Counseling Center- Self Help
- Some Brief Relaxation Exercises
Planning a better time schedule (TOP)
The effectiveness of your time schedule will depend on the care with which you plan it. Careful consideration of these points will help you make a schedule which you can control and which will work for you.
- Plan a schedule of balanced activities. College life has many aspects which are very important to success. Some have fixed time requirements and some are flexible. Some of the most common which you must consider are: FIXED; Eating, organization, classes, work, FLEXIBLE; Sleeping, personal affairs, recreation, relaxation, study.
- Plan enough time in studying to do justice to each subject. Most colleges are planned (classes) to require about three hours work per week per credit in the course. By multiplying your credit load by three you can get a good idea of the time you should provide for studying. Of course, if you are a slower reader, or have other study deficiencies, you may need to plan more time in order to meet the competition of college classes.
- Stu dy at a regular time and in a regular place. Establishing habits of study is extremely important. Knowing what you are going to study, and when, saves a lot of time in making decisions and retracing your steps to get necessary materials. Avoid generalizations in your schedule such as "STUDY". Commit yourself more definitely to STUDY HISTORY or STUDY CHEMISTRY at certain regular hours.
- Study as soon after your lecture class as possible, one hour spent soon after class will do as much good in developing an understanding of materials as several hours a few days later. Review lecture notes while they are still fresh in your mind. Start assignments while your memory of the assignment is still fresh.
- Utilize odd hours during the day for studying. The scattered one-hour or two-hour free periods between classes are easily wasted. Planning and establishing habits of using them for studying for the class just finished will result in free time for recreation or activities at other times in the week. Psychologists doing research on learning have discovered that, in the long run, several short distributed sessions of study produce better results than one or two long highly concentrated study sessions.
- Be alert to studying or review that can be done while you are doing something else. Each day you do a number of routine physical tasks which require minimal intellectual involvement.
- Limit your blocks of study time to no more than 2 hours on any one course at one time. After 2 hours of studying you begin to tire rapidly and your ability to concentrate decreases rapidly. Taking a break and then switching to studying some other course will provide the change necessary to keep your efficiency. If you find that your schedule of available time requires that you do your study in long time blocks, stop for a few minutes and change activities. If you are reading, switch to writing, then to studying your notes, and finally return to your reading.
- Trade time--don't steal it! When unexpected events arise that take up time you had planned to study, decide immediately where you can find the time to make up the study missed and adjust your schedule for that week. Note the three weekend events. Most students can afford no more than two of them for recreation, but may wish to use different evenings on different weeks. This "trading" agreement provides for committing one night to study but rotating it as recreational possibilities vary.
- Provide for spaced review. A regular weekly period when you will review the work in each of your courses will help to keep you up to date. This review should be cumulative, covering briefly all the work done thus far in the semester. Such reviews will reduce the need for cramming later.
- Practice self-recitation as a device for increasing memory. Organize your notes in a question and answer form and think in terms of questions and answers about the main ideas of the material as you review weekly. When preparing for exams, try to predict the questions the instructor may ask.
- Employ the principles of self-reward and self-punishment. Be sure to keep the level of the reward/punishment appropriate to the amount of studying done, and be consistent. Treat yourself to a half-hour of television for every 2 hours of studying chemistry. Forfeit your Saturday evening movie if you don't complete your architecture project.
- Continually revise your study schedule. The more you learn about yourself and your study habits, the more you will be efficient in your use of time. Making time work for you is a skill one acquires after considerable practice.
Some Brief Relaxation Exercises
Exercise 1: (TOP)Tense-Relax. Clench your fists. While keeping them clenched, pull your forearms tightly up against your upper arms. While keeping these muscles tense, tense all the muscles in your legs. While keeping all these tense, clench your jaws and shut your eyes fairly tight. Now, take a deep breath and hold it for five seconds.... Then, let everything go all at once. Feel yourself letting go of all your tensions. Just enjoy that feeling for a minute, as your muscles let go more and more. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 2: (TOP) Heaviness and Warmth. Just imagine that your feet and legs are getting heavier and heavier and warmer and warmer. It's almost as if you are wearing some lead boots. Feet and legs, heavy and warm, heavy and warm. . . . warm and relaxed. Your forehead is cool . . . cool . . . relaxed and cool. And your breathing is regular . . . easy and regular. Just feel the warm and heaviness spread all over the body. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 3: (TOP) A favorite scene, place or person. As you're sitting quietly, recall in your mind the most relaxing thought you can. Perhaps its a favorite place (a vacation spot or somewhere you feel at peace, or whatever works for you). Take a few seconds to get that in mind . . . Now, see or imagine that in your mind. Be sure to feel those good feelings you have when you are in that place. Just let them take over your whole awareness. . . If your thoughts wander, just take them gently back to that peaceful, relaxing place. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 4: (TOP) Cool Air In. Warm Air Out. With your eyes closed and while relaxing quietly, focus on the end of your nose. As you breathe in, feel the air coming in the tip of your nose. As you breathe out, feel the air coming out the tip of your nose. . . Notice that the air coming in is cooler than the air going out. . . Gently focus on the cool air coming in, and the warm air going out. As your attention wanders, just gently bring it back to the tip of your nose. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 5: (TOP) Focus on a Word. Pick some word which has "good" vibrations associated with it-- a word which you associate with relaxation, comfort and peace. It could be a word such as "serenity," or "cool, peaceful, joy, free," etc. . . Now, just let that word hold the center of your thoughts. As your mind wanders to more stressful thoughts, gently bring it back to that word. . . After awhile, perhaps your mind will drift to other gentle, restful thoughts. If so, just let it wander. When it does drift to stressful thoughts, go back to your original word. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 6: (TOP)Breathing your Body Away. Gently focus your attention on your feet and legs. Be aware of all the sensations from your feet and legs. Now, inhale a long, slow breath, and as you do, breathe in all the sensations from your feet and legs. In your minds eye, imagine that you are erasing this part of your body. Now, as you exhale, breathe out all those sensations. . . Repeat. . . Now, with another long breath, breathe in all the parts of your body to your neck, and, as you exhale, breathe it away. Now, beginning with your fingers, breathe in your fingers, hands, wrists, and arms, and exhale them away. Now, your necks and head . . . as you breathe in, imagine your neck and head being erased and, now breathe them away. Let's go back over the whole body in one breath, beginning with the feet. A long slow breath in, and as you do, erase any little parts that still remain. Now, a long slow breath out, as you exhale all the remaining parts. Now, just sit quietly for a minute and enjoy feeling yourself relax deeper and deeper. Slowly and gently activate by breathing a little more deeply. Wiggle your fingers and toes, and open your eyes at your own rate.
Exercise 7: (TOP) Something for Use Anywhere. With practice, you will become more adept at relaxing, while awake, anywhere. As you do, here's a way to let yourself relax while going about your day. You can do it while walking, sitting in class, taking a test, on a date, etc. First, smile, to remind yourself that you don't actually have all the cares of the world on your shoulders--only a few of them. Then, take a long deep breath, and let it out. Now, take a second long deep breath, and as you let it out, feel yourself releasing the tensions in your mind and in your body. Just let yourself relax more and more, as you continue whatever you were doing.
(Adapted from David G. Danskin, Kansas State University)