Motivational thoughts for students and things to think about as you go about your day! Engage with them, ignore them, take them with a pinch of salt or share them! It’s completely up to you.
Although written for both students to-be and current students I hope it can be more far reaching than just people in those groups.
Memorise something motivational whenever possible
Not only will this leave your brain sharp and your memory functioning but you will also have a huge library of quotes to carry around with you during the day. You might find them more applicable than you may think in your day-to-day activities!
Consider the importance of your possessions
If you are someone who has always had a lot of possessions or are very attached to the ones you do have it may seem like a strange thing to think about. Unfortunately nothing lasts for ever (apart from those old Nokia’s!) and nothing continues to look new or be ‘current.’ Possessions can end up owning you, not the other way around. It is said that becoming a person of minimal needs makes you more content. I suspect there is a healthy balance.
Develop an endless curiosity about this world
The world is fast becoming something we learn about by sitting behind a computer screen and not something we go out and touch or experience. Always try to fit some time into your week to try new things. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try to experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. This world has so much to offer, so why not take advantage of it?
Remember people’s names
On any site about interview technique or good leadership it will encourage you to remember people’s names! There are multiple benefits to yourself in doing this. I know when freshers week is in full swing remembering everyone’s names is beyond impossible! But once friendships begin forming and you are introduced to other people try your best to remember their names – it helps them feel appreciated, encourages trust to develop and will help them warm to you quickly.
Get down the gym, out on your bike or at least off your bum!
Considering we only have the one body to live with it is amazing to see how some people treat themselves. Consider not just your external signs of health but also your internal health. How is your liver doing? Your lungs? Your kidneys? Sometimes thinking about your future health requires changes to your daily health. Loughborough is renowned for sport… and also for drinking. Consider altering the ratio of these in your days.
Learn to focus only on the present
They say everyday is a gift, which is why we call it the present. Funnily enough we live only in the present even though often our minds may live elsewhere. I for one dwell often on things in the past and am determined to shake this bad habit. I know I cannot change anything there and can do little to rectify my mistakes. I have also learnt that nothing turns out as bad as you immediately think it may.
The past is unchangeable so it is futile to reflect on it unless you are making sure you do not repeat past mistakes. The future is but a result of your actions today. So learn from the past to do better in the present so that you can succeed in the future.
Is there really anything you haven’t been able to overcome?
Talking with a friend the other day we were reflecting back on events gone by in our lives that at the time of them happening we thought would alter our lives forever. I remember thinking ‘I am never going to get over this.’
And then we realised that by the pure fact that right there, in the car on the motorway, we weren’t stressing about anything meant that we had been wrong previously on all those occasions.
Smile more often
Smiling is something I do frequently when I am with my friends but I do it less when with my family and definitely not when on my own. However, there is some research to suggest that smiling on your own releases serotonin in the brain which actually makes you happier. So smiling can make you happy. I am not suggesting we all go round forcing smiles nor am I encouraging you to join one of those wacky laughing groups. But try to get over the weird feeling you get when you smile by yourself and enjoy the results. You are only feeling as silly as you let yourself feel!
Hydration is tremendously important for overall health and statistics show that very few people drink the recommended amount. There is no fixed amount to drink as it varies from person to person. Your body though is very good at telling you whats what. If you feel thirsty don’t delay and get yourself a drink of water. Alcoholic drinks unfortunately do not count towards a daily intake of fluids!
Water has also been shown to significantly improve concentration and you can prove this for yourself. Take a bottle of water into a lecture with you. When (if) you feel a little drowsy have a mouthful of water and notice instantly how much more alert you feel. Plus, remember to take a bottle into the exam hall with you!
Don’t take life so seriously!
What is the point of life? Nobody really knows. What is for sure is that we will get older and eventually die. You have daily opportunities to look at events in your life through the lens of happiness, peace and maturity or get angry with the world and blame everything and everyone.
Encourage yourself to be amused by your own mistakes and failures instead of putting yourself down. Be realistic with your expectations of yourself. Try to do more things you enjoy with others who enjoy you.
Break a habit
We all have habits that we want to break. Or if not habits, things we do frequently that we would prefer not to keep doing. A lot of these things have gone on so for long they are embedded in our sub-conscious and are now automatic. Negative thinking for example is an example of a bad automatic process that a lot of us do. Recognising something like this is 50% of the way to stopping it.
The next 50% takes patience and diligence. One method of conditioning yourself not to do something is to wear an elastic band on your wrist and ping it against your skin whenever you find yourself doing or thinking what it is you want to stop. Quite soon that sub-conscious thought will be passed first through your conscious brain first which is where you can choose to stop it.
You do a ton of reading as a university student (at least, you should!) If you enjoy reading novels and fiction then try to keep this active throughout your studies. They provide an excellent and cheap way to escape the world even for a moment.
If factual things are more you cup of tea try to further your knowledge of your own hobbies and interests. When you read something interesting, consider sharing it on a blog or with a friend. It makes reading all that more worthwhile.
Of course, some hate reading but are happy to listen. Audible is a great website for listening to books!
Get in the sun
It’s always in the news. Britain’s need more sun! But it’s true. A vast number of us suffer slightly or moderately with seasonal affective disorder whereby we feel slightly depressed during the winter months. Encourage yourself not to use this as a label but do a couple of things to fix it. Ensure you have vitamin D in your diet for starters or take a supplement (the students preferred method of choice!) Then ensure you get direct sunlight wherever possible. Even 30 minutes will work wonders.
Consider your fellow students whenever possible
You’ll find you have more in common with your fellow students than you may think if you take some time to really get to know them.
Most of us lads claim we don’t need deep relationships or friendships but actually, secretly, we do. And we know we do.
We don’t see it as cool and we will reel off about how its a woman thing when in reality we are humans with a conscience who also have a sensitive side. Of course, this is generalised and is certainly not true of all men or all women.
Here are some reasons why you may want to consider others:
- Helping someone out often increases the chances they will help you in return
- You’ll find you grow in character the more you help others
- It feels good!
- It helps build friendships and increases awareness of others problems
- It encourages better appreciation and acceptance of difference
How much time do you spend worrying?
Everyone worries about things. Some people worry in a constructive way which ensures they move forward having considered the important angles and choices of their next step.
For other people, worrying is a negative spiral which can occupy significant portions of ones day and can prove fruitless at the end. Sometimes people worry so much it becomes chronic and can lead to a host of mental illnesses.
A way to help ensure your worries are constructive and not destructive is to find a place to go to do your worrying/ thinking. Find one of the benches in the quiet corner of the campus or get on a bus to somewhere completely new. Spend time on your own thinking about the things that are worrying you and try to write down steps to move forward. Once finished, you may want to consider phoning a friend while on your way back and running it past them.
The phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ is never more true than in that moment. And once you return back to familiarity try not to keep thinking it through as its unlikely you will get any further in your thinking.
The good thing about going somewhere else is to do with the associations you make while in that place!
Be as honest as you can
Lies do catch up with you. We all exaggerate things and fail to mention other truths. Bear in mind that for every secret and embarrassing thing you have, other people will have just as many too!
Being honest displays a strength in character and makes life that bit easier! Knowing your friends like you for who you really are, not who you claim to be makes the world of difference!
A word about sleep
Students tend to be completely divided other their sleeping habits. The typical student can go many nights in a row with broken sleep at different times of the night and day without feeling hugely affected by the disruption to their rhythms.
Other students know that after a few late nights and early mornings they will be feeling less than their 100%!
Everyone is different so work out what is best for you. Sleep is hugely important and if you are beginning to feel lethargic during your days it may not be a problem any bigger than your sleep cycles!
Particularly during times of stress where deadlines need to be met or you have exams looming, try to ensure you get into a regular rhythm of waking and sleeping at the same time. This ensures your brain is fully alert the morning of your exam and not used to still being asleep.
Join a club or society
Loughborough University has plenty of choice when it comes to clubs and societies. Find one that closely matches your interests which you can become a valued member of. Input regularly and you will be rewarded naturally with some excellent friendships and skills.
Also try to find a society that encourages you to try something new. Try a new sport or hobby. Find out more about mental illness or disability! Experience something that challenges you.
Spend a little time thinking about your goals and dreams
Emphasis on ‘a little’ time. You are probably early twenties. You have your entire career ahead of you and things will change both for you personally and for the world you live in. If you have some idea of a career goal that is great – but don’t become fixated on it at the expense of everything and everyone else.
Conversely, if you don’t have a clue what you want to do post university don’t worry yourself! The vast majority of students leave university not heading in a particular direction. Remain open-minded, seek out opportunities and never stop learning, listening and watching.
Above and beyond just career goals – have you considered what it is that makes you tick? What are you instinctively good at, or passionate about? Do you have a little dream that you would love to happen but are too afraid to embrace it? Do you ever even entertain these sorts of questions?
Remain open-minded and flexible wherever possible regardless!
Start your day off right
What do you do the first thing in the morning? Are your mornings frantic and rushed or more calm and relaxed? As students it obvious that to maximise sleep you need stop the alarm clock snoozing about 15 minutes before lectures begin… skip breakfast, a mad dash to the theatres and you’re set. Well, not exactly.
It would be condescending to explain why rushing in the morning is not beneficial. Skipping breakfast is certainly an obvious one! But rushing around while still groggy and hungry only serves to raise your blood pressure, increase your anxiety levels and increase your stress. It’s amazing how much difference an extra ten minutes in the morning can make!
Say thank you
Show your appreciation for someone today whom you haven’t thanked before. It might be your tutor, your friend, your lecturer or a passing acquaintance. It can really make a different to someones day!
Go Youth Hostelling
As students we are tight for money. Really very tight! But it’s not difficult to find places in England that you can reach by train or bus which can provide a completely different change of scenery.
If you have never stayed at a Youth Hostel I highly recommend them. For around £10 you can stay in some incredible places (castles, mansions, farmhouses etc) overlooking mountains, coastlines, lakes etc! Plus the people you meet are always varied and interesting. Also, if you travel in a large enough group you can get the whole place to yourself!
Don’t take negative remarks from people so personally
Men and women in general react slightly differently upon receiving negative comments from people. Men tend to resort to more extroverted means of righting the situation immediately whereas women mostly become introverted and seek retribution at a later stage in more subtle ways.
Either way – whenever you are the subject of a joke or are called something degrading just breathe and ignore it. These sorts of things can be settled at a later date. If the claim made against you has no grain of truth then why worry? Your close friends whom you should trust will know you for the real you won’t take it at face value. Even if they do, a momentary bit of confusion which can be rectified later is better than them remembering you having a full-blown fight.
The person who can retain their integrity in the face of attack without resorting to arguing and retaliation is a person of good character.
Consider reading a social science book
A fantastic book I read recently is called The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters. The title of the book is bold and blunt and although not untrue, I feel makes the book seem like another of those popular ‘this book will solve all your problems’ type book.
Dr Steve Peter is a psychiatrist who worked closely with the Olympic GB Cycling Team. This is an excerpt from the books blurb:
Dr. Peters shares his phenomenally successful mind management programme used to help elite athletes like Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins and Victoria Pendleton perform at their optimum level. His revolutionary techniques are tried and tested and will enable you to conquer your fears, operate with greater control, focus and confidence and perform better in all areas of your life.
I have read the book from cover to cover a few times and now frequently dip back in when I want to refresh my memory on certain things. I highly recommend it.
Holding a grudge
We all do it. We all have someone whom we haven’t properly forgiven for something or whom we hold one of their actions against them for ever more. Everyone makes mistakes and people can change and learn from the past.
Carrying that burden around can be a pain in the backside. Consider talking to that person and sorting it out today. Its better to sort it out once and for all rather than constantly dodging them around campus.
Learn how to relax
Everyone has different ways of relaxing. For some it is being alone while for others it is best in groups. It can be through quiet solitary walks or in noisy pubs with the lads!
We all relax in different ways and if you haven’t yet worked out your optimum form of relaxing its probably a good time to try.
What are you like at making first impressions?
Some people are naturally good at making an excellent first impression. Others can struggle but this is easily rectifiable with a few simple pointers.
For business meetings a good handshake can be the first action that can get you in someones good books. Make it firm and establish eye contact while smiling. It does wonders for the emotional part of your new acquaintances brain!
Repeat their name back to them if you heard it correctly and introduce yourself with your first name if appropriate.
Even the most confident people can struggle to meet new faces especially in a business or workplace so don’t worry yourself overly.
With friends at university it matters a lot less and shaking hands is certainly not necessary!
What do you excel at?
Do you excel at something? Anything? Everyone has something they are really good at but most haven’t fully discovered their potential. Having a skill that’s quite unique or unusual is really cool and should be encouraged! So many people are sheep that follow the crowds. This is often at the detriment of personal and unique qualities.
School environments rarely foster individuality. Come university, this can begin to change. University is an excellent place to spread your wings a little and be more overt about your hobbies, talents and skills.
Try to leave well
Leaving anywhere, such as that job you dislike or that uni society going nowhere isn’t easy. It provides a good opportunity to burn your bridges and say some of those things you’ve always wanted to say but haven’t. But why do it?
Yes it feels good but you just never know when you might bump into those ex colleagues or acquaintances again and you may come to regret whatever it is you said.
What do you stand for?
When people think of you, what do you hope they think of?
At a course in empowering leaders can be found a task where you have to write your own obituary. It’s a difficult piece to write. Thinking about how you would like to be remembered if you popped off tomorrow can often reveal a lot about your core beliefs, hopes and desires.
Enjoyed reading this? Check out How To Win Friends and Influence People for Students
Based on an article originally written by Jordan posted on HighExistence.com shortened and adapted for Students by The University BlogSpot