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Daily Archives: April 20, 2016

– Dealing with Uni work: emotional struggle and stress –

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I am currently faced with a challenge to write my Master Thesis project in 2 months. To be honest I have been doing pretty good. Of course, a little bit off the schedule, but still… I have already a few parts of my thesis sorted. However, to do it, it cost me literally, random freak outs, early morning jumps out of bed, because of the heart racing like crazy, and that constant guilt of laying in bed a minute longer or doing something else pleasurable when I should be writing the thesis… In a way I am thinking it is not worth to feel like this over some paper. But it would be kind of unreasonable to stumble upon the last obstacle.

The hardest thing in this is the fight against yourself. I really feel the lack of motivation, a kind of disappointment of how insignificant this thesis will be – no one will care about it later, not even me. But still, I feel responsible to hand it in on time, and not to be embarrassed to look someone in the eye over the quality of it. And there are always tons of these back and forth arguments in my head, trying to convince me to do it or not to do it. And I have been trying to somehow silence them. Here are a few things that worked for me to deal better with all the stressful uni work during my years of studies:

  1. Have a ‘mind dump’ notebook. When you have any thoughts about the task just write them down at any time, to clear your mind or continue the train of thought. It does not matter if you are already in bed. Get up and write your thoughts down, otherwise you will end up thinking about it during the time you should be sleeping. And in addition to that, I bet you that in the morning when you will want to use that brilliant thought of yours, it will be long gone leaving you with nothing but the frustration of forgetting.
  2. Make a schedule of actions. And I mean not deadlines or tasks, but actual realistic actions you can do to reach that goal (and finish the Master task) that stresses you out. I mean like: read two articles about…; finish up the reference list; write the methodology sub-section, make a plan for analysis. Don’t be too ambitious, when you won’t be able to fulfill it, you will feel disappointed in yourself. We don’t want that.
  3. Think of a rewards system. It can be little things like sweets, games, YouTube videos, an episode of TV series when you meet some deadlines, or complete some of the scheduled actions. Also, think of a big reward after the Master task is complete, that you would look forward to. E.g. buying something luxurious for yourself or get tickets for a trip somewhere.
  4. Destressing tea e.g. chamomile, or homeopathic valerian herb tablets. It really helps when you need to get rid of this stone on your heart, shake in your hands, rush of the heart at random and that feeling as if you are going on stage in front of lots of people.
  5. Let it out. Find someone who will listen. Talk, say what is bothering you, how stressed you feel and why. It is fine to cry, it is fine to sleep a lot, feel apathy to everything. Do it! But don’t trap yourself inside too much, you need to make some time for socializing and going outside too.
  6. Go outside at least for a little bit. Especially if it is sunny. Even if you don’t feel like it, it will pick your mood up. You can choose if you want some company or not.
  7. Try to be surrounded only by supportive people. This is very important. You don’t need anyone who is bringing you down, you are too vulnerable for that right now. You are already fighting a hard fight of discouragement and lack of motivation – yourself.
  8. Try some physical activity. Physical activity activates your happiness hormones (dopamine), which makes you feel better.
  9. Meditation. I know, most of the people are instantly skeptical when they hear the word meditation. Try reading about Vipassana. It is a kind of meditation of just observing ‘what is’ starting with your own body and breathing. Just close your eyes observe your mind and your breathing without changing something on purpose. It will seem difficult at first. That is when you will understand how little control you have of your own mind. However, it really helps to let yourself feel the emotions that you are dreading to feel and at least for that moment to order them away. It gives you time to relax and recover from the constant stress you are feeling (in my case, stress follows me around even when I am sleeping). You will not believe how freeing it is. Even if you are not in a deep state of meditation, it gives you and opportunity to feel how it is to have at least that one moment of mindful mind. If you are new to meditation it might be quite hard to reach the awareness of your mind and thoughts. There is a tool to help you. BiNaural beats is kind of a music (or sound waves) that treats your mind, helps it relax and unwind. You can find many different ones on Youtube. Here are some examples:

Just try to listen to them (don’t look at the videos) and you will feel how easy with them it is to relax your mind. Don’t over do it, or if it bothers you don’t listen at all.

Do all of the treatments, only one of them, or combinations that work for you. The most important thing is to stay positive! You have to admit, that it does not matter how bad you feel right now, deep in your heart you believe you can do it and that you can succeed! Which is the ultimate truth you should keep hanging on to! I hope this helps you to release at least a little bit of your stress and anxiety. Share your story of dealing with stress at work, uni or other places.

Lets keep going!

Stress less!

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