Tag Archives: balance

Mental Health Series Pt. IV: Higher Education.

Certain cultures (especially parents within a culture) tend to place immense pressure on students regarding the issue of their education. From the time a child is young, it is drilled into them that they absolutely must succeed in school. The child pours

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themselves into their studies from the time they are very small. They graduate from high school and go on to college and obtain a degree. This is a tremendous accomplishment. But, oh, but you can’t stop at a Bachelor’s degree! You must go on for a Master’s! But everyone has a Master’s nowadays, right? It’s not sufficient. Go on for a PhD! Perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit. The point is, a huge emphasis is placed on education nowadays. There are many beneficial aspects to this. As with anything, there are also downfalls. Education and knowledge are immensely valuable. Much progress can be made in a person’s life and within society due to education. Yet, sometimes societal or familial pressure in this area can be overwhelming.

This pressure can plant the idea within a person’s head that their worth is based upon their performance and academic achievements. This is a lie. One’s worth is not found in the level of education they attain or how well they perform academically. A person’s worth is found in their identity as a unique child of God, created by the Most High!

Here are a few tips to practice positive mental health as it relates to academia.

  • Evaluate why you are attending school or studying your subject. As with anything, check your motivations. Perhaps you are anxious or feeling down because you are not actually following your call and are simply pursuing what your parents pressured you into. Only you can figure this out, with the help of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, the body and mind are tired, and you just may even need to take a semester off. Don’t be afraid to make the decision to change direction or to take a break, if necessary. These decisions will be difficult to make now, but will pay off immensely in the long run.
  • Live a balanced life. Do not let yourself be consumed by your studies. We all need balance in our lives. As humans, there are multiple facets to each of us. The good news is, that taking time away from studying refreshes you and allows you to return to your studies more focused. Don’t lose who you are as you go about your academic program. One day you will graduate (it’s true!), and life will go on without school. Even while you are attending school, it’s important to take care of your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health. I’ve found that having some sort of creative outlet is helpful as well. Even as a student, you are building habits that will carry into life after school.
  • Don’t be afraid of failure, or what appears to be failure. Despite your best efforts, you may not pass a test. A paper may come back with a less than stellar grade. Your thesis or dissertation may need extensive rewrites or even be rejected. Someone I know spent 5 painstaking years of his life for a PhD that never materialized. After this experience, he discovered great joy and a calling to teach non-native speakers of English. We are human, and the fact is that life sometimes involves failure. Sometimes failure actually becomes success, as we find a new path to follow with joy. It may simply be a learning experience that teaches you to go about studying in a different manner next time.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This may seem like a silly tip. Yet we forget sometimes or refuse to ask for help! We could go a lot further if we asked for help. Perhaps this means meeting with your professor or academic adviser. It could mean admitting to yourself that you need to utilize the tutoring center. It could also mean counseling if you are struggling immensely with stress in your life. Importantly, it definitely means praying and asking God for help on a consistent basis! Being a student is not an easy vocation!
  • Remember who you are and Whose you are. Your parents may be upset that you received less than A’s, or that you choose a different program than they planned for you since the cradle. There are numerous scenarios that can occur. Always lean on your Savior and remember that your value is found in His love. A bunch of letters after your name or publications in prestigious journals won’t go with you to the grave. Only our relationship with Christ will be eternal.

Depend on God to help you with your academics as you put forth your best effort! Remember who you are and Who created you! Live a balanced life, not forgetting other aspects of yourself.

(Note: A dear reader requested this topic. A very important and necessary topic, for sure! I hope that I provided something helpful for you in this post!)

Next up: finance and mental health!

Past posts from the series:

Mental Health Series Pt. 1: Relationships

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling

Mental Health Series Pt. III: Faith

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Air, Tires, and Balance.

Today I went to fill my car’s tires with air. The temperature around here has fluctuated a lot, which can cause changes in tire pressure. The optimal

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measurement of my tires (PSI) is 32. Each tire was off by about 5 PSI. I was shocked when I came to the last one. The starting measurement was 12–20 points off where it should have been! All sorts of problems can happen when tire pressure is off. The way in which the tires drive becomes imbalanced, which can cause uneven wear on tires. It can affect gas mileage, causing you to spend more money and pollute the environment even more. In a bad case, it can even cause a tire blowout. This would be very dangerous. (Thank You, God, that I could fill all my tires today & hopefully avoid some sort of accident or adverse affect.)

I thought about our balance as humans. We may not even realize how off balance we are. We may be running but we are not running well. This can happen for many reasons. Imbalance in one area causes us to be off-balance in all the other areas.

  • Do you need more food that is nourishing to your specific body?
  • Are you lacking warm, positive relationships in your life?
  • Do you need to spend more time with the positive people in your life?
  • Are you struggling with bad habits that perpetually hold you back and leave you frustrated with yourself?
  • Has it been too long since you enjoyed one of your hobbies or creative outlets?
  • Do you feel distant from God and so are distancing yourself from prayer or Scripture?
  • Are financial troubles causing you stress?
  • Have news outlets, media, and current events drained you emotionally or left you angry and disillusioned?
  • Is there just too much on your plate right now?

Perhaps you are feeling off-balance. Or perhaps you are off-balance but haven’t taken the time to realize that’s what’s going on.

Take some time. Pray. Evaluate the different areas of your life. Figure out what’s going on and how you can achieve your balance once again. Like cars, we have many different aspects of ourselves. They all must be cared for and put into their proper place in order for us to live our fullest life.

How are you going to find balance in your life again?

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