1. The average person takes approximately 5 million breaths a year.
2. Months which start on a Sunday always have a Friday the 13th in them.
3. Your feet contains one quarter of the bones in your body.
4. If there was no colorant in Coca-Cola, the drink would actually be green.
5. There are no naturally occurring blue foods (Blueberries are purple, not blue.)
6. 11% of the world’s population is left handed.
7. On average, a person spends 2 weeks of their life waiting for the traffic lights to change to green.
We each have our own personality – that unique part of us that makes us who we are. It affects every aspect of our lives - from who we date, to what we study, to what we like to do. So what do we know about personality?
1. Birth order can affect our personality: We discussed this a bit in a previous post. There are traits we associate with being a first born (being bossy, motivated, high achievers or more driven); with being a middle born (being friendly, people pleasers, and quite skilled negotiators); and being a last-born (being amusing, more laid back, and also less responsible). Empirical research supports these norms and trends.
2. There are Five Core Personality Traits: These are measures of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness.
3. Personality remains stable through life: The research findings are less conclusive here. It may be that some core traits are less susceptible to change. However, traits which seem less fixed and less stable over time include anxiety levels, friendliness and eagerness for novel experiences.
4. Certain personalities are more prone to disease: There appears to be a link between one of the “big 5 traits” (neuroticism) and proneness to developing headaches, asthma, arthritis, peptic ulcers and heart disease. There is also a link between having a Type A personality (and, in particular, scoring high on the hostility levels) and developing cancer and heart disease.
5. Our personality affects our personal preferences: The impact here is surprisingly far reaching. It includes: our choice of friends and partner, our taste in music, our political preferences, our career choices, our preferred holiday destinations and so on.
6. People can tell your personality from your facebook profile: Interestingly, although you might expect people to project an ideal online identity, research indicates that facebook profiles actually tend to convey our real personality. Sam Gosling, a key psychologist and author, has explained this in the following way: “I think that being able to express personality accurately contributes to the popularity of online social networks in two ways …First, it allows profile owners to let others know who they are and, in doing so, satisfies a basic need to be known by others. Second, it means that profile viewers feel they can trust the information they glean from online social network profiles, building their confidence in the system as a whole.”
7. There are a number of factors that contribute to personality disorders: An estimated 10 to 15% of adults are diagnosed with at least one personality disorder in their lifetime. Factors contributing to the onset of these include: Genetics, relationships with family and peers, inheriting high levels of sensitivity, childhood abuse and experiencing a trauma.
8. Your pet may reveal your personality: Many people consider themselves to be either a “dog person” or a “cat person”? Research into pet preference and personality indicates that dog lovers tend to be more extroverted and greater people pleasers, whereas cat lovers tend to be more introverted and curious.
Although it’s normal to feel some anxiety when you’re preparing for, or taking, a test - too much can hamper you from doing well. Below are some tips to help you to cope with this:
1. Learn and apply proven studying techniques so you feel you really know the test material. This should help to improve your confidence and reduce excessive anxiety.
2. Work on staying positive while you’re studying. Think about doing really well, not always struggling, or even failing.
3. Make sure you get plenty of sleep the night before a test.
4. Don’t forget to eat right before a test either. You need protein to have enough energy to concentrate fully for the length of the test. Avoid junk food as that tends to lead to a high and then a low.
5. Try to calm and relax yourself as you enter the test room. Take a few slow, deep breaths. In your head repeat positive self-statements like “I am well prepared. I’m going to do a good job on this test.”
6. Don’t start to panic if the questions seem too hard. Just skip over the ones you can’t do, and keep reading until you find something you CAN do.
7. Ignore the fact that other students seem to be finishing before you. Take all the time you need and focus on doing your best.
8. Once the test is over, try and forget about it. There’s nothing you can do until your mark is returned to you … and maybe you’ve aced it, or done really well!
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:
- 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
- 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.
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.
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.
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”.
1. Go for a walk in nature, and take your camera with you
2. Set aside some time for peace and solitude, in a place that is comforting or beautiful (on a secluded beach, in the forest, in the mountains, by a river, in a log cabin etc)
3. Watch your dog or a young child play, and loving just exploring or enjoying the “now”
4. Practice deep breathing, or pray, or meditate
5. Watch a TED talk, or read inspiring blogs
6. Try something new, that’s outside your comfort zone
7. Find new ways to express your sense of creativity (and just start with something small if you feel that’s been suppressed – such as journaling, or writing a poem or a song)
8. Think of music that moves you … and explore the “why” behind that
9. Think of people who inspire you, and push you to be “more”
10. Make a list of everything you’re thankful for, and add to that list every day for a week.
1. Get into the habit of being an early riser. We can all benefit from having a little bit of extra time in the morning. It reduces stress, helps to prevent you from forgetting things, and stops that crazy morning rush.
2. Deliberately decide to tune out distractions. Turn off the TV, social media, your phone, and hide away when you need to get work done.
3. Prepare for the next day the night before. Check off your mental to-do list and prepare for the next day before you go to bed. If possible, choose your clothes, find your books, pack your bag, and so on.
4. Prioritise being organized. For example, it often helps to use an agenda to stay on track with assignments and homework.
5. Go to bed at a reasonable time. A good night’s sleep is one of the best tips for learning, remembering and doing well at school.
6. Make reading one of your hobbies. Research indicates that reading is one of the best ways for developing language skills and building a strong vocabulary.
7. Eat well. A protein breakfast and balanced meals help sustain your energy throughout the day, and is essential for building a healthy brain.
8. Get fresh air and exercise. This helps with mental alertness, concentration, an efficient memory and a positive mood.