesting I can't do it".

4. Manage your anxiety and adopt helpful behaviours

When you challenge yourself, you are likely to feel anxious and fearful. Learn to manage these feelings and you will be able to achieve more.

5. Look after yourself

Look after yourself physically and mentally to ensure you are in the best frame of mind to achieve your goals. Don't overload your schedule and plan in time to relax.

Workshop: Focus, performance and wellbeing - lessons from sport

Dr Fani Papayianni, an experienced counselling psychologist at First Psychology Glasgow will be looking at the psychological lessons that elite sports professionals use to manage pressure and find success. She is running two workshops on the subject this autumn/winter in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Book a place today and learn how you can improve your chances of success by using lessons from successful sports people!

Click here to find out more about these workshops and to BOOK A PLACE >