Building resilience during your studies

By MAS Team | 25 March 2021

While it’s good to have a positive outlook – student life’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Graft as we might, exam pressure, rude flatties or a bad grade can put us in a funk that’s hard to fight. So how do we build the resilience to bounce back? It’s all about taking care of yourself so you’re prepared for the worst.

“Resilience is about how you recharge, not how you endure.” - Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan, Harvard Business Review

Brain dump and go.

Are you an overthinker? Often when we’re in a pickle, our own thoughts can be trapping. So why not give them an outlet? Expressive Writing can help. It’s basically the practice of dumping your thoughts on a page without curating or filtering – just to get them out of your head.

It’s a great way to stop yourself from dwelling on the negative to help you refocus and bounce back like a pro. So next time you’re feeling trapped in your own head, put pen to paper and write it out.

Breathe it all away.

Meditating stress away is catastrophically cliché. But maybe it’s for a good reason? In high pressure situations, we're typically dwelling on the past or future. When in reality – the present moment is not all that bad. So why not give yourself a break? Focus on what you can do NOW.

Meditation doesn’t need to be candle-lit with incense burning and ethereal music. A spot of mindful breathing helps ground yourself in the present moment and balance your thoughts.

Young woman meditating indoors at home

Take baby steps.

We all have fears, rational and irrational. But it’s how we handle them that matters. Whether it’s spiders, public speaking or nomophobia (yes it’s a real thing), fear is paralysing. So how do we pluck up the courage to face them head on? By taking baby steps towards tackling them.

Ultimately, the goal is to stop associating whatever scares you with a negative outcome. By actively exposing ourselves to fears in small doses, we build up our resilience to them.

Be your own BFF.

We all beat ourselves up from time to time. Does it do us any good? Absolutely not. In fact, it sends us deeper into despair. So next time you’re being cruel to yourself over messing up, ask yourself, “what would I say to a friend in this situation?”. You’d likely use much kinder words.

Step back and look at the predicament with fresh eyes – confronting our suffering without judgement often unearths valuable home-truths that help us bounce back a little easier.

Female hands holding a handwritten letter with a message of self-love

Forgive and let live.

Whether it’s a gripey lecturer or a flattie eating your food – people can be painful to deal with. But in the wise words of Buddha, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” So why not drop the coal?

Cultivating forgiveness isn’t about erasing the past. But rather freeing yourself of the anger attached to the situation. So commit to letting go one step at a time and you’ll be better for it.

Ready your resilience.

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to resilient habits. But knowing what keeps you stuck in a rut is a good place to start. So next time student life has you in a tizzy, remember; brain dump, breathe, baby steps, be kind to yourself and forgive others. Then dust yourself off and bounce back.

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