The course team would like to say a very big welcome to the new students who started on MSc Health Psychology this week, and to thank you for your attention and effort throughout induction day.
We asked you (and the new MSc Forensic Psych students) to draw us a quick sketch of your ideal MSc student. We were delighted with the results. Here is a themed flavour of what you said (as indicated, some things were mentioned repeatedly and there are some humorous suggestions):
Always being professional
Building cv – work experience, voluntary work – in the topic you are studying
Develop further analytical and critical skills
Health psychologist and research oriented
More practical knowledge/information
Sets & achieves goals
Attention to detail
Keeping to deadlines and exams
Manages time well
Plan well in advance of deadlines
Planning ahead to even out workload for each module – don’t leave it last minute
Always on time to lessons and meetings with tutors
Doh – don’t forget to back up your work!
Outlook – regularly checking emails daily
USB – save work
Good communication skills
Books n stuff
Carry books and work
Further reading on topics
Lots and lots and lots of reading
Lives in library!
The library is very well equipped but we wouldn't recommend aiming to live there.
Research & statistics
Attempt to do work if it’s not possible refer to handbook, module guide
Big step up from undergrad
Use own initiative
Just a quick observation on the notion of the independent postgraduate. Being independent doesn't mean you have to work entirely alone. Using your initiative can also include asking for more information or help when you need it. This might be asking each other but it can also mean approaching a member of staff. Being co-operative as a group and looking after yourself are important things to remember too.
Sleeping is not encouraged in class but make sure you get enough at other (appropriate) times.
This last was only mentioned once, but I think it is safe to say that your drawings are evidence of creativity at work.
Looking forward to seeing you in classes next week.
Mindfulness teacher, Health Psychologist, Lecturer, Mother (and course director for the MSc Health Psych at Coventry)
- It’s available to everyone.
Plain and simple, anyone can develop a mindful life. Who is in the shower with you? Just think about it, how much shower time do you spend focusing on the refreshing feel of the water and the scent of the soap? Or are you thinking about your boss, neighbour, mother in-law?
- It’s not about getting rid of difficult thoughts and feelings.
People come to sessions hoping to be free from suffering, and yes mindfulness will eliminate suffering to a degree, but it’s not about changing our thoughts or suppressing our feelings.
- It’s about cultivating an ability to ‘be’ with difficult thoughts and feelings.
What does a small child do if you ignore them when they cry? They just get louder and likewise regarding difficult emotions, they just become stronger. Mindfulness enables us to allow difficult thoughts and feelings to pass through, to not become stuck and repetitive.
- It’s all about the practice.
You don’t develop muscles overnight, it takes work. Mindfulness and meditation abilities improve quickly with regular practice, and that only needs to be 10 minutes a day to begin with.
- It’s about getting in touch with sensations in the body.
During meditation, being curious about ‘unsound’ tensions and pains often helps them to subside. Giving some attention to something that wants to be felt can make all the difference.
- It’s not about analysing our thoughts.
Every day we get tied up in knots trying to understand and get to the bottom of our experiences and feelings. Just sitting with your breath, focusing on sensations in the body and paying attention to an emotion can do so much more for our mental and physical health than hours of analysis.
- It’s excellent in terms of increasing awareness.
With gentle regular practice an awareness develops. An awareness and ‘wisdom’ if you like, that gives us insight, so that we react less, miss less opportunities and understand a whole lot more.
- It’s not about clearing the mind during meditation.
Honestly it isn’t! What happens if you try not to think about anything? A whole rampage of thoughts flood in. It’s like training a puppy, each time the puppy wanders off you gently bring him back. So with mindfulness, when the mind wanders kindly invite it back to the breath, to the moment.
- It’s all about calming the chattering mind.
Bringing more focus to the present moment and practicing mindfulness meditation – following the breath, just generates a calmer mind. You are retraining your mind to a natural state, from chaos to calm.
- It’s simple and effective if taught with compassion.
Mindfulness isn’t complicated and one of the most important elements when being taught mindfulness is compassion. We can do anything mindfully but with compassion we do it better.
Follow Dr Elizabeth Sparkes on Twitter: www.twitter.com/lizzeduarte
‘Mindfulness’ seems to be everywhere at the moment, though ironically this doesn’t necessarily mean it is widely practised, even by those of us who’d like to embrace it.
Students on our MSc Health Psychology course have the opportunity to learn about the theory behind mindfulness-based interventions in healthcare, as well as practical techniques. They also have a chance to critically evaluate mindfulness-based interventions and explore the evidence for their efficacy.