During graduate school you could be demanded to write a term paper, finish your research assignments, and plan a birthday party for your best friend all in the same day. Because you are so busy, you probably find yourself overly stressed from time to time. Although having a little stress in your life as a graduate student is a good thing and results in high productivity, too much constant stress results in poor work and can even be hazardous to your mental and physical health. Below are a few tips for activities and exercises that you could do when you feel you are under too much of the stress that comes with life as a graduate student. Keep in mind how you react when you become stressed. If you tend to become overexcited, you should use relaxation techniques that calm you down. On the other hand, if you become depressed and detached, you should use relaxation techniques that speed up your body and mind. Try some of the following advice for graduate students, and you will probably find yourself more at peace and ready to take on your life as a graduate student.
There are many forms of meditation, but one of the easiest forms is Mindful Meditation. Take a moment, sit gently in an upright position, close your eyes, and simply be present in the moment. Try to let your thoughts flow out of your mind; if it helps, you can imagine your thoughts floating down a river. Once you are situated, focus on your breath. Focus on each inhalation and exhalation, the rise and fall of your chest, and the feeling of air as it passes through your nostrils. Doing this for 5 to 10 minutes can boost your energy and reduce your stress.
A common reason people, or grad students, get stressed is because they have too much going on in their life as a graduate student, and thinking about everything all at once can take over their minds. If you are one of these people, try focusing on one small task at a time. This will not only cause you to create a better product with your current task but will also help you to forget about all your other responsibilities while you are working.
Maybe it’s too hard for you not to think about everything you have to do. Spending time with friends and family is an easy way to take a break from your stressful thoughts about life as a graduate student. If you don’t want to spend time around humans, give your pet(s) some quality time. Petting your dog or cat will lower your stress level.
Focusing on your favorite music is another good way to force yourself to relax. Get your mind off of your life as a graduate student, and really think about the music. If you are the type of person who gets overexcited and hyper with stress, steer clear of fast music, and stay with slow tempos. Even better, try classical music to relax your mind and to get yourself into a deep, intellectual mindset.
Picture an image in your mind that makes you happy. This could be a loved one, your long-awaited graduate diploma, or the ever-popular “happy place.” Whatever you prefer to visualize, you will become relaxed as long as you focus on the image and not on anything else.