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Personal development | Working effectively

PhD Candidates: Get more success with less stress

If you want your PhD trajectory to be a success, mental and physical health are essential. In this course, you will gain insight into how to take more care of your mental well-being. You will also be provided with practical tools.

Target group
PhD candidate
Agnes van Rossum  (Psychologist for PhD candidates)
Training course
Maximum 8 participants

For whom?

This course is open to all Leiden University PhD candidates, regardless of their contract type. It is recommended for candidates who suffer from work pressure and related stress. 

  • Do you regularly doubt you are doing well enough (fear of failure)?
  • Do you feel insecure and often anxious (e.g. about ‘what others might think of me’)?
  • Are you very critical of yourself and prone to perfectionism?
  • Do you tend to procrastinate and get distracted easily?
  • Do you feel very tired and find it difficult to relax?
  • Do you worry a lot and have trouble sleeping?
  • Is your concentration decreasing and is it getting harder to focus on your tasks?
  • Are you becoming increasingly demotivated and notice that you are less productive?
  • Are you experiencing less and less pleasure in your work?

Do you recognise yourself in several of these questions? It is important to realise you are not alone. This course will give you insight into your behaviour and thinking patterns and provide simple concrete, helpful tools to change ineffective behaviour, negative thinking and insecure or anxious feelings.

Topics covered

  • Gaining insight into yourself, your core values and core qualities.
  • Recognising signs of stress and tools to learn to deal more effectively with stress.
  • Practising different relaxation exercises to help you to relax.
  • Understanding procrastination and tools to help you focus on your tasks.
  • Gaining insight into how your beliefs and negative thoughts influence your feelings and behaviour, and learning how to change these thinking patterns.
  • Learning to stand up for your own needs and communicating this constructively to others.
  • Learning about the factors involved in fear of failure.
  • Learning how to focus on successful experiences. What works? How did you achieve it? 

The course is a mix of theory and practice. You will receive information and exercises to work on between sessions. The workload will be around 35 hours in total (including 7 x 2.5 hour live sessions)

Results of the course

Participants will: 

  • gain insight into their own core values and qualities and learn to think better of themselves;
  • gain insight into their behaviour, beliefs and feelings and learn better how to cope with them;
  • learn to recognise their own stress signals, feelings, and tendencies to procrastinate and how to deal with them better;
  • experience more self-compassion and self-confidence; 
  • be better able recognise their own needs and communicate these more assertively; 
  • be able to focus more on what succeeds; 
  • become acquainted with a group of young researchers as an important source of support and have the opportunity to further shape support from this group; 
  • gain a sense of connection as not being the only person struggling with these issues.

The results of the course may vary from participant to participant.

How to register

  • Send an email to phdpsychologist@SEA.leidenuniv.nl with subject line Course: Get more success with less stress
  • In your e-mail, briefly explain why this course will be useful for you. 
  • Places will be allocated according to order of application and suitability for the course.

Testimonials from participants

'I am now more aware of how I think, and I realize that my thoughts strongly affect my feelings. I have learned how to create more balanced thoughts. I have also learned how to focus on things that are in my control and how to regulate physical feelings of stress by breathing.'

‘I learned quite a bit, like, learning, recognizing and accepting about my own emotions, not be afraid of them, also learn how to deal with many of the emotions. How to take actions to help me improve myself to deal with procrastination. Learn about my self worth and try to be more understanding, patience and loving with me in general. To be more aware of my body specially when I feel stressed and take some moments to take care of it.’

It was so much better than I was expecting we covered so many relevant topics and it was a really nice training to be a part of.’

‘Het hielp me om te merken dat ik niet de enige ben in deze situatie. Dat alleen al gaf veel rust.
Ik sta sterker in mijn schoenen en durf vaker (mijn) echte mening te geven, nee te zeggen. Ik ben ook beter geworden in self-care. Ik heb ook veel meer rust in mijn hoofd en minder stress. Heel fijn!’

‘De cursus heeft mij van veel dingen meer bewust gemaakt, bijvoorbeeld communicatie met anderen en in mijzelf. Hierin ben ik mij bewuster van wat anderen tegen mij zeggen en probeer ik dit meer lost te koppelen van mijn eigen interpretatie en gevoel. Betreft communicatie met mezelf ben ik me veel bewuster van de negatieve manier waarop ik tegen mezelf praat.’

‘ Interessante onderwerpen en relevant voor PhD’s. Fijn dat er hele concrete tools worden aangereikt. Fijn om tijdens de bijeenkomst af en toe naar buiten te gaan.’

Further information

Visit the webpage of the psychologist for PhD candidates for further information and advice. 

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