Working towards a PhD can be an intimidating task, with many challenges along the way. PhD is a long-term commitment that one has to make with lots of sacrifices. A PhD demands:
- Good health ( Necessary as the Researcher has to work for long hours in front of desktop, may lead to sleeplessness, cervical spondylosis etc. ).
- Good memory power ( Researcher has to face doctoral committee, conference presentations, thesis presentations, grant proposal presentations; Questions posed in presentations must be answered by recalling the concepts studied at various times).
- Creative thinking ( Patents or copyrights wont happen without creative thinking ).
- Time (4–6 years, at an age when one wants to earn, marry, be independent, support family).
- Sacrifice (All family occasions, tours, remunerative works compromising or tuning your habits with your’s supervisor/teacher)
- Humble( Keeping aside ego, adjusting to supervisor’s requirements)
- Skills (usually no one is there to teach you the relevant ones).
- Consistency (In carrying out work, writeup, in presenting the things).
PhD researchers are more prone to mental and physical related issues more than any other educated general population. Based on one study a PhD research scholar is likely to develop mental health problems 2.4 times more than those in the general population with an undergraduate degree. Results based on 12 mental health symptoms showed that 32% of PhD research scholars are at risk of having or developing a common psychiatric disorder, especially depression.
The main lesson a PhD student must learn is how to find inner reserves of patience: this is a long haul and you will find that keeping up your spirits, momentum and health become as important as keeping your eye on the topic of study. The potential for loosing your patience, losing your interest, losing your health, and even losing your thinking capability is very high, evidence of which is the dropout rate among researchers and the considerable number who take longer than the formal completion period.
A Researcher has to persistently keep working with either laptop/desktop constantly looking at the screen. This may lead to many physical and psychological issues at the earlier stage in their life. Above all as it is a secluded work where, a research scholar always feel beleaguered and frazzled. During the course of his/her research work, the researcher may come across few of the following warning signs which should not be overlooked.
- Unable to concentrate and focus on work
- Unable to get good sleep
- Feeling of insecurity, failure and frustration
- Mental and physical exertion
- Feeling overwhelmed and confused
We need to identify those negative associations that have tainted the picture of Ph.D. over time, and then set them to one side. There are tools and techniques out there that can help us to restructure our research life and reshape our attitude. We simply need to identify what works best for us individually.
Wavering focus due to physical and mental ailments is one the main reasons for the poor performance in research. Of the various focus improvement options available today, I felt yoga and pranayama are probably some of the oldest and time-tested methods that can take you closer to your goal. Though it may seem that yoga is more of a physical workout technique, it works on the mental level too. It makes the body more flexible and improves the immunity level. It also alleviates stress, relieves the nerves and calms the mind.
Yoga is a great combination of body movements, breathing and meditation. It is a powerful therapy to deal with physical pains, stress, anxiety, fatigue and depression. It is a modern way to stay fit in a busy schedule and gain rejuvenation of body and mind. You can perform it anywhere according to the availability of the space and time. Yoga helps to gain mental peace, stress reduction and improve psychological performance of the person. Performing yoga will help a researcher to struggle with difficult situations.
Practicing yoga at least one hour daily will make a great impact on the mood of a researcher. One can notice the significant reduction in depression and anxiety as well. Stress is a hidden enemy which not only affects your mind but also affect functioning of the body. Peace of mind is a basic requirement of the researchers and that can be easily achieved with the help of yoga. Regular practice of yoga releases emotional burdens and improve the capacity to focus on the work. Through yoga you will learn the skill of balance between physical, mental and spiritual functioning.
According to the psychological research ‘researchers having low stress can perform better than others’. It is already proved that stress and depression always make the negative impact on the academic performance of the students. While researcher goes through various challenging situations, yoga can help them to achieve improved confidence and peace of mind. Apart from mental stress researchers also face many physical problems including loss of sleep due to longer working hours, neck pain due to constant sitting for the long time headache due to continuous thinking and eye burns due to the long time computer work. Yoga can be a suitable cure for all these physical issues affecting fitness of the body.
To sum up top benefits of the yoga are
- It improves concentration
- It improves the psychological, mental and physical well being
- Yoga reduces anxiety, stress and depression
- It boosts self-confidence and improves memory power
- It helps to calm your mind and alternately helps to gain peace of mind
- Yoga provides the energy to struggle with various physical as well as mental traumas.
Process of Ph.D. is definitely time consuming and stressful but definitely worth of investing precious time and efforts. There are lots of hurdles you will face at every step going towards success. Handling the difficult situations wisely is an amazing skill. If simplest tool like YOGA can help you to gain most demanding things in your life in current period like peace of mind, stress less life and fitness of the body, then it is always preferable to GO FOR IT.
In my KINDLE E-BOOK “UNLOCK YOUR RESEARCH POTENTIAL THROUGH YOGA” , I have listed and explained specific set of yogasanas and meditation techniques which can really help a researcher to come out of his research related issues in a better way. The Kindle E-Book is available