How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-miller

 

How to cope with the stress of student life

christine-millerDear Christine,

My daughter has revised hard and is expected to achieve excellent A-level grades. But over the past few weeks she has become increasingly worried and anxious about going away to university and what may be expected of her. This is a time when she should be looking forward to her future but instead she is locking herself in her room and becoming very depressed. What can I do?

I’m assuming this depression is an isolated condition for your daughter, not an ongoing problem. As a young adult, about to begin life away from home, your daughter will have natural anxieties about leaving and becoming independent.

You say she “should” be looking forward to her future; however, this is a time of great change and uncertainty, and her anxiety is probably based on her holding unrealistic expectations of herself, coupled with high expectations she feels others have of her. Acknowledging and encouraging her to explore these feelings often allows them to evaporate.

Humour, patience and open communications are vital. Since she is focusing on the possible downside of going to university, help her begin anticipating positively, perhaps planning trips to buy new clothes/equipment, and gently reminding her that, initially, universities expect freshers to be nervous and uncertain.

This is a major life transition, and even outwardly confident students will have underlying concerns including:

“Will anyone like me?”

 “Will I be able to cope with the work/finances/social life?”

Essentially, everyone is in the same boat, and once your daughter realises she is not alone in her fears, they will rapidly diminish. Reassure her that you will still be there for support, if wanted, and that emails, texts and phone calls will keep her in touch with friends and family.

Talking to students already settled at university, together with some online research would also help. Listed below are resources.

http://www.thesite.org/workandstudy/studying/studentlife/studentstress

http://www.mind.org.uk/help/diagnoses_and_conditions/stress_of_student_life

http://www.studentdepression.org/stress_anxiety_and_anger.php

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/Coping-with-exam-stress.aspx

© Christine Miller M.A. Author, Mentor Coach & Counsellor

An Audience with HH the Dalai Lama

dalai2

An Audience with HH the Dalai Lama

dalai2His Holiness The Dalai Lama -
The Embodiment of Compassion

I was fortunate and honoured to be part of the Press group with the Dalai Lama when he visited the UK in 2008, there’s a full conversation with him on the Your Ultimate Resource site, this is a summary of his message.

Listening to the Dalai Lama sharing His experiences and thoughts, one of the aspects which most impressed me was the amount of laughter – both from himself and from His audience.There is warm heartedness, humility and a lightness of spirit which is very apparent in His way of speaking, and His words are aimed directly at the hearts of His listeners. His message of compassion and loving kindness is based on common sense and practical living, and he is clear in asserting His belief that:

“The purpose of life is for happiness, to survive happily”

 

One of His central teachings about the development of compassion is based on the importance of childhood influences, particularly the effects of parenting. He reflects on His own childhood, and says he believes that mothers are the starting point of loving kindness. He describes His own mother’s simplicity, an uneducated village woman from a farming background, and immensely warm hearted. Contrasting her love and gentleness with the more disciplinarian approach of His father, he concludes that had he spent more time in His early years with His father he would probably not have been the same person.

“I believe that my altruistic mind and my compassion – the very seeds of that mind I got from my birth and the next few months and years with my mother – that was the real starting point to raise my model of loving kindness.”

He goes on to say to parents:

“What I say is this – give maximum affection to your children.
That is very essential to bring us a happier humanity.
The main hope for humanity relies on our future generations.
So families with children have a special role –
to give maximum affection to your children.
And parents – particularly mothers – spend more time with your children.”


Read More Here (Registration required)
© Christine Miller All Rights Reserved

How to have better relationships with your teenagers

friends

 

Resourceful Little Treasures

© Christine Miller

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest and concern in relation to children’s emotional and mental health. Media stories about bullying in schools, excluded children, disaffected youths creating mayhem in their communities, concerns about child pornography and the safety of the internet – all have been presented in the nation’s living rooms, and whether we judge the publicity good or bad, it is now important to recognise that the well being of our children is of widespread interest and concern. Some years ago, a government report, “Promoting Children’s Mental Health within Early Years and School Settings” (DfES[i]: 2001) stated that “the mental health of children is everyone’s business”, and that adult society as a whole needed to recognise the importance of children’s mental health and emotional literacy.

Self-esteem

Sense of identity

Strong family relationships

Good communications with teachers and peer groups

The above are widely acknowledged as key elements in children who are resilient, and the risk factors for mental ill-health increase with every element missing from the list of desirable conditions.

[Read more...]

More to think about…

…following on from yesterday’s post ‘Something to Think About’, which led to a comment from a Jackie Evancho fanpage – Wow! this girl is an amazing talent – and such a beautiful surprise – as she says elsewhere, great things come in small packages. Her passion for singing radiates, and her obvious delight in performing and having the oppportunity to enjoy what she loves really shines through.

It may be old hat for some people, but it’s the first time I have encountered her, and I just love what I see and hear, and the feeling she inspires.

How many would notice her, and stop in the Metro station to listen to her, I wonder? (Her actual performance starts at around 2.0)

Something To Think About . .

Joshua Bell

A colleague sent me this today, which made me think about what we miss by rushing through life without pausing, noticing and appreciating things that in other circumstances and environments we would love and value.

THE SITUATION

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.


About 4 minutes later:


The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.


At 6 minutes:


A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.


At 10 minutes:

A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.


At 45 minutes:


The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:

He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theatre in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

Joshua Bell

Joshua Bell


This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.


This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?


One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . .How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Brought me back to thinking about something I wrote last year – see here: Do You Value What’s Right Under Your Nose?

Five Tips for Living in Peace with Your Teens

teenage expression

How to be a calm, sane parent and
help your teenagers grow resilient

teenage expression

teenage expression


  1. Listen - very carefully. Difficult and scary as it may be, try to give your teens a place where they can express their thoughts and needs. Their world is different; be eager to understand and be curious about it and don’t condemn, judge or assume. If you want to make a comment, use their own words back to them – e.g. ‘So let me check I’m understanding you, what you’re saying is….’ (that’s why it’s listen very carefully…) They won’t argue with their own stuff…well, not too often anyway.
  2. Set firm but realistic boundaries – it’s better for everyone. It shows you care. Rules can be good news – it gives your teens a very valuable let-out when peer pressure is being applied. If they can assert with total confidence that something’s not allowed, it bolsters their strength to resist temptations to reckless behaviour.
  3. Give them space, respect, responsibility, and the benefit of the doubt. Then shut up. Really. Knowing when to bite your tongue is a key part of this. Once you’ve negotiated what’s acceptable, don’t be peering over their shoulders or prying. Trust their judgement. It’s like paying out a rope or casting a fishing line – do it bit by bit, and you can always renegotiate and reel in a little if your teen seems to demonstrate there’s too much slack.
  4. Accept there may be mistakes. Nobody’s perfect. If your mum (or dad) had known all you got up to as a teenager…would she/he have approved? Hmmm, thought not….So don’t blame, don’t make comparisons with friends or siblings, be supportive, let your teen know their unique value and that you do and always will love them. Even if it’s tough love – and especially if their behaviour is currently causing you concern or creating waves in the family. Make it a learning experience for both of you – try to see the gift in whatever’s happened, painful as it may seem in the moment.
  5. Know your place. Teens can tend to think they’ve discovered everything for the first time ever – and that as an adult and their parent you really know – nothing. Get over it. Give it a few years. Keep a wry smile handy in your repertoire. Remember the old quote from one of the ancient Greek Philosophers -

“When I was 18 my father was completely ignorant, but by the time I was 25,
it was amazing how much he’d learnt.”
Too True!


BONUS TIP 6:

Laugh. Find some common ground in humour, satire, irony – maybe through a TV programme or film. It may make you throw your hands up in horror, but ‘The Simpsons’ has some prize moments of sheer comic dis-functionality in which most of us can see a little something of ourselves, if we’re really honest. After all it’s been around for 20 years and now has its own stamp collection…..

happy, confident teens

happy, confident teens

But dads (and mums) be warned – telling bad ‘dad jokes‘ (and it seems that all dad jokes are bad jokes, even if they’re good…..) creates embarrassed looks, groans of ‘Ohhh Daaad’, rolling eyes and shrugged shoulders – you have to decide if you want to experience that. On the other hand, if you don’t do generic ‘dad jokes’, maybe your teen will miss out on being able to share horror stories with their mates…..And sharing the experience is part of growing up.

As parents, that’s what we’re there for – silent witness, loud supporter, soft shoulder or sharp wit – you’ll need all of that and more along the way. Is it worth it?  Completely - it’s one of life’s richest treasures.

For more resources and articles on personal growth and development, leadership,  education, creativity and change visit www.resourcemagazine.co.uk