Dissertation Tips & Suggestions

1) Save your hands. I can not tell you how many students and peers have developed RIS (repetitive injury syndrome)/ Carpel Tunnel Syndrome from typing. Use voice activated software whenever possible. On a Mac you just press the little "fn" key twice in the left corner. I highly recommend using an ergonomic split key keyboard. Start now BEFORE you develop problems. I recommend this one which has a USB port hidden inside the mouse (and a mouse). 

2) You have enough reading to do but this book is a really useful and supportive tool: Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day: A Guide to Starting, Revising, and Finishing Your Doctoral Thesis by Joan Bolker

3) Background noise and music. Experiment with what works for you but these are two free programs that can be useful: Coffitivity simulates the sound of coffee shops. Focus@will has different music programs, including classical. Pandora Radio also has classical music stations and stations for studying.

4) Useful softwareLiterature and Latte has several useful features, one is called Scapple where you can make a construct map. Workflowy is also useful for making lists and organizing ideas under headings. You can use Dropbox to back up your writing. Make sure you always back everything up, even if you simply email your document to yourself. 

5) Keep a journal or a blog: outside of your writing, keep a personal journal to keep track of your thoughts, grapple with your ideas, record your hopes and goals and vent your frustrations. This writing will inform your academic writing.

You may contact us if you are interested in dissertation coaching and check back here for more tips.

By Dana Blu Cohen PsyD

Creating the Space to Listen to your Intuition as a form of Activism

Our modern lives are filled with the constant stimulus of e-mail, social media, and TV advertisements. In fact, 73% of Americans go online daily, with one fifth saying they are online “almost constantly”.

And while technology has wonderful aspects in other ways it is personally and collectively detrimental to our wellness. As a culture we are now so connected digitally yet struggle to really feel connected within our selves and with each other.

This unhealthy attachment to technology is diminishing our capacity to tolerate silence. If we have no silence inside ourselves we can’t hear our own intuition and inner voice. In order to hear our intuition we must create the space to among the constant noise and chatter of our lives.

In fact, the corporate world we live in is invested in keeping us hooked to this never-ending stimulus in order to show us advertisements and keep us as consumers. The more disconnected we are from our selves and each other the more unsatisfied we feel. This dissatisfaction makes us easier prey to buy the latest and greatest thing to fill the gnawing hunger. 

We can resist this paradigm by unplugging, practicing meditation and mindfulness as ways of creating more space in our lives and room to hear our own inner knowing and finding the things that truly bring us happiness. The more space you create the more you can hear your intuition - which is a quieter voice.

You can begin by carving out five minutes a day to practice feeling your breath, tuning in to your body, and listening to the sounds in nature. Try this every morning when you wake up before reaching for the phone, every night before bed and by taking a pause throughout the day. Find small ways to cultivate space and silence in your day.
Try this at home: 
* At this moment close your eyes and put your hand on your belly, take three deep breaths feeling your belly rise and expand, feel your body against the chair you are sitting on, hear the noises in your background, feel your in-breath and out-breath. 
* Take inventory on the ways your media consumption is enhancing or diminishing your life.  
* Begin reflecting on how these principles resonate with you and stay tuned for the next step, connecting with your body and sensations. 

by Dr. Dana Cohen PsyD