By Kuran Singh
Well, here we are. If you are feeling a little down at the moment, the first thing to remember is that you are not alone. Every day, students from across the country are feeling anxious, nervous, afraid, worried, stressed – the list goes on and on. Especially this year where, not only are we either starting our first year of university or going back after a long break, we have a global pandemic dominating our thoughts. It can become too much for a lot of us to deal with, myself included. If you do not know what to do or where to go, this blog will give you some tips and guidance on what you can do and where help is available.
1. Talk to someone about your feelings – getting things off your chest can make a world of difference. This could be with a trusted friend or a member of your family. There is also help available from your university. Universities across the U.K. offer so many amazing services to students who are having trouble coping with their mental health or students who are just in need of some support. If you are studying at Edinburgh Napier University, there is a mental wellbeing section on the myNapier website accessible here. In addition, the University has two mental health advisors who work as part of the wellbeing team. They will offer you emotional and practical support and will also give you advice on any concerns you may have during your time as a student.
2. Giving thanks can make you happier – showing gratitude is super important in helping you feel better inside; it is something I try to do every day. Starting off small can also really help, for example, being thankful for just waking up in the morning. When we show gratitude, our brain releases two chemicals: dopamine and serotonin. They are responsible for our emotions; they make us feel good and can enhance our mood immediately from the inside. As a student who struggled with my mental health, what really helped me was to remember my journey. Remembering all the hurdles I had to jump through and appreciate where I am now. Remember that every failure you have in life only leads to bigger and better things.
3. Invest in a gratitude journal – I recommend you spend three minutes in the morning and the same at night writing three things you are grateful for. I would also recommend that every week you write down your short, medium, and long-term goals. Every week you can record your progress and look back at how far you have come – even if it is just baby steps. The journals are filled with inspirational stories from other people in history (some fictional) who have been thankful for what they have and how it has changed their lives. Furthermore, the journal asks you to remember joyful things from your past with questions, such as “Can you remember the last time you cried tears of joy?”. The journal is something that has really helped me and is something I recommend to everyone (they are reasonably cheap, honest).
4. It is okay to not be okay – it is important to understand that it is absolutely okay to have those feelings and more importantly understand why we are having those feelings. I hope this blog continues to be a journey that we can all share and learn from together and in the end maybe feel a little bit better about ourselves. I will be writing about some of the low points in my life and how I managed to overcome them. I will also be sharing with you a whole load of helpful tips and tricks that you can do at home to help you get through.