Saturday, January 22, 2011

Top 10 School Stress Relievers for Student

Most students experience significant amounts of stress, but with all of the activities and responsibilities that fill a student’s schedule, it’s sometimes difficult to find the time to try new stress relievers to help dissipate that stress. That’s why we’ve compiled the following list of stress relievers that are most appropriate for students: relatively easy, quick, and relevant to a student’s life and types of stress. They’ll help you to function at your best, and enjoy the journey.

1. Power Naps

Students, with their packed schedules, are notorious for missing sleep. Unfortunately, operating in a sleepdeprived state puts you at a distinct disadvantage. You’re less productive, you may find it more difficult to learn, and you may even be a hazard behind the wheel! Learn more about the effects of sleep deprivation and the value of the power nap; for busy students, it’s a must!

2. Visualizations

This one is easy, effective, and can help you to do better in school. Visualizations can help you calm down, detach from what’s stressing you, and turn off your body’s stress response. You can also use visualizations to prepare for presentations, to stress less and score higher on tests by vividly seeing yourself performing just as you’d like to. Learn more about how to use guided imagery and visualizations to reduce stress and prepare for success.

3. Exercise

One of the healthiest ways to blow off steam is to get a regular exercise program going. Students can work exercise easily into their schedules by doing yoga in the morning, walking or biking to campus, or reviewing for tests with a friend while walking on a treadmill at the gym. Starting now and keeping a regular exercise practice throughout your lifetime can help you live longer and enjoy your life more.

4. Breathing Exercise

When your body is experiencing a stress response, you’re often not thinking as clearly as you could be. A quick way to calm down is to practice breathing exercises. These can be done virtually anywhere to relieve stress in minutes, and are especially effective for reducing anxiety before or even during tests, as well as during other times when stress feels overwhelming. Learn more about how to practice breathing exercises.

5. PMR

Another great stress reliever that can be used during tests as well as before bed (to prepare for sleep), or at other times when stress has you physically ‘wound up’, is something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation, or PMR. This technique involves tensing and relaxing all muscles until the body is completely relaxed. With practice, you can learn to release stress from your body in seconds. 

6. Music 

A convenient stress reliever that has also shown many cognitive benefits, music can help you to relieve stress and either calm yourself down or stimulate your mind as your situation warrants. Students can harness the benefits of music by playing classical music while studying, playing upbeat music to ‘wake up’ mentally, or relaxing with the help of their favorite slow melodies. Learn more about why and how music is a great stress reliever, and how to use music for stress management.

7. Staying Organized

It’s a fact that clutter causes stress, and can decrease productivity and even cost you money! Many students live in a cluttered place and even have cluttered study areas, and this can have negative effects on grades. One way to reduce the amount of stress that you experience as a student is to keep a minimalist, soothing study area that’s free of distractions and clutter. It’s worth the effort!

8. Eat Right

You may not realize it, but your diet can either boost your brain power or sap you of mental energy! While a healthy diet isn’t generally thought of as a stress management technique or a study aid, it can actually function as both! Read more on the consequences of a poor diet, and learn how to relieve stress with a healthy diet. It takes virtually no extra time, and can keep you from experiencing diet-related mood swings, light-headedness and more.

9. Self Hypnosis

Students often find themselves ‘getting very sleepy’ (like when they pull all-nighters), but—all kidding aside—self hypnosis can be an effective stress management tool and a power productivity tool as well. With it, you can help yourself release tension from your body and stress from your mind, and plant the seeds of success in your subconscious mind with the power of autosuggestion. Learn how to use self hypnosis for stress management now.

10. Positive Thinking and Affirmations

Did you know that optimists actually experience better circumstances, in part, because their way of thinking helps to create better circumstances in their lives? It’s true! The habit of optimism and positive thinking can bring better health, better relationships, and, yes, better grades. Learn how to train your brain for more positive self talk and a brighter future with affirmations and other tools for optimism.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Time Management Principles

As a student, there are some basic Principles of Time Management that you can apply. 

1. Identify "Best Time" for Studying: Everyone has high and low periods of attention and concentration. Are you a "morning person" or a "night person". Use your power times to study; use the down times for routines such as laundry and errands.

2. Study Difficult Subjects First: When you are fresh, you can process information more quickly and save time as a result. 

3. Use Distributed Learning and Practice: Study in shorter time blocks with short breaks between. This keeps you from getting fatigued and "wasting time." This type of studying is efficient because while you are taking a break, the brain is still processing the information.

4. Make Sure the Surroundings are Conducive to Studying: This will allow you to reduce distractions which can "waste time." If there are times in the residence halls or your apartment when you know there will be noise and commotion, use that time for mindless tasks. 

 5. Make Room for Entertainment and Relaxation: College is more than studying. You need to have a social life, yet, you need to have a balance in your life. 

6. Make Sure you Have Time to Sleep and Eat Properly: Sleep is often an activity (or lack of activity) that students use as their time management "bank." When they need a few extra hours for studying or socializing, they withdraw a few hours of sleep. Doing this makes the time they spend studying less effective because they will need a couple hours of clock time to get an hour of productive time. This is not a good way to manage yourself in relation to time. 

7.Try to Combine Activities: Use the "Twofer" concept. If you are spending time at the laundromat, bring your psychology notes to study. If you are waiting in line for tickets to the REM concert, bring your biology flashcards to memorize. 

These are some ideas to get you started. You can read more about time management in books. You can also learn more at time management workshops. In addition, you should know that college students are not the only ones who have become more efficient workers. Get a headstart and learn how to manage yourself in respect to time NOW. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Learning from lectures

 The Purpose of Lectures 
Lectures are an opportunity to find out how one lecturer makes sense of the wealth of information and research that has been undertaken on a topic. A good lecturer will use the lecture to give you an overview of the main themes, develop your understanding of the issues, guide you on how to find out more about the subject and the reading you need to undertake. You may also gain details of relevant current issues, explanations of complex material or questions to answer that develop your own thinking and research. The aim is not usually to give you a definitive and comprehensive set of 'facts' on the subject. You are expected to supplement the lecture with reading and interpretations of your own. 
Lectures that Develop Understanding
The finer details of the subject should be available in lecture hand-outs, web-pages or in the recommended reading. This should mean that you do not have to spend the time in the lecture making detailed notes. If you have lecturers like this, your best strategy is:    
  • focus on listening to the lecture  
  • note how the different themes or issues interconnect, so you gain a good overall grasp of the subject 
  • make a brief note of key themes 
  • note any additional references 
  • read about the subject of the lecture before and after in order to pick up details 

    Information-rich Lectures

    Some lecturers will use the lecture to bombard you with information and expect you to take this in at speed. If so, most people will find it difficult to listen and take detailed notes, and it is unlikely that anybody will have a complete set of lecture notes. If you have lecturers like this, your best strategy is: 

    1. Browse through relevant text books before the lecture. This will give you an idea of what information is in the books - and which you may not need to note in the lecture. You can come back to this after the lecture.

    2. It is hard to make sense of lectures where information content is high. Reading something about the subject in advance will help to make more sense of what is said.

    3. Listen carefully for topic headings and references so that you can chase missing information after the lecture.

    4. Resist the temptation to write everything down if you can avoid this. It is very hard to catch a complete set of lecture notes.

    5. Form a group and go through the lecture notes so you can fill in gaps. Between you, you will have most of the information you need and discussing the notes will help you to understand the subject. 

    Top Tips for Learning from Lectures
    Before the lecture

    • prepare for lectures - find out what is in the books on the subject so that you are aware of what you do not need to note in the lecture
    • form an opinion about the subject of the lecture
    • set yourself questions and leave spaces to have these answered during the lecture 

    During the lecture
    • listen to 'make sense' rather than to make notes
    • listen for 'signposts' about what is coming next or for summaries of key points
    • listen for answers to questions you set in advance
      write yourself questions so you can trace answers and information after the lecture
    • make brief notes of essential points

    After the lecture
    • read your notes and fill in any gaps
    • discuss the lecture with other people
    • consider how the lecture changed or developed your opinions of the subject
    • label and file your notes   

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    25 Simple Ways to Motivate Yourself

    Feeling less than motivated all too often? I do. Well, perhaps not too often. But sometimes I just feel really lazy and unmotivated.

    Want some practical solutions to that universal motivation-problem? Here are 25 of them. Try a handful.

    1. Make a deal with yourself. Good for overcoming procrastination and getting things done. You can make the deal small or large. You simple tell yourself something like: When I’m done with this chapter/these reports I can take a walk in the park and enjoy an ice-cream.

    2. Act like it. If you don’t feel motivated or enthusiastic then act like it. The strange thing is that within a few minutes you actually start to feel motivated or enthusiastic for real.

    3. Ask uplifting questions in the morning. Here’s what you do; every morning ask yourself five empowering three-part questions this way: 

    What am I ______ about in my life right now?
    What about it makes me _______?
    How does it make me feel?

    Put in your own value in the blank space. For instance, a couple of my questions are: 

    What am I happy about in my life right now?
    What am I excited about in my life right now?

    It’s important that you really feel how it makes you feel. When I think about the last part about what makes me happy right now I really feel it. These morning questions are great because the way they are set up makes you recognize things you take for granted and then they really get you to feel those positive feelings.

    4. Move the goalposts. Set a large and specific goal. This will motivate you much more than small goals. A big goal has a big effect and can create a lot of motivation.

    5. Do something small and create a flow. Just clean your desk. Or pay your bills. Or wash the dishes. You just need to get started. When you have finished that small task you’ll feel more alert and ready to go do the next thing. You just to get started to get motivated. So if you really don’t feel like doing anything, start with something small and work your way out up.

    6. Do the toughest task first. This will ease a lot of your day-to-day worries and boost your self-confidence for the rest of the day.

    7. Start slow. Instead of jumping into something at full speed start slow. When you do that your mind will not visualize the task as something hard that you have to do fast, fast, fast. If your mind sees such things guess what often happens? Yep, you don’t get started. Actually getting started, even if it’s at a slow pace, is a whole lot better than not getting started at all.

    8. Compare yourself with yourself. Not with others. Comparing what you have and your results to what other people have and have accomplished can really kill your motivation. There are always people ahead of you. Most likely quite a bit of people. And a few of them are miles ahead. So focus on you. On your results. And how you can and have improved them. 

    Reviewing your results is important so you see where you have gone wrong in the past to avoid similar missteps further on. But it’s also important because it’s a great motivator to see how much you have improved and how far you have come. Often you can be pleasantly surprised when you do such a review.

    9. Remember your successes. And let them flow through your mind instead of your failures. Write down your successes. Consider using a journal of some kind since it’s easy to forget your successes.

    10. Act like your heroes. Read about them, watch them, listen to them. Discover what they did that was special and what made them tick. But remember that they are people just like us. So let them inspire you instead of looking up at them admiringly.

    11. Remember to have fun. Or create fun in a task. Then you’ll stay motivated to do and finish it.

    12. Get out of your comfort zone. Face your challenges to get a real boost of motivation.

    13. Don’t fear failure. Instead redefine it as feedback and as a natural part of a successful life. As Michael Jordan said: 

    I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
    Also, try to find the valuable lesson(s) in each of your failures. Ask yourself: What can I learn from this?

    14. Do some research on what you are about to do. Then your expectations will be more grounded in reality and you can also get good hints on what difficulties that you might run into along the way. Managing your expectations can lower the often almost explosive initial enthusiasm. But it can also lessen the lack of motivation that usually follows when most of that enthusiasm has dissipated. 

    When you know what has happened to others in similar situations – what path they have walked – you can adapt and try their solutions (and personal variations of those) and your own. This makes the worries and challenges easier to handle. Both emotionally – since you know at least some of the things that will happen and that others have lived through it before – and practically.

    15. Figure out why you are doing something. If you don’t know or don’t have good enough reason to do something then it will be hard to get it done. Do things that you have really strong reasons to do. If you want to do something then figure out a good reason to do it. If you can’t find one consider dropping it and doing something that you have a good reason to do instead.

    16. Write down your goals and reasons for working towards them. Tape them on your wall, computer or bathroom mirror. Then you’ll be reminded throughout the day and it becomes easier to stay on track and stay focused.

    17. Take The Positivity Challenge! Learn to think more positively most of the time. Learn to let to go of negative threads of thought before they have a chance to take hold of you. You might not be able to be positive all the time no matter what happens. But I think most of us can improve on our positive thinking and the results it can lead us to. Perhaps more than you realize right now.

    18. Cut down on TV. Do you watch it too much? Watch less of what they are doing in TV-land and do more of what you want to do in life.

    19. Break it down. Break down your task or project into small steps. And just start with focusing on that first small step. When you are done move on to the next and just focus on that one. The small successes will keep your motivation up and keeping your focus away from the big picture stops you from becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you follow this simple method.

    20. Reprogram your information intake. Program out negative and cynical thoughts from the media and society. Reduce your information intake. Then program in positive news and entertainment, more of your own thoughts and useful information such as personal growth tapes and books. Be selective and keep it positive.

    21. Make use of your creativity. Take out a piece of paper. Write at the top of the page what area in your life you would like to have more ideas about. Perhaps you want ideas to earn more money or become a healthier person. Then brainstorm until you have written down 20 ideas on that topic. Then try for 10 more. Not all ideas will be good. But some will. And as you make use of your creativity you not only discover useful ideas. You also discover just how creative you can be if you try and how motivating and great that feels.

    22. Find out what makes you happy. Then do that. As much as you want or can.

    23. Listen while you’re on the move. Build your own small library of motivational/personal development tapes. Listen to them while you are driving, riding the bus or your bike, while you are out running or walking. Take a peek at my recommended personal development products if you are looking for a good place to start.

    24. Think outside your box. Don’t imagine the future from the box of what you have now. Just because your mind is in box of previous experiences doesn’t mean that  are the limits of the world. Your possibilities are much larger. Create the future from the now and from nothing rather than your past to experience bigger changes with fewer limitations than you would if you created it from what you can see from your box.

    25. Make each day count. We don’t have all the time in the world. So focus on today and do the things you really want to do.