Natalie, Student Wellbeing Champion, talks about the Living Life to the Full course offered by the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service…
When you are experiencing stress or going through a difficult time, you may also notice how your thoughts and cognitions are also negatively affected. Imagine walking down the street and seeing a close friend walking past. You stop to say hi and wave at them, but the person just keeps on walking without even making eye contact. You may think to yourself: “She doesn’t even say hi… she probably doesn’t like me…I won’t go out with her anymore”
Notice how those thoughts may not necessarily be rational and could be a result of negative automatic thoughts (NATs).
What is involved?
The Living Life to the Full course is a cognitive-behavioural therapy with the aim of altering unhelpful thinking and behaviour during times of distress. The programme focuses on watching your thoughts and being able to identify any NATs. Using the example above, you will be encouraged to identify the types of negative thoughts you experience and adjusting them accordingly. This means that once you notice that the thoughts are irrational, you could work on it by thinking of alternatives: “Maybe she was in a hurry… Perhaps she didn’t see me- I could message her later!”
The way we think affects our actions and emotions. The Living Life to the Full programme aims to help us understand why we feel the way that we do. The course can help us in recognising and challenging unhelpful thoughts, gaining control of our feelings, building confidence and working on practical problem solving skills that are that useful in responding to issues and demands in our daily lives.
Who is it for?
The programme is for anyone who is experiencing stress or distress as well as those experiencing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and low moods. It is also suitable for those who believe they could benefit from improving their problem solving skills, keeping their stress level under control (when it comes to exam time, you will know how to manage your stress) or just needing help in dealing with life’s challenges.
What can I expect in each session?
Living Life to the Full is a group therapy of around 8-12 people, for 2 hours once a week. It is for Cardiff University students who are also going through similar challenges. The course runs for 4 weeks, starting in October.
The activities for the sessions include helping you break out of the cycle of low mood, taking control of your life, building your self-esteem and things you can do to feel happier. It is an interactive group work with a style delivered to encourage self-help and to give guidance on practical skills to use in your everyday life. Everyone is encouraged to explore their own issues and help other group members explore theirs.
Often, when we are experiencing a mental illness or stress, it may feel like no one else around us understands what we are going through. However, group sessions are helpful if you are experiencing isolation, as it allows you to know you are not alone and there are others are also struggling and going through similar things. You also get to see a range of perspectives on your issues as well as how other people are coping with problems. Of course, it is all confidential and you do not have to share anything about yourself if you would rather not.
Find out about our other workshops and courses
Counselling Health & Wellbeing Service
If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service who can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty, however big or small.
The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service offer booked appointments via an online referral questionnaire, in which friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgmental support in a safe and confidential space. They also offer a daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place)
If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website.
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Natalie, Student Wellbeing Champion.
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including:Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.