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This guide provides information on improving your resilience: the ability to adapt to, recover from, and cope with stress, anxiety and adversity.
Building a resilient disposition helps you to maintain a healthy level of psychological and physical wellbeing, particularly when faced with the challenges and struggles that may come from balancing your university and personal commitments. Stress management provides techniques and strategies for combating and controlling stress, which students may experience with symptoms such as low energy, headaches, aches/pains/tension, and insomnia during their degrees.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness is the practice of self-awareness and being in the moment, experiencing thoughts, feelings, body sensations and perceptions through a lens of openness and acceptance in order to be more in tune with ourselves. By observing our experiences through a mindful lens, this can help to develop better understanding and insight.
- Take a moment each day to notice your breathing, the rising and lowering of your lungs. Breathe deeply.
- As you do your everyday things, tune into your senses, take note of what you are doing.
- As you walk to different places, tune into how you're moving, the sensation of your feet touching the pavement or your weight shifting from each side. Focus more on how you are walking and how you are embodying this moment, than focusing on the future location.
- Take time to simply be. It's easy to always be busy, to fill your time continuously, but take a moment to just be.
- When your mind starts to feel overwhelmed, for example with thinking about the work you still have to do, bring your focus back to your breathing.
- Thoughts can be powerful, anxiety-ridden and overwhelming at times, try to take that power away by remembering that thoughts are just thoughts, they do not have to be believed or reacted to.
- It is sometimes difficult not to judge, try listening without judging.
- Do you sometimes zone out of conversations? Or when you should be concentrating on something? Try to start recognising when this happens in order to get better at practising self-awareness.
University of Westminster Mindfulness and Meditation: Here students can learn different concepts and skills in tolerance, empathy, resilience, and meditation. Students can find information on free weekly meditation workshops where they can learn breathing techniques and exercises to reduce stress.
Westminster Centre for Resilience - Here students can find high quality, evidence based human resilience training, consultancy and evaluation services, which promote and improve individual and organisational wellbeing, productivity, performance and creativity.
Stress Management and Counselling Services
Reducing Stress Tips:
- Regular exercise - even just for 30mins 3-5 times a week helps to reduce tension and relax your body and mind.
- Relax your muscles - stress causing tension, so try stretching or loosening up with a massage, or bath, or even a good night's sleep.
- Deep breathing exercises - take a moment to just stop and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes and breathe in fully and deeply, in and out, for 5-10minutes.
- Healthy Eating - eating a regular and well-balanced diet can help reduce stress. This also includes listening to your body, are you craving anything in particular? Sometimes when you're craving something, it's your bodies way of telling you it's needing more of something. What you eat can help control your moods and in turn help with stress - so no skipping meals!
- Take breaks - make time for yourself to relax. Life is busy and it sometimes seems like things never stop, but be good to yourself, take time out each day to just give yourself a break.
- Make time for the things you love - it's easy to feel like you're constantly working, but make time for the things you're passionate about too, the hobbies and interests you have outside of work.
- Talk to someone when you're struggling - it's tricky to ask for help sometimes, but talking to friends, family or a counsellor can often help relieve some of the pressure and make you feel less alone in the situation, which in turn reduces the stress.
- Give yourself a break - go easy on yourself. Sometimes we need to accept that we can't do everything all at once, or that we can only do our best. Don't be so hard on yourself.
- Eliminate Triggers - what causes you the most stress in your life? By figuring out what these triggers may be, it is then easier to put in place strategies and techniques to help reduce these stressors in future.
Counseling Services - Here students may book one-to-one appointments, group sessions, email and Skype counselling sessions with a professionally trained counsellor who will be happy to talk to you about anything that may be causing you difficulties, such as an inability to study, poor concentration, depression, relationship problems, anxiety, and stress. Whilst it might be difficult to ask for help at times, the counsellors are friendly, approachable, and there to help and all sessions remain confidential.