Tension headaches haunt me. The pulsating knot on my forehead compounds when I get frazzled.
A frequent reason for my frustration with studying is the thought that x friend is studying faster than me. Whether that be memorizing definitions effortlessly, or simply understand a concept faster, I grind my teeth and ask myself why I cannot do the same.
In my opinion, the biggest challenge in studying is overcoming the self-critic that relentlessly engages in comparison—assessing the disjointed connection between the time x spends on studying and their relative test results.
I am disclosing the attitude shift that enables me to maximize the utility and enjoyment of studying. This is not a mere study skill, this is the mindset necessary to study well with good mental health.
Here are the 3 steps to actualize Study Well with Good Mental Health
You, as an individual, are so nuanced and endlessly fascinating
Think about all your quirks, hidden talents—mine is imitating cat noises—and unique preferences.
Eg. I am strangely sensitive to colour and one’s voice; I capture my feelings with curious metaphors—I am so much more than my ability to take notes speedily, how fast I read, and my memory.
You are more than the time it takes you to study.
The reminder that your entire self-worth is not dependent on the speed is a reality check that keeps my emotions steady and grounded.
Self-love! (no face masks or bath bombs)
I define self-love as doing something that floods your body with contentment. There is a key difference between content and pleasure as the latter is an immediate rush that is followed by a crash.
Think chocolate, alcohol, and gambling for pleasure.
Think fulfilling, long-lasting activities like reading or painting for content.
When you engage in activities that bring contentment, it can prevent burnout by kindling happiness that has a sustained, warm glow.
Meaningful pauses from studying filled with self-love are restorative.
No studying is ever a waste! (Yes, I just said that)
I hear it all the time—“Oh, I memorized that for nothing”—“I can’t believe they didn’t test that, I spent hours on that material”
There is intrinsic, immeasurable value in pushing through hardships and studying the material that you may not be interested in the slightest!
As individuals, we are always learning. From past experiences, and about ourselves. In understanding what it takes to push through seemingly never-ending material, you are getting prepared for the peaks and troughs of life.
Furthermore, knowledge enriches human life. I would argue that you are adding to reason, perception, and judgement with the accumulation of knowledge.
What if I forget the information? That must mean it becomes meaningless right?
No, because the information is often lodged in the unconscious. When there is a trigger, the information will resurface and serve you.
These 3 steps helped me achieve greater inner strength and keep me sane!
Invest in yourself and your mind. Happy Studying!
Written by: Isabella Li