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Grad School is My Life! Really?! How to find balance, meaning and enjoyment in graduate school.

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Presentation on theme: "Grad School is My Life! Really?! How to find balance, meaning and enjoyment in graduate school."— Presentation transcript:

1 Grad School is My Life! Really?! How to find balance, meaning and enjoyment in graduate school.

2 Workshop Objectives  Explore myths/misconceptions of grad students  Explore values and goal setting  Explore mindful meditation and relaxation

3 Father Brother Friend Son Partner Co-worker Psychologist Grad Student

4 Graduate Student Myths  I must perform well in everything to be successful  I must do everything my advisor asks of me.  I’m the only one who seems so stressed.

5 Myth Busters  I must perform well in everything to be successful Make Peace With Imperfection – Decide where you want to place your maximum effort and where you can do enough effort to be just good enough.

6 Myth Busters I must do everything my advisor asks of me. Set boundaries that are not to rigid and not too loose. “I would really like to help with your research AND I’m just too involved with my ongoing research right now – maybe we can connect on a future research project.” Being Assertive – paying attention to your rights and choices while respecting others’ rights and choices

7 Myth Busters  I’m the only one who seems so stressed. Focus on your goals. Comparisons with others who may have access to different or more resources is rarely helpful. Remember why you chose grad. school.

8 Focusing on your Values  Values define not only what you want to pursue from day to day but what you want your life to be about.  Values are chosen life directions.  Values are always perfect.

9 Ten Valued Domains 1) Marriage/couple/intimate relationship 2) Parenting 3) Family relations (other than intimate relations and parenting) 4) Friendship/social relations 5) Career/employment 6) Education/training/personal growth and development 7) Recreation/leisure 8) Spirituality 9) Citizenship 10) Health/physical well-being

10 _______________________ _______________________

11 Making Goals from Values  Value:__________________________  Long-term goal:__________________  Short-term goals:_________________

12 Finishing Projects  Productvs. “I’m going to write three pages”  Process “I’m going to write for 60 minutes”

13 Staying Present – Mindfulness  The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally to things as they are.

14 Cultivating Awareness  Get out of our heads and learn to experience the world directly  See our thoughts as mental events that come and go  Start living right here, in the present moment  Disengage the autopilot

15 Peace  Peace can exist only in the present moment. It is ridiculous to say “Wait until I finish this, then I will be free to live in peace. “What is “this”? A diploma, a job, a house, the payment of a debt? If you think that way, peace will never come. There is always another “this” that will follow the present one. If you are not living in peace at this moment, you will never be able to. If you truly want to be at peace, you must be at peace right now. Otherwise, there is only “the hope of peace some day.”  -Thich Nhat Hanh, The Sun My Heart

16 Some mindful activities  Washing dishes  Taking a shower  Eating  Brushing your teeth  Driving the car  Going up/down stairs

17 Benefits of Relaxation  Decrease in heart rate  Decrease in respiration rate  Decrease in blood pressure  Decrease in skeletal muscle tension  Decrease in metabolic rate and oxygen consumption  Decrease in analytic thinking  Increase in alpha wave activity in the brain

18 Benefits of Relaxation  Reduction of generalized anxiety  Preventing stress from becoming cumulative  Increased energy level and productivity  Improved concentration and memory  Reduction of insomnia and fatique  Prevention/reduction of psychosomatic disorders  Increased self-confidence and reduced self-blame  Increased availability of feelings

19 Abdominal Breathing  Get in a comfortable position  Place your hand over your belly  Breath in through the nose (4 count)  Hold breath (4 count)  Exhale slowly (6 count)  Think “relax” or “cool air in and warm air out”  Pause (2 count)  Resume

20 What is progressive muscle relaxation?  A muscle can be relaxed by first tensing it for a few seconds  Especially helpful for people whose anxiety in strongly related to muscle tension  “An anxious mind cannot exist in a relaxed body” Jacobsen

21 What are the benefits progressive muscle relaxation?  A decrease in generalized anxiety  Reduction in the frequency and duration of panic attacks  Improved concentration  An increased sense of control over moods  Increased self-esteem  Increased spontaneity and creativity

22 Guidelines for Practicing Progressive Muscle Relaxation  Practice 20 min. per day. Two 20 min. sessions per day is preferable  Find a quiet location to practice  Practice at regular times – on awakening, before retiring, before meals are the best times  Practice on an empty stomach  Assume a comfortable position  Loosen any garments  Make a decision no to worry about anything  Assume a passive, detached attitude

23 Counseling Center  1810 Rocket Hall Counseling, Consultation, Psychoeducational programs Free and Confidential Currently enrolled students Any type of personal concern Call or come by to schedule an appointment Licensed Psychologists, Counselors, Supervised Doctoral Students

24 A Final Thought  One of the most satisfying experiences I know-is just fully to appreciate an individual in the same way I appreciate a sunset. When I look at a sunset…I don’t find myself saying, “Soften the orange a little bit on the right corner, and put a bit more purple on the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color. I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch it in awe as it unfolds. (Carl Rogers)


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