By Clara Lai and Chua Jia Ying
- Read and learn.
When you are in college or university, with one assignment coming after the other in rapid succession, reading is the very last thing you’d want to do. But – just hear us out – reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. It’s been proven that reading helps keep the mind active and helps to reduce the risk of developing dementia in our later years. We know that reading has an abundance of benefits, but the specific nature of those benefits depend on our choice of reading materials. Self-help books, for example, are useful in helping us take care of our mental health. But learning to choose an interesting self-help book is not quite as easy as it may sound, so here is one self-help pick to start you off…
Amy Morin found herself catapulted to success when a blog post she penned was picked up by Forbes. This blog post, which went viral, has since been developed into a renowned self-help book entitled “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”. In this book, you can expect to find easy-to-follow and concise tips to strengthen yourself mentally, and to help in your journey to find happiness as well as success in your life.
Morin’s writing style is straightforward. She doesn’t beat around the bush when she tries to make a point. She puts forward questions to her readers, and in doing so, she prompts her readers to think; to reflect on where they are in their lives, and on who they are exactly. Many practical suggestions on self-improvement are offered in the book. However, the ideas Morin has come up with are by no means “quick fix” solutions. Rather, her ideas are stepping stones to start readers off on a path to become more productive and better at dealing with hardships. Ultimately, it is an interesting read that encourages its readers to evaluate their actions more deeply.
- Looking for the perfect workplace.
A quiet environment is essential for you to be productive and stay relaxed at the same time. It’s even better if food and drinks are within your reach, to keep your stomach content while you work. However, there are only so many vacant seats in our on-campus library. During exam periods, it is normal for the library to be very crowded, and don’t be surprised if you see two or three students together at a single desk. In such a tense atmosphere, even the smallest things like people whispering can be very irritating and distracting. It would be a dream to be whisked away to a private island with the perfect ambience and a large cup of good coffee to keep you awake while you study. Alas, that is a luxury most students are unable to afford.
Instead, we can settle for a cosy cafe. Bean Brothers is an industrial-style coffee bar situated on a secluded street in Sunway Damansara. As a result of its location, there are hardly any cars that pass in the day or during the night. Yet, the striking looks of this two-storey warehouse renders everyone who does pass by to turn and get a second look at it, or maybe even wander inside to indulge their curiosity. In Bean Brothers, customers enjoy their signature coffee, brewed with roasted beans originating from the Korean-operated coffee bar’s home nation, South Korea. The architecture and minimalistic decor of the coffee bar provides an ample amount of space for students and even office workers who wish to get some work done in peace and quiet. In addition to its prized selection of coffees, the well-lit cafe also has a menu full of scrumptious, reasonably-priced meals for its customers to enjoy. If you are tired of the library, or if you simply need a change of scenery, why not consider paying a visit to Bean Brothers this weekend?
- Listen to some music to help you unwind
The general consensus when it comes to listening to music while working is that while it is relaxing, it can also be a distraction. However, listening to music has been shown to cause a surge of dopamine to be released in our brain which can help relax us. However, whether music can relax us depends on the style and the rhythm of the music you are listening to. The musical spectrum is vast, and thousands of new songs are being released every day across the globe, but that does not mean that each and every one of these songs will be relevant to someone who is trying to use music to unwind. In this case, we might find ourselves wondering: what type of music should we listen to, then, while we are working?
Classical music is generally preferred as most classical tracks have a steady and repetitive tune. But that does not mean that it is superior over other musical genres. Ultimately, what you want to take note of while you’re making your relaxation playlist is that consistent musical styles are most crucial when it comes to improving concentration and promoting relaxation. Our brains produce different types of brainwaves throughout the day. Alpha waves are one of them. They are heavily associated with deep relaxation, concentration and heightened creativity. Instrumental music with binaural beats integrated is also known to be stimulants that are able to increase the production of alpha waves, thereby improving the mental awareness and overall well-being of the mind. To check out what music to listen to, click here.
- Organize yourself and your surroundings.
If you have a busy schedule, then it always helps to plan ahead. Break down your goals into smaller tasks and take them one step at a time. A useful tip would be to colour code your tasks in a journal to make them more fun and easier for you to organise (for example: red tags for what needs to be done by today, blue for those that can be put off until tomorrow, green for tasks that should be finished by the end of the week). It really lessens the amount of worrying you’ll do, knowing that you’ll have enough time to plan for that meeting next week.
In addition, a change in your environment would really help to give you a fresh perspective. If you try to look at things from a different point of view, you may suddenly realise that you have found a solution to your problem, or maybe even that your ‘problem’ really isn’t a problem at all. Moreover, it’s nice to work in a neat and clean workspace. We find that it really helps motivate us to be more productive throughout our day.
- Take a break and breathe.
It’s time to stop and take a breath. Too often, we let life brush past us because we’re too busy worrying about petty things. Take a stroll in that park near your house that you’ve never explored before. Or, stop and listen to the musician who’s playing his instrument down in the subway. Sometimes we worry about things so much, and when we stop to think carefully about it, we realise that it’s really not as astronomical an issue as you thought. So, stop and give yourself a moment. Maybe talk to someone who can understand your predicament and how you’re feeling, and ask them what they would do if they were in your shoes.
It’s perfectly alright to take a break if you’re tired. Our bodies aren’t meant to function continuously for extended periods of time. Even if you continue to work through your exhaustion, you won’t be performing at your peak and won’t be as productive as you would be if you take short breaks.
We hope that these recommendations have been helpful to you in your life as a student!