Health and Wellbeing

Living Life to the Full

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 the Living Life to the Full course?

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 6 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.



How can I book my place?

You can find out about all our workshops and courses, and sign up to the Living Life to the Full course here.


Contacting Counselling Health and Wellbeing

If you are struggling to improve your wellbeing, please know Cardiff University Support Services are here for you – there is no problem too big or too small and we would be happy to provide you with some support. We offer a range of flexible support options including:

Bookable appointments are available via our online referral questionnaire. We also offer a Wellbeing Walk-In Service, Monday to Friday, 3pm to 3.45pm and Wednesday mornings, 9.30am to 10.15am, at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place.  We also hold a walk-in service at our Student Support Centre in Cardigan House at the Heath, on Wednesday afternoons 3pm to 3.45pm.

 Watch our video and see for yourself that we have friendly and approachable staff. Staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space.

If talking to a member of staff is something you are not sure about, why not chat to one of our Student Wellbeing Champions. They are trained student volunteers who can signpost you to support, offer you a peer ear and give you basic health and wellbeing advice. If you would like to see our Champions in action, check out their video.

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 to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice – Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.


Your feedback and help please

Have you found this blog post useful?  Please help us by commenting in the bar below, and note any questions there too.

To help us aid more of your fellow students please re-tweet or share this post by using the share buttons or via twitter and facebook.


Best wishes

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.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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