Author Archives: Mohammad

Mental health tips for a better PhD experience

Thank you very much Catherine that you discussed personal issues on this blog, this may inspire others to seek catharsis and gives me the chance to share while I am overseas. I learned personally much from your wise opinion and advice. I have no doubt that you will be a famous and successful Dr. soon. No one of us is strong in all aspects of life!! This is part of our nature as a human being. I don’t like mathematics and numbers; so I studied mental health which more about communication, while my wife enjoys solving difficult maths formulas ( she is wonderful maths teacher).

I think that without unpleasantness, no one will value happiness. Please imagine if you got a PhD without effort, it would not make sense. We will enjoy the success more after beating the challenges. This will increase our self esteem later on. We may share in the future how to solve health problems of other people. Our research findings may make a difference. We may lead research themes or projects later on. I think Dr. will be the first step of how to learn in a better way!!! I think the PhD will be a step to achieve our dreams….

As mental health nurse  I am able to give some tips related to writing during a PhD which may be useful to all colleagues:

1- Try to create motivation to yourself to finish your project. For example,   imagine that you are receiving your PhD certificate with all your friends clapping hands and you receiving wonderful congratulations.

2- Try to nurture yourself after each time you write something. For example, say “I will do my favourite activity if I write something” and if you don’t write, please don’t punish yourself.

3- Cheat your unconscious. For example, always say in a loud voice “I love writing and I very much enjoy writing in my project”. Try to talk daily about positive issues in writing to those around you.

4- Try to write upon your bed or desk positive words that your unconscious will read many times daily.

5- Try to listen to why other people like writing and how they deal with the PhD blues.

6- Try not to touch your project until you are in a good mood. Your unconscious will combine happiness and your project. If you don’t feel happy please try to fix your mood and come back.

7- Try to ask yourself, “what is my best manner to write?” For example, in summer I enjoy writing while I am naked on my bed!!!

8- Ask yourself “When I am more productive in writing? during morning, evening or at night?” Write according to your productivity.

9- 60% of academic achievement is based on psychological well being and the environment surrounding the student. Please try to solve any social difficulties to be able to focus on the academic issues only.

10- Try to do regular exercise, meditation, sleep 6-8 hours and eat healthily.

11-  Daily positive imagination is very important; try to taste the sweetness of success. After doing it many time you will feel the taste more and more.

12- Most of our internal dialogue is negative. This may be shocking; we should work hard to change our mentality and think in positive ways. For example: try to listen to your internal dialogue while you open your eyes and get up from bed, you may tell yourself that it’s too cold outside and I would like to stay in bed more…… but ohh I have much to do today…. ohhh.

13- Try to focus on positives only in your life and your project. if your mind focuses on something you will see it more.

14- We should try to put goals in our life to beat the boredom. It should be clear in your mind why your need the PhD challenge? What will a PhD add to me? Write it down by your bed or on your desk.

I hope some of the above may be useful. I love positive psychology  and I would like to thank Cath for opening this door of discussion.

A message from Palestine

I am a full-time PhD student fully funded from Annajah National University, Nablus City in occupied Palestine. I have been a registered Staff Nurse in governmental and non-governmental hospitals for 11 years, working across a wide range of specialisms. In addition I worked as a lecturer within the School of Nursing at Annajah National University. I have taught many theory and clinical courses at Undergraduate and Master’s level, including clinical instructor for the MSc in the Community Mental Health Nursing Program and clinical instructor of nursing students (BSc) at undergraduate level.

My PhD research topic is ‘The Resiliency of Palestinian community mental health nurses in occupied Palestinian territories’. The objective of the study is to discover the sources of resiliency among nurses who have worked in very difficult conditions under occupation. The findings will be used to focus on and develop interventions to support nurses.

I have embraced life and study in Cardiff University. I found an excellent learning environment, warmth, support and a wonderful welcome from the Postgraduate department and colleagues. From the first day I recognized how much I have to learn from the excellence of this country in most aspects of lifestyle. I was learning new things continuously, always asking “why?” about unfamiliar things! Trying to get answers and understand the surrounding culture. Therefore, the first year may be the most exciting one in my life.

My willingness to learn and to develop myself always pushes me forward in spite of many challenges. Now I return home to collect my data and I am preparing for research ethics committee approval before I start collecting data. My positive experiences during the past year in lovely Cardiff inspire me to produce high quality data and achieve my goals. There will be other kinds of challenges during the second phase of the PhD project. I hope everything will go well and I will return back to the UK with my family to discover new things.

According to the Palestinian culture there is a saying: “Any one teaches me something, I will be his servant!” thank you for the Cardiff people who teach me many things. Deep thanks for PhD department at nursing school that are role model for others…..they grasp my hand from the first day; they are important source of resiliency for me. I hope one day I will do something positive to show my deep appreciations.

Many people came to my house to say welcome back as a part of our culture. All of them ask the same questions: “How is Cardiff and the UK? Tell us about the life in UK?” My background is lecturer, so it was my chance to teach and talk about invaluable Welsh culture!

I visited Annajah National University and discussed with my colleagues how to develop some aspects at Annajah. We started to compare between Cardiff and Annajah University, exchange ideas and think how to develop networks in the future. Annajah is the biggest University at Occupied Palestinian territories and able to survive and thrive in spite of much challenges. Annajah is considered role model of Sumud (close to resilience and steadfastness on the land), the story of Annajah development is shining example creating success inside surrounding challenges. All of my colleagues express the importance of studying the resilience of Palestinians and how it’s embedded in their Sumud culture. I hope my study will make difference to humanity and my experience in Cardiff city will make a difference to the Palestinians as well.