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Mastering Your Mindset as a Nursing Graduate Student

As a graduate student, you may find that it is stressful to balance all of your responsibilities. However, you should not despair because it is possible to master your mindset as a nursing graduate student! By following these few simple tips, you will be able to harness a positive outlook that makes you more productive and happier. It is reasonable to think that you will find a great level of fulfillment from the time you spend earning your online nurse practitioner degree.

A nurse.
Image via Flickr by Walt Stoneburner

Always Aim for Growth

An article by Carol S. Dweck, posted on the National Association of Independent Schools website, brought out that “Many students believe that intelligence is fixed, that each person has a certain amount and that’s that. We call this a fixed mindset… Other students believe that intelligence is something that can be cultivated through effort and education… they understand that even Einstein wasn’t Einstein until he put in years of focused hard work. In short, students with this growth mindset believe that intelligence is a potential that can be realized through learning.”

Adopting this growth mindset can turn challenges and setbacks into opportunities to learn. How can you cultivate a growth mindset? Writing for Life Hack, Sharen Ross noted five ways:

  • Get expert help. If you are having difficulty with something, seek out someone who is an expert and rely on their support. For students, this expert help may come from peers or teachers
  • Look around you. When you feel stuck, actively seek out examples of people you know who prove hard work and perseverance pay off
  • Praise for effort, not skill. Think about the effort other people put into what they do instead of focusing solely on results. This may help you to take on a more positive view of your own efforts
  • Compete with yourself. On occasion, take a step back and appreciative how far you’ve come from where you started
  • Learn from failure. When something does not go as you hoped it would, analyze the situation so you will know what to do better next time

Look to the Rewards Beyond the Challenges

Your goal may be to become a nurse practitioner, but what motivated you to set that goal in the first place? Staying focused on the desired end result may be able to help you with the obstacles that crop up along the way. A Wanderlust Worker article outlined some tips to help people remain focused on their goals:

  • Write down your goals.
  • Create a mission statement. Be sure to display it someplace where it is easy to see
  • Set milestones toward your goals. Some of your milestones might be exams or school quarters, but they might be more abstract things as well. For example, you might want to master a certain nursing skill that you always wished you were better at
  • Motivate yourself. You can do this via inspirational quotes, TED talks, or other means that reinvigorate you to pursue your goals

Improve Your Time Management Skills

Relaying information from a psychology professor, an APA article stated, “Time management is especially important for graduate students because they have so many concurrent projects, and that is likely to continue throughout their careers.”

Improving the way you manage your time may play a significant role in altering your mindset in a positive way. The above-mentioned article from the APA outlined several tips for improving time management, one of which dealt with auditing your time. For a week, write down everything you do. When you know what every hour is set aside for, you can set more realistic expectations for yourself. When something messes with your schedule, reprioritize.

You also shouldn’t hesitate to use small chunks of time, such as the spare 15 minutes you have while waiting for the bus. Use that time to be productive. The article from the APA quoted a psychology professor who said, “You might be surprised at how much you can get done in a day by just using those small chunks of time to make progress on something.”

Maintain a Healthy Routine

Writing for GradHacker, one graduate student extolled the value of exercise in staying balanced. It might be difficult to find the time to work out, but the writer noted that even if you just have a few spare minutes, you can use that time to be physically active. Keeping a workout journal and setting goals for your physical health can also help.

Exercise is important for mental health. An article from the APA’s Monitor on Psychology magazine explained that it can help to enhance your mood in both the short-term and the long-term.

Eating a healthy diet also has the power to aid your mental well-being. Information from the Mental Health Foundation states, “One of the most obvious, yet under-recognized factors in the development of major trends in mental health is the role of nutrition. The body of evidence linking diet and mental health is growing at a rapid pace… A balanced mood and feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals and water.”

An article from Psychology Today listed five foods to boost mental health:

  • Fatty fish. Omega-3 fatty acids support neurotransmitter production.
  • Whole grains. These complex carbohydrates provide the glucose the brain needs to function.
  • Lean protein. Tryptophan, an amino acid, produces serotonin, which can boost your mood.
  • Leafy greens. These contain B-vitamins and folate, which have been linked to mental health.
  • Fermented foods. Foods like yogurt with active cultures and kimchi may reduce stress and anxiety hormones.

Nursing graduate school is a substantial undertaking. However, the rewards you can reap from it — including a fulfilling career and personal growth — make many people feel that the effort is worth it. As you work to obtain your Online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, strive to keep a healthy mindset.

Sources:

http://www.nais.org/Magazines-Newsletters/ISMagazine/Pages/Brainology.aspx

https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/gradhacker/mental-health-issues-among-graduate-students

http://www.lifehack.org/357234/5-ways-cultivate-growth-mindset-for-self-improvement

https://www.wanderlustworker.com/8-ways-to-stay-focused-on-your-goals/

http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2013/03/hours.aspx

http://www.gradhacker.org/2013/09/25/the-joys-of-working-out-how-i-stay-balanced-in-grad-school/

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health#1