How to Deal with Dissertation Anxiety

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When your dissertation deadline starts to creep up on you paired with everything else you have going on, the pressure can quickly mount. If the idea of tackling your dissertation sends your alarm bells ringing, know that you’re not alone.


Understanding Anxiety

A YouGov survey of Britain’s students found that 27% of students report having a mental health problem of one type or another, with 74% reporting anxiety-related problems.

Some of the common anxiety signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy
  • A churning feeling in your stomach
  • Feeling restless or unable to sit still
  • Feeling tense, nervous or unable to relax
  • Having a sense of dread or fearing the worst
  • Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
  • Headaches, backache or other aches and pains


If you do feel like you’re struggling with the pressures of your dissertation or anything else at university, please reach out for help. Whether it’s your lecturer, a friend or a qualified professional, remember you’re not alone.


Dealing with dissertation anxiety

Though it can seem like there’s too much to take on, know that your effort will be worthwhile in the end. As you work towards achieving an excellent grade, here are some of our top tips to help you stay on top of demands.



Get your priorities in order

As a final year student, you’ve got a lot going on. It’s easy to get distracted, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed. From nights out to Netflix binges, your dissertation may require you to press pause on some things for a while. Although you don’t need to dedicate every waking hour to completing your dissertation, you need to be clear on your priorities.

Before you make a start on your dissertation, formulate a plan that you’ll actually stick to by allowing yourself time to take breaks and make time for other priorities too.


Know that doing something is better than doing nothing

You may not tick off your to-do list every day, and that’s okay. However, on the days you’re feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself that doing something is better than doing nothing.

Often, the first sentence is the hardest part. So, just give it a go and make a start. You never know; you may get a burst of inspiration and get a lot more done than you anticipated.



Break it down into manageable tasks

A dissertation is no mean feat; breaking it down into manageable tasks can help reduce any anxiety. Whether you break down your tasks into a daily to-do list or block your time each week, find a method that works for you and tackle one thing at a time.


Work when you’re most productive

Working hard isn’t always working smart. So, if you’ve found yourself sitting at your desk for hours on end yet not achieving anything, it’s a waste of your time. Rather than working all the hours and running yourself into the ground, switch your mindset to working smarter, not harder.

After years of studying, you likely know yourself pretty well. You know which hours you feel most productive, where you achieve your best work and what can help you feel focused. Take note of this and use it to your advantage. Your dissertation is marked on quality, not the number of hours you spend on it.


Take breaks!

Working smarter, not harder, allows time for breaks, well-deserved breaks. Remember that you’re not a machine and honour that with regular breaks. Step outside for a walk, cook up a nutritious meal or take an afternoon nap – whatever it is, rest is your friend!




Get an accountability buddy

If you struggle to stay on track, buddy up with a fellow student who is also taking on their dissertation so you can stay accountable. Whether you set each other challenges, hit the library together or read each other’s work, having an accountability buddy can work wonders for your result.


Lean on your support network

As we mentioned earlier, you’re not alone. If you’re struggling with your dissertation for any reason, don’t be afraid to lean on your support network. Remember, there are people on hand to help you, so you don’t have to struggle in silence. Reach out to someone you can trust and get the help you need and deserve.


At Novel, the health and wellness of our student residents is our top priority. With state-of-the-art study and fitness facilities alongside regular health & wellbeing events, all aspects of our accommodation have been designed to create happier and healthier communities.


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