Coping with Stress

Coping with stress as a student

A big stress factor, especially for students, is the fear of rejection or the fear of not fitting in. This inability for coping with stress comes from a negative self-image and self-rejection. We project our fears and beliefs about ourselves onto some outside “movie”. 

How you judge yourself, is how you expect others to judge you. You change your fear of rejection, by improving your self-image.  Just accept who you are and say empowering words to yourself like “I am a loveable person and other people like me”, or whatever it that makes you feel good about yourself.

Visualise a positive and exciting picture

When coping with stress, try to visualise a positive and exciting picture about connecting with new people. That will create positive emotions, instead of stress and anxiety, when it comes to interacting with the new group. 

Trying even harder to fit in, doesn’t work! Because the opposite of fitting in, is belonging and that’s what you are actually after. To belong and connect is the underlying feeling, that makes you try to fit.

Belong to yourself first

If you want connection, you first have to belong to yourself, by being true to yourself. Stop trying to fit in, show yourself, speak your through and just be who you are.

When you are yourself, other people will show themselves too and that’s when real connection is happening. This will help with coping with stress as a student.

How to Empower Yourself

The key to Empower Yourself is Self- awareness

Self-confidence and trusting yourself is key for self-empowerment. Through self-awareness you become self-confident and capable to honestly trust yourself.

The essence is Self-responsibility

Take full and complete control and accountability for your own life and circumstances. Make your own choices and decisions. Live to your own values. Set your own boundaries.

What we need to do, is take a break and stop when it’s too much. Free yourself from the anxiety of living up to the expectations of others. Live your own truth. Experience the joy of being yourself.

It’s also very important and empowering, to ask for help when you need it. Because this is what helps empower you and reach your goals.

Create a Self- empowering and positive mindset

Take control of your life. Let go of the victim mentality and see yourself as the creator of your own life.

That includes letting go of the past and your internal story. Self- empowerment and a positive mindset can only come through self-acceptance and a positive self-image.

In conclusion, you can create a positive and successful story in your own mind and let your subconscious manifest it on the outside. Switch from “I can’t to I can”, stay open for new possibilities and take action.

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How to improve your self image

Being by yourself can be a challenge, if you don’t like who you are. 

If your having a hard time with yourself, it’s time to improve your self image.

Here is how you can do it!

  • Stop criticizing yourself. Self-criticism causes resentment, negative emotions and makes you feel bad. Instead, think about what you could do or change to make yourself a better time. Then you change your self- criticism into self-motivation. 
  • Focus on the positive things about yourself. Your thoughts create your emotions, so what you think is what you feel. 
  • Forgive yourself – thinking about all the negative things you have or haven’t done doesn’t help you and just makes you feel bad. The past is over and you can’t change it, so don’t worry about it. 
  • Stop judging yourself all the time and focus on what’s really important.
  • Treat yourself good, be kind to yourself and make yourself a good time, because the way you treat yourself, is the way you feel. 

And to be honest – don’t take yourself too serious. 

What Exactly Is Mindfulness? It’s NOT What You Think.

Mindfulness may have become mainstream but it is often misunderstood.

Posted in Psychology Today, Jan 19, 2018

By: Danny Penman Ph.D.

In 2010, when Mark and I were coming up with the title for our book, Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic Worldwe were met with blank incomprehension. Almost everyone would say: ‘Mindfulness? What the hell is that? You can’t call a book mindfulness, nobody knows what it is…Nobody will read it.’

The world has moved on a little since then, mindfulness has become mainstream, and our book has sold over a million copies. But the concept often remains equally misunderstood. Many people feel that they haven’t quite grasped the idea because it seems so deceptively simple (this might be because the concept itself is easy to understand but the actual state of mind is difficult to cultivate for more than a few seconds at a time).

Mindfulness is, quite simply, full conscious awareness. It is paying full conscious attention to whatever thoughts, feelings and emotions are flowing through your mind, body and breath without judging or criticising them in any way. It is being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment without being trapped in the past or worrying about the future. It is living in the moment not for the moment.

Mindfulness can also be understood by what it is not. It is not a religion. Nor is it inherently mystical or spiritual. Prominent atheists, such as Sam Harris, are quite happy to meditate because of the clarity of mind it engenders. It is simply a tool for reconnecting with life, for embracing the ebb and flow of the world, and for coming to a greater understanding and acceptance of life’s eternal flux. Although people through the ages have used meditationfor spiritual purposes, the main thrust of my work is to help people gain relief from anxiety, stressdepression, exhaustion and physical pain. It is said that ‘all life is suffering’ but I think that is far too bleak. All life can be suffering, if you allow it to be, but it certainly need not be this way. Life can be broadly happy and meaningful but only if you first get out of your own way and allow it to naturally unfold before your feet.

Another misconception is that mindfulness is in some way ‘opting out’ or detaching yourself from the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually about connecting and embracing life with all of its chaotic beauty, with all of your faults and failings. Many people also mistakenly believe that the aim of mindfulness is to intentionally clear the mind of thoughts. Rather, it is about understanding how the mind works. To see how it unwittingly ties itself in knots to create anxiety, stress, unhappiness and exhaustion. It teaches you to observe how your thoughts, feelings, and emotions rise and fall like waves on the sea. And in the calm spaces in between, lie moments of piercing insight.

Although meditation is extremely powerful, it is not the only way of becoming more mindful. Every aspect of life can be used to enhance mindfulness. Every one of your senses can become gateways to this delightful state of being. Eating and drinking, and even such simple things as walking through a park and smelling the flowers, can all become mindfulness practices. The work of Dr. Ellen Langer at Harvard University is instructive. She has dedicated her life to finding novel ways of enhancing mindfulness and has rediscovered what many accomplished meditators have said for centuries: the key to mindfulness is to actively engage with life. There’s one little problem though: ‘mindlessness’ is all pervasive. We are all naturally mindless. If we are left with ourselves for more than a few moments, we can easily lapse into mindlessness. And we are generally not aware when we lapse into such a state. So we are unaware that we are unaware. We live on autopilot. Fortunately, there is a simple antidote: pay full conscious attention to whatever you are doing. Paying attention is the key to becoming present, to becoming grounded in the present moment, neither living in the past nor worrying about the future, but simply living life as it was meant to be lived. And when you once again begin paying attention, you kick-start profound changes that ripple across your whole life. You begin to see the world with all of the excitement, freshness, and joy that you did as a child. Anxiety, stress, unhappiness, and exhaustion simply melt away in the face of such awareness.

Although meditation is profoundly important, it is but one way of cultivating mindfulness.

In many ways, the real meditation is your life.

Try these simple practices:

  • The next time you catch sight of your partner or a close friend, notice five new things about them. Pay attention to the way they move, their facial expressions, and the way their voice rises and falls, with its pitch and timbre. Can you sense their aroma? And their hair? Is it the same as you expected? Do they look tired or energized? Are they wearing their normal clothes? Pay attention to what they are wearing and the way the clothes follow or hide their contours. Try not to judge them in any way but instead accept them for who they are. The aim is not to judge but to observe. You find what you find. Do they become newly alive to you?
  • When eating or drinking, pay attention to all of its textures, flavors and aromas. Tease them apart and focus on each one in turn. Then pay attention to the flavor, aroma and texture of the food in its entirety. Tea and coffee contain many different flavors and chocolate has over 300. See if you can sense some of them, and then see how they combine to produce the overall flavor of ‘tea’, ‘coffee’ or ‘chocolate’.
  • The next time you are in a queue (or line) notice how your body reacts. Does it take on a mind of its own? Do your arms and legs want to move of their own accord? Are the impulses surprisingly powerful? Do you feel compelled to walk to the front? Is your mind swirling with annoyance or impatient thoughts? Pay attention to all of the different sensations in your body, the ground beneath your feet, the way your chest rises and falls with each breath. Close your eyes if that helps. After a while, begin to pay attention to the world around you. What can you see? Do the people around you look angry, stressed, unhappy or perhaps serene? Pay attention to their faces and to their body language. After a while, begin to broaden your awareness to encompass the whole scene. What can you see? Pay attention. What can you hear? Chattering, the sound of machinery or a keyboard being tapped? Pay attention to the whole soundscape. What can you smell? What can you feel? Can you gain a sense of the air flowing over your skin or hair? Breathe. Pay attention to whatever surrounds you.

By: Danny Penman Ph.D.

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