When you’re studying a post grad, whether it be full time or part time, a taught degree or research-based, it’s easy to become so caught up in everything you have to do, you never take any time to relax! Whilst foregoing all else in preference for your studies may seem like the most logical step at the time of study, this may actually be counter-productive to your long-term study goals. Here are some reasons why, in reality, taking a bit of time out for yourself might actually be better for your studies.
To begin with, health experts have given numerous warnings about the dangers of letting yourself become overstressed. This is because stress can have a highly detrimental effect on your health, lowering your immunity and making you more susceptible to various diseases including heart disease and various viruses. To start with an extreme, stress affects your blood pressure making it more likely that you could experience a heart attack or stroke later in life. As a more immediate danger, research has shown that chronic stress can double your chances of catching a cold – which in turn can affect your ability to study.
But it’s not just your physical health that’s at stake; your mental and emotional health is also at stake. There is an undeniable link between stress and depression, stemming both from environmental and biological factors. It has been demonstrated several times that stress not only kills brain cells, but also prevents your brain from creating new ones. This phenomenon affects, in particular, the hippocampus, an area of the brain which helps you respond to stress in a helpful way. When this happens, it can have a knock-on effect on your ability to produce serotonin and dopamine, both mood-regulating chemicals an absence of which is related to depression.
Plus, it has been discovered that relaxing can actually help to boost your memory and also your critical thinking skills. Studies on mice have shown that stress affects the area of the brain which is capable of thinking in the abstract and analysing situations. Other studies indicate that even short-term stress can affect your memory and your ability to learn things. Finally, stress affects our ability to accurately weigh up the pros and cons of a given situation, which then has an adverse effect on our decision making – not ideal when you’re working on a project or trying to work out the best approach to a question in an exam!
Given all of this evidence, it would appear that any effective study or work plan must include time to relax. So book in time to watch TV, go out with friends or play online bingo on sites like Butlers Bingo. In the long run, this will have a positive effect on your overall health and your ability to think clearly and give 100% to your studies.
Source: Said B School