COUNSELLING BLOG

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Stress and Exams

Students who manage best in exams:

- Maintain positive relationships with family and friends

- Continue to allow some time for exercise and leisure

- Get plenty of sleep

- Eat sensibly

- Have planned time for study

- Are organised

- Learn and practice simple techniques for relaxation (see the school counsellor for ideas)

Warning signs that stress may be exceeding a helpful level include:

- Irritability

- Tiredness

- Poor concentration

- Poor short term memory

- Recurring worrying thoughts

- Lack of tolerance for others (you may not detect that in yourself)

- Anxious about little things

- Listlessness

- Prone to bursts of anger and tears

- Indications of feeling ‘down’, alone or misunderstood

- Disturbed sleep

- Indigestion, poor appetite.

No one sign necessarily is cause for worry and these signs need to be considered in the context of your life. However, it is better to seek help than to struggle with worries by yourself. Signs of depression or anxiety in particular should not be ignored.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/stressexams.php

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Quick Tips for Good Time Management

1. Create a daily ‘to do’ list.

2. List goals and set priorities.

3. Do ‘A’s’ first (Most important things).

4. Do them now.

5. Ask yourself “What is the best use of my time right now?”

6. Be realistic: New habits take time to develop.

7. Reward yourself for small steps of progress towards your goals each week.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/priorities.php

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10 Tips for Studying

Make studying a part of your everyday school routine and don’t be limited to ‘cramming’ for exams and tests.

1. Establish a routine: Set aside a particular time each day for study and revision and stick to it.

2. Create a study environment
This should be away from interruptions and household noise, such as the television. Ensure there is adequate lighting and ventilation, a comfortable chair and appropriate desk.

3. Set a timetable: With a timetable you can plan to cover all your subjects in an organised way, allotting the appropriate time for each without becoming overwhelmed.

4. Look after yourself: Drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and eat healthy foods. Keep sugary foods to a minimum. Make sure you get enough sleep each night. Regular physical exercise makes you feel great, boosts your energy and helps you relax. So try to keep up regular sporting activities or at least fit in some regular exercise as often as you can.

5. Reward yourself for studying: Watch your favourite television program, spend time with your friends, walk to the park and play sport throughout the week.

6. Have variety in your study program: Study different subjects each day and do different types of work and revision in each study session.

7. Avoid interrupting your concentration: Have all the appropriate materials with you before you start a session of study to minimise distractions.

8. Test yourself on what you have studied: Ask your parents or family members to quiz you on what you have learnt, use draft questions from books, past assessments or major exam papers.

9. Don’t panic at exam time: If you have followed a study routine and have been revising your class work, there should be no need to worry. Try to keep yourself calm, positive and confident.

10. Ask your teachers for guidance: Especially if you’re having trouble - whether it’s grasping a new concept or understanding something you learnt earlier in the year. They will be happy to help.

Source: http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/gotoschool/highschool/studyingtips.php

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How to Stop Worrying

1. Remind yourself that worrying doesn’t stop things happening. Things will happen – or not happen –anyway.

2. Recognise that “What ifs” don’t usually help with problem solving. It’s better to use logic, and brain storm for solutions. Take control of your emotions by using rational thinking.

3. Motivate yourself by something other than worrying. Take a break and do something fun, and then go back to your work again. That positive approach will reap more benefits.  

4. Face your fears – and do the things that you worry about. The thought is often much worse than the actual thing you fear.

5. Ask yourself “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Then, “What are the chances that it will happen? Then “Will you survive it, if it happens, in the end?” Usually, that helps to move us from an extreme and irrational way of thinking to a more realistic, and reasonable way if thinking.

6. Teach yourself a range of relaxation strategies – and then concentrate on them instead of on your different fears. Or, adopt a mindful approach – and keep your focus on “right now”.

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Overdependency in Relationships

Overdependency is:

  • Desperately holding on to other people, places or things in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in your life.
  • Letting others do so much for you that it prevents you from developing your own sense of personal autonomy, independence, responsibility and accountability.
  • Being unwilling to let go of others so that you can find your own direction in life.
  • Refusing to formulate your own goals and dreams in case they don’t match those of the people you are dependent on.
  • Having a feeling of emptiness and worthlessness; feeling you “need to be needed” in order to be loved; or having your whole identity wrapped up in someone else.
  • Thinking sympathy and pity are the same thing as love.
  • Having a desperate need for approval; desperately fearing rejection and abandonment by the person you are dependent on; being clingy, possessive and jealous.
  • Lacking a belief in your own competency and ability to cope on your own.
  • Feeling stuck and immobilised because of a fear of failure, or the fear of making the wrong decision.
  • Having a fear of loneliness – which causes you to cling desperately to someone – even when you should let them go.

Overdependency is a control issue because:

  • You are handing control of your life and happiness over to someone else.
  • When you become too dependent on someone, you give them the power to control you.
  • People who are overdependent frequently use manipulation and other subversive control techniques to “hook” others into taking care of them – so that they can rescue, fix or save you. Alternatively, they may use intimidation, threats and coercion.
  • · They use the same hooks to prevent the person from detaching and walking away (For example, by threatening suicide)
  • · They may use the mask of “helplessness” to get others to take care of them, and do things for them.
  • · When forming close relationships, they deliberately look “fixers,” “caretakers” and “rescuers” – that is, they seek out people who are likely to assume responsibility for their wellbeing.

Freedom from overdependency:

  • First, recognise what is going on and be honest with yourself about your patterns and tendencies.
  • Second, recognise that you are a separate person from your partner (or family member). Thus, it’s up to you to assume responsibility for your own choices, decisions and actions (or lack of choosing, deciding and acting). In the same way, stop assume responsibility for, or try to control, the choices and behaviors of others. Don’t speak and act for them, don’t tell them what to do (or how to do it) or redo what they’ve done (as it isn’t the way you would have done it.)
  • · Notice your negative feelings – anxiety, fear, and even terror – and learn to face and manage these. This is one of the most powerful things you can do!
  • · Next, notice how critical you become when others don’t do things your way, or meet the standards that you set for them. Also, notice how you act in response to these feelings. Do you jump in, try to fix, get angry, pout, withdraw sexually and emotionally? It’s time to get rid of those unhealthy behaviours as they’re part of the pattern of dependency.
  • · Consciously work on your self-esteem.  Don’t look to others to make you happy, or to feel you have worth and significance. Healthy self-esteem comes from the inside out.
  • · Recognise the value of boundaries – and know where you end and another begins. Learn to establish and enforce your boundaries, and accept that others can choose for themselves – so don’t manipulate to try and get your way.
  • Stop blaming others for making you upset. We have control of how we think and feel. You’re not a helpless victim – you can choose how you will live, and what you will accept in your relationships.
  • · Don’t take the flack for, or defend others’ behaviour. Allow them let them to feel the consequences of their actions. Stop defending and enabling them.
  • · Get professional help.  Being dependent in relationships often has its roots in our early childhood experiences. You may some need help to unravel that, and better understand why you act the way you do.

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