Wellness, Productivity, Balance for Graduate Students and Beyond

Bad Thoughts: A #MindfulPhD Post

This is in no way a comprehensive list of bad thoughts I've had about my PhD life.

I should be working more.

I'm not working hard enough.

If I were smarter, I wouldn't have to work this hard.

I don't have enough time.

I'll never finish this. 

I should have started this earlier.

I hate myself for not starting this earlier.

Everyone else has started already.

I will never catch up. 

I will never get a job.

I am unemployable. 

I'm a bad teacher.

If I were a better teacher, my students would like me more. 

If I were a better writer, my advisor would like me more.

My advisor hates my writing.

My advisor hates me because my writing is so bad.

I'm ashamed to let anyone see this.

This isn't PhD material. 

I'll never be PhD material.

I shouldn't have taken that time off.

Taking that time off really put me behind.

I'll never catch up. 

Things that help. 

Writing down negative/swirling thoughts as they happen to make them external as well as internal helps.

Noticing patterns in my thoughts, and how those patterns correlate (or not!) to other sensations or triggers helps. 

Taking time to see if there are any more positive thoughts, and paying attention to those as well helps.

Reminding myself that my thoughts aren't necessarily true, or valid representations of the situation helps. 

Talking about the most persistent patterns in the thoughts with people I trust, and mental health practitioners helps. 

Treating all thoughts as thoughts, neither good nor bad, helps.