I really resonated with this post I came across on instagram (I can’t find the original source of the quotation). Yes, what price the ‘success’ of submitting the latest chapter if it leaves you exhausted with jangling nerves and unable to think clearly about your next step?
The PhD, as we know, can be a rollercoaster. The constant demands, research setbacks, and academic pressures can keep your nervous system in a heightened state. Over the long-term, a system on perpetually on high alert can have significant consequences including burnout.
Most importantly for researchers, high-stress levels can impair your ability to think deeply and creatively. Your mind becomes preoccupied with worries and anxieties, making it challenging to engage in the profound, contemplative thinking that is often required in research.
The paradox is that the best work, the most innovative research, and the most profound insights often come from a place of calm, rather than stress. By nurturing a calm nervous system, you open the door to greater creativity, resilience, and well-being in your academic journey.
This month, as the academic year picks up speed, might be a good moment to think about how you might cultivate consistency and calm for yourself.
If you do want to explore this, the October PhD Book Club text might be of interest. We will be discussing ‘The Practical Science of Buddha’s Brain: Happiness, Love and Wisdom’. The book is written by a neuropsychologist and a neurologist and draws on research material to explore how you can reprogramme your brain in a way that brings a greater sense of well-being and peace of mind.
We will be meeting at 8pm BST on Thursday October 19th. You do not need to have read the book to join us. If you would like to attend you can sign up for PhD Book Club here: https://mailchi.mp/cfc4bd3178bd/phd-book-club
Wishing you a fabulous and calm October!