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Say "goodbye" to academic stress!

A short presentation aimed at students on how to reduce academic stress

Dave Wilson

on 28 January 2016

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Transcript of Say "goodbye" to academic stress!

And although some amounts of stress can be a good thing, too much can lead to poor performance! So what is the answer?
What is worry and anxiety?
Anxiety affects , our thoughts/cognitions, our body and our behaviours! But it affects you in different ways depending on what is causing your anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety in you, may well be different for others
Over-generalising or labelling
Selective Attention
Tension in head and neck
Feeling dizzy
Heart racing
Over or under eating
Avoidance and/or procrastination
Overworking or underworking
Being difficult to live with
Food to avoid!!!
Try to avoid the following:
Drinks with caffeine such as coffee, tea and certain soft drinks
Avoid alcohol (you might think it helps, but it doesn't!)
Food or drink high in sugar (wrong kind of carbohydrate)
Highly processed foods that are quick to make, might seem like they save you time, but they are unlikely to sustain you as they do not have the right amount of complex carbohydrates
Try to increase the following food types:
Fresh fruit and vegetables (cheap from markets, and you can make great stir-fry or curry very easily)
Drink natural fruit juices or still water
Try to eat foods natural in complex carbohydrates that way you won't need to snack as often which takes up valuable time
What other ways can you tackle anxiety?
What You Eat Can Genuinely Make A Difference
You don't have to be super-fit or do super-strenuous exercise to get the physical and mental benefits
It's recommended that adults should
do around 5x30 minute of moderate exercise per week.
Most council tourist information centres
will have healthy walk routes around
parks, rivers, canals etc.
The University has sports centres with cheap exercise classes, and also the SU has some sports and leisure societies to join. Many of the SU has an allotment on or near to most of the campuses that you can work on and help grow yummy fresh food!
You can also hire bicycles from the University as a cheap form of transport, that will also get you fit and healthy.
Try something with a friend if you feel shy, nervous etc about doing it yourself!
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can also boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.
When we are in a state of anxiety,
our sleep can be adversely affected.

Academic work can be stressful
The University Psychological Wellbeing Service:
Is free and Confidential and we can help with all kinds of emotional states - low mood, anxiety, worry, etc. plus lots of other concerns you may have

We all need regular sleep!
It's easy when you are a student to over sleep or under sleep!
Yummy! Nom! Nom!
If you have a smart phone with
a QR Code Reader, have it on standby!
1) Get regular. One of the best ways to train your body to sleep well is to go to bed and get up at more or less the same time every day, even on weekends and days off! This regular rhythm will make you feel better and will give your body something to work from.
2) Sleep when sleepy. Only try to sleep when you actually feel tired or sleepy, rather than spending too much time awake in bed.
3) Get up & try again. If you haven’t been able to get to sleep after about 20 minutes or more, get up and do something calming or boring until you feel sleepy, then return to bed and try again. Sit quietly on the couch with the lights off (bright light will tell your brain that it is time to wake up), or read something boring like the phone book. Avoid doing anything that is too stimulating or interesting, as this will wake you up even more.
4) Avoid caffeine & nicotine and alcohol. It is best to avoid consuming any caffeine (in coffee, tea, cola drinks, chocolate, and some medications) or nicotine (cigarettes) for at least 4-6 hours before going to bed. These substances act as stimulants and interfere with the ability to fall asleep
5) Bed is for sleeping. Try not to use your bed for anything other than sleeping and sex, so that your body comes to associate bed with sleep. If you use bed as a place to watch TV, eat, read, work on your laptop, pay bills, and other things, your body will not learn this connection.
6) No naps. It is best to avoid taking naps during the day, to make sure that you are tired at bedtime. If you can’t make it through the day without a nap, make sure it is for less than an hour and before 3pm.
7) Sleep rituals. Remind your body that it is time to sleep - some people find it useful to do relaxing stretches or breathing exercises for 15 minutes before bed each night.
8) Bath time. Having a warm bath an hour before bedtime can be useful, as it will raise your body temperature, causing you to feel sleepy as your body temperature drops again. Research shows that sleepiness is associated with a drop in body temperature.
9) Avoid clock-watching. Frequently checking the clock during the night can wake you up (especially if you turn on the light to read the time) and reinforces negative thoughts such as
“Oh no, look how late it is, I’ll never get to sleep”
“I’ve only slept for 5 hours.”
10) Keep daytime routine the same. Even if you have a bad night sleep and are tired it is important that you try to keep your daytime activities the same as you had planned. That is, don’t avoid activities because you feel *tired. This can reinforce the insomnia.

*Obviously, health and safety needs to be taken into consideration!
Catastrophising: making out things to be worse than they really are, and therefore often try to avoid them e.g. telling yourself that negative past, present and future events are worse than they really are. Or, failing to consider the positive outcomes as possibilities. "I failed an exam, I will never qualify as a teacher, I might as well jack it all in!"
Perfectionism: All or Nothing thinking: Failure to compromise. "I
be perfect at all the time, or else I am a failure!"
Over generalising or labelling: A single event falsely becomes generalised to a larger pattern. "I failed my last essay... I am never going to pass my future essays." Labelling yourself as a failure, useless or lazy.
False-permanence: Thinking things are more permanent than they really are. Not forgiving self for mistakes – "I’ll never live this down." Failing to remember that negative situations will let up or ever get better.
Selective Attention or Mental Filter: Minimising positives and focusing instead on perceived negatives. “The ‘first’ on that essay means nothing. That particular lecturer always marks high.” “I handled that situation dreadfully. It was an utter disaster.”
There are several lifestyle changes you can make to help with anxiety!
One of the many techniques is to challenge unhelpful thinking styles by looking for evidence
the thought you have about yourself!
How can you challenge the negative thoughts?
There is a therapy called
"Cognitive Behavioural Therapy"
that can help change thoughts and behaviours using evidence based techniques
Thinking about the "Perfectionism" aka "All or Nothing" as an example. A typical thing you might hear a perfectionist say is, "Nothing is working for me" Let's think about the evidence for and against that statement!
Some common distorted, irrational and pessimistic thinking patterns include:
Examples of evidence for and against, might be that the person saying,
"nothing works out for me"
, has had a bad day.
They got a 2:1 for an essay, having been on track for a 1st Degree since the first year and they are now midway through the second year. And that is where the evidence contradicts the "nothing works out for me". They have submitted 8 assignments since the start of the course, with an average mark of 76%
With that lack of evidence, if it was a court of law, the case would be thrown out!
Did you have breakfast this morning? If so, what did it consist of?
If anxiety attacks you in the exam and you can’t fight it off easily, practice the following in advance
and use it in the exam:
1. Stop.
2. Feel both feet firmly on the ground.
3. Close your eyes if you like.
4. Relax shoulders and arms, jaw and cheeks.
5. Count a few deep breaths out.
6. Calm for one minute.
7. Think of your name, write it down and then slowly return to the task.
Your thinking will come when you make friends with the task. Remember that leaving the exam
room is pointless. It’s just a feeling of wanting to take flight, which will pass. After the exam there is no need for post mortems, go for a meal out and have fun!
On the day before each exam, check the venue, know exactly where it is, pack your bag with all the bits and bobs that you’ll need including your Student ID card, home keys, pens,
calculator, money, food, water and anything else you might need.
It’s worth putting in the effort to being prepared. Arrive early and spend
time away from others - And then Good Luck.
Anxiety is an evolutionary response! You may have heard of "fight or flight"! It is a response to threat
Don't over analyse the exam 'post-mortem'. It doesn't matter what you wrote for Question 4(c). It's too late to go back and change your answers, so it will just make you worry even more and it will get you in to a negative pattern for future exams.
What is headspace?
It's an app to demystify

Let's look at how it might affect us in relation to academic stress
Full transcript