Speaking in public, whether in a presentation, an interview or a verbal examination (viva voce), can be a nerve racking experience. It needn’t be. As the age old military adage has it, “train hard, fight easy”. Your creative imagination is an amazing tool you can use to overcome anxiety and adversity. Imagine yourself delivering your presentation or talking at interview while feeling completely confident, and then practising presenting alone or with friends with that same confidence over and again. It is sure to make the real experience a whole lot easier.
Links to helpful resources
Referencing pop-up sessions return to the Library Atrium for one last week, 11-12 am, 2-3 pm and 4-5 pm from Monday 29 April – 3 May 2019.
If you cannot make it to a referencing pop-up, the same referencing help and advice is always available from the Library Help Desk during staffed hours, so please don’t feel you have missed out if you cannot make it to a pop-up.
The vast majority of people believe they need things to be happy, including loved ones, respect, perhaps admiration, money, a career, material possessions (ranging from a comfortable bed, through the latest games console to a car and, depending on which family you were born into, possibly a private island). We look to these things for comfort, reassurance, and to a very real extent they come to define us. To a very large extent, we become what we do, the role we hold in society, and the people and things we have in our lives.
We are therefore attached (in many different ways) to many different things. We therefore have many different vulnerabilities. Taking away any of the things to which we are attached causes alarm, fear and distress. We have come to depend on all those things to which we have attached ourselves in order to be happy, and as life goes on, psychologists have noticed that we extend the list of things that we believe we need to be happy, such that most people are continually striving after a moving goal called happiness that they are forever pushing further away throughout their lives, even as they chase after it. Read more ›
In life, many things cannot be changed. We might work to influence some of them, object loudly to others and even spend our lives dedicated fighting certain social causes but fighting the world is tiring. As a matter of self-preservation, we have to pick our fights with care. The Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca observed that we become angry at the smallest things because reality disappoints our expectations. We expect our pen to not run out of ink, for our drink bottle not to leak, and for our favourite study space to be available every time we want it.
Feeling frustration and upset when our expectations are not met wastes energy. It is more useful to ask of each hiccup, challenge and disaster life throws at us, “how can I use this?” There is a lesson to learn in every mishap and problem encountered – either that there is a better way of carrying on or simply reminders that we do best in life when we accept and make the most of bad situations we cannot change rather than cursing cruel fate for not being better and easier. Read more ›
It is a well known saying in business that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. There is some truth in this. Arriving at the end of your course with only hours to spare to start your dissertation is a fairly certain way to fail. At the other extreme, planning your life inflexibly and in detail, and then beating yourself up for not sticking to your rigid timetable is equally self-defeating. Forget charts of precisely what you will do when, simply work out how long at a minimum that you intend to spend on everything, map this out, allow a little leeway, and then focus on what you need to do first. Don’t waste time choosing, pick something urgent and start!
Have clear short-term goals and sprint towards them. Try to beat your own deadlines. Check that you are still on track, that you are answering the assignment question and not what you would like it to have asked, and then get your head down and sprint some more. You will work best in short, exciting, focused sprints than idling away at projects in the comfortable twilight of procrastination.
Try achieving something over 25 minutes, then change what you are doing and thinking about completely for five minutes, and then resettle. That five minute break is a great opportunity to go to the toilet, refill your water bottle, get up and stretch, fetch the next book you need, catch up on text messages – anything really. It is the change of pace that will reset your concentration and help you make it through the next bout of intense concentration.
Everyone needs to eat well, and regularly. Balanced meals including wholegrains, fruit and vegetables to fuel your brain and lean protein to keep you feeling full and support your muscles, are even more important at those times when it feels like you don’t have time to look after yourself. There are a selection of quite healthy foods available from the Library Cafe, the Co-Op is next door, and the University has several other restaurants dotted across the campus, all of which sell (fairly) healthy food to keep you going. Cafe Coco next to the Students Union sells jacket potatoes and has a fresh salad bar, which is about as healthy as eating out gets.
Eating regularly, taking the time to chew and enjoy your food, and sipping plenty of water while you eat all help you digest your food more easily and get the benefit from it. “Eating is meditation” as a wise man once put it. Be in the moment with your lunch, enjoy every mouthful, engage your senses and sink your mind into your body. Be one with your meal while it lasts.
Work will wait. It must. Eating is also important.
Mealtimes and snack breaks are also a great opportunity to chat to your friends, share your worries and talk about things totally different from what you have been thinking about. This is also important. We are all social beings and not talking to others for long periods makes us feel bad. Take any excuse between work sessions to make contact with your friends.
Listening to the different problems other people have without trying to solve them for them, just showing them you are listening and understand, often takes a huge weight off them while showing you that you are not alone in facing challenges. It’s good to talk, even better to listen and understand what others are saying. We should all do it more often. It would make us all feel a lot better.
And if you ever feel unable to share your problems with others, there are counsellors in Wellbeing who are here to listen and support you.
Do you do music? If so, you should check out Music Online
for audio examples of music from all over the World, as well as encyclopedic information relating to places, cultural groups, instruments, including the voice and electronic, and genre, including choral and dance, and musical subjects.
Music Online has great coverage of musical theatre as well as music and sound technologies.
By the time you start to feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Thirst is your body’s emergency alarm bell ringing to tell you that you are already stiffening up in all the wrong places, feeling worse and thinking less clearly than you would if you were sipping water. The usual response is to upend a can of energy drink into yourself and carry on. The minor drawback of drinking a lot in a short time, particularly a lot of a chilled drink, is that it then tends to rushy through the body without touching the sides, prompting an urgent trip to the toilet. The body absorbs drinks best that are sipped regularly over time and are close to body temperature. That means that the best hydration you can get is from a bottle of luke warm water, or failing that water at room temperature.
Culturally, most of us have learned an aversion to room temperature drinks – either hot drinks that are almost cold or cold drinks that have warmed up. It’s a preference that’s easily changed when you just want to focus on your work. Let your hot drinks cool a little, and choose water from the tap or from the non-chilled tap at the water fountain ahead of when you need it so it can warm up on your desktop and then sip it gradually over time.
While water is best, all watery drinks are good. Only alcohol actively dehydrates you, which is one of the reasons those who drink alcohol wake with a dry mouth, headache, stiffness and a hangover the morning after the night before. Best avoided during times of stress – there are less debilitating ways of keeping calm and carrying on. Check out other tips and tricks in this blog or pop along to the Wellbeing Café.