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Dissertation Stress & Anxiety

16th April 2013

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Are you a born worrier or do you only worry when deadlines and stressful situations loom?

We all experience stress and anxiety at some point during our lives and approaching dissertation deadlines are no exception; they are stress and anxiety inducing and over time, they can cause quite disturbing and influential physical and psychological symptoms.

As important as ‘getting the grade’ is, it’s not catastrophic to have to repeat a year, but many people have family, social and financial pressures that do make the concept of failure FEEL catastrophic and that’s when stress and anxiety can take hold.

Stress is a normal response to too much life pressure, but when you start experiencing the symptoms of anxiety, such as sleeplessness, agitation, sudden feelings of fear, panic attacks, disturbing thoughts and phobias, not to mention all the physical symptoms such as palpitations, dizziness and nausea for example, it really is time to take control.

Over the years, we have helped many thousands of students facing exam and dissertation pressure to make sense of their fears, to remove the inappropriate thoughts, to alleviate the symptoms and to become calm and focused. It’s a tough time, no one would contest that fact and I struggled with chronic anxiety throughout my four years at university but when the deadline for my dissertation loomed closer, I was a true mess.

At the time, I didn’t know that medication wouldn’t help. I didn’t understand the true nature of what I was experiencing and certainly had no one to support, guide or reassure me. I was lonely, isolated, lost and frustrated. I needed to find answers but at the time, the only course of action was an endless stream of tests and prescription after prescription for tranquilisers and antidepressents. Did they work? No.

I was desperate for answers but no one could even offer me a shoulder to cry on. Four years later with a 2:1 under my belt, although I have no clue how I got there, I was in the exact same predicament, but this time, the need for an income overwhelmed me and although I was lucky enough to live with my working girlfriend, who is now my wife, the financial pressures became unbearable.

I did my best to work but the TV industry was hard. Late nights, early mornings, seven days a week working with intolerable people with intolerable attitudes; not exactly the recipe for a stress free life.

Eventually I cured my anxiety completely. I won’t go into the neurology or the long story of how I discovered the solution because it’s not important to this article, but suffice it to say that after 27 years of horrendous anxiety and panic, I became anxiety free and remained that way. Since then I have helped over 155,000 people to do the same.

You see, anxiety is a manifestation of the emotion of fear and a panic attack is the extreme manifestation of the same. Panic attacks and high level anxiety are the mind’s pressure cooker valve, decompressing all the pressure to use up excess adrenalin when it isn’t being used up appropriately.

So when you are tossing and turning in bed or feel that familiar and yet disturbing fluttering in your heart, your body is saying that it needs to fight or flee from an imminent, yet fictitious, danger, but your mind can’t make sense of it all.

Anxiety disorders including panic disorder, agoraphobia, OCD, Pure O and PTSD are all caused by excess of the emotion of fear, not by loss of mental health or a physical condition, despite what many practitioners across a wide and confusing array of clinical, psychological and alternative practices might tell you.

In order to erase inappropriate anxiety from your psyche, you must do that which the body was designed to do… to feed the subconscious mind sensory data that adjusts it… that’s the same process that tells all our emotions how to respond to your external environment… that’s just the way the human body works. It makes complete sense.

Here are my top six tips to help you during these stressful times…

  1. As soon as you start to feel the familiar surge of stress or anxiety start to rise, stand up, move around, use distractions such as listening to a pod-cast or language tape. You can do anything at all as long as it combines intellectual and physical activity. When you have calmed down, return to your work.
  2. If you start to feel overly anxious or panicky,  splash your face with cold water to activate the dive reflex which should slow your heart rate and calm you down quickly.
  3. Time management – Use an hour-by-hour diary to input a schedule for working, eating, sleeping and ‘you time’. Even though you have deadlines, you must maintain your body’s healthy chemical equilibrium.
  4. Be sure to work in places where you won’t be disturbed, where you are warm and comfortable and have fast and easy access to healthy snacks and drinks. DO NOT take sleeping medications… even herbal ones and DO NOT use energy drinks or any such substances… they will cause physiological havoc.
  5. Take daily exercise – not foot-numbing sprints. 40-50 minutes walking a day is plenty but make sure you enjoy it. Take your iPod with you, pre-loaded with an interesting podcast or talking book perhaps.
  6. Posture – Your posture is vital. Sitting for long periods of time compresses the thoracic cavity that compresses the lungs and heart and prevents effective circulation and respiration. It can also cause digestive issues. Humans were made to be upright and mobile so take regular breaks even if it to just walk around your room and stretch. Learning to stretch effectively can pay dividends.
If you suffer with anxiety at any level and want to take action, my team are waiting to reassure and guide you. Our anxiety recovery programs are simple, cost effective and incredibly curatively effective and the team will not only reassure you, but will also provide seamless support to enable you to become quickly anxiety free and focused on the fulfilling and exciting years you have ahead of you. Just pick up the phone and call us for a free, no obligation chat.

Charles Linden

The Linden Centres

01562 742004


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