This course is for early-career academics who want to increase their resilience and well-being.
Researchers must sustain a high level of performance, often work long stretches in isolation, and are exposed to frequent critique and tight deadlines. Given the demanding nature of the academic career and lifestyle, struggles with motivation, procrastination, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, and stress are common. However, young researchers who learn to navigate these challenges, increase their resilience, and actively cultivate well-being are likelier to thrive personally and professionally.
This workshop underscores the integral relationship between resilience and success in navigating the Ph.D. process, emphasizing the role of well-being as a cornerstone for personal and professional growth and success. It gives participants a set of evidence-based tools and strategies to recognize and counteract stress signals, manage energy, increase capacity, handle critique, maintain motivation, and overcome challenges such as procrastination, perfectionism, and self-doubt. Participants will learn about cutting-edge research on the science of well-being, habit formation, self-awareness, and self-management. Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of what they can actively do to increase their resilience and cultivate their well-being within their unique context and given their individual preferences, circumstances, challenges, and strengths.
Session 1: Establishing the Foundation for Resilience
The workshop begins by acknowledging the multifaceted nature of participants' experiences, identifying both what is working well so far and areas of struggle. Next, participants are introduced to the P.E.R.M.A+ framework, a fundamental concept from positive psychology. This framework, designed to enhance overall well-being, becomes the lens through which participants holistically assess their current state of well-being.
Subsequently, the first session delves into the initial three elements of the P.E.R.M.A+ framework, namely 1. Positive Emotion, 2. Engagement & Energy, 3. Relationships.
Positive Emotions: Participants will gain insights into the transformative potential of emotional literacy and the power behind cultivating positive emotions specifically. Participants will also learn to identify and address cognitive distortions and their related negative emotions. Understanding the roots of perfectionism, procrastination and practical strategies for overcoming them will also be covered. Moreover, the workshop will impart techniques to manage stress effectively by teaching participants how to work with their nervous system to regulate stress responses in acute situations while building long-term strategies to enhance stress resilience and prevent burnout. Engagement and energy management are explored next. Participants will learn to identify and minimize distractions and proactively manage their attention and energy. Relationships: Finally, insights from the Harvard Longitudinal Study highlight the pivotal role of relationships for well-being and resilience. Participants will undertake a relationship audit and learn how to cultivate positive relationships with colleagues and supervisors while establishing essential boundaries.
Session 2: Elevating Resilience and Empowering Growth
During the second session, the workshop delves into the last three elements of the P.E.R.M.A+ model: 1. Meaning and Purpose 2. Accomplishment and 3 Physical Health.
Meaning and Purpose: Building on Bill Damon's research on purpose, attendees explore the profound impact of meaning and purpose on resilience and well-being. Participants will do the Via Strength Assessment and explore how a strengths-based perspective to problem-solving can benefit them. Participants will also learn the science of motivation and be equipped with the tools to overcome motivational challenges they might face. Accomplishment: Next, the session transitions to accomplishment. Participants will learn how to increase their sense of accomplishment by countering negativity bias and constructively dealing with their inner critic and potential imposter syndrome. The SMART goals technique and other strategies are introduced to help bolster participants' sense of achievement and accomplishment. Physical health: The workshop culminates with a focus on physical health, offering concrete, evidence-based strategies for how participants can improve their overall physical well-being through sleep, nutrition, and movement/exercise.
Throughout both sessions, participants engage in a mix of individual reflections, self-assessments, small group discussions, and informative lectures. Additionally, hands-on activities, including stress management and mindfulness exercises, and role-playing will provide practical experiences to reinforce learning.
By the end of the workshop, participants will have a personalized self-care plan that aligns with their individual needs and aspirations. This transformative workshop equips Ph.D. students with the resilience-building tools and strategies to flourish in their academic pursuits and beyond.
During this workshop, participants will:
- Gain an understanding of the science of well-being and resilience
- Increase their overall self-awareness and understand the relationship between self-awareness, self-management, and social-emotional intelligence
- Understand the concept of P.E.R.MA+ and how it can help them increase their well-being and thrive in their personal and professional lives
- Understand the concept of energy management and its implications for productivity and well-being
- Know what they can concretely do when faced with challenges such as a drop in motivation, procrastination, perfectionism, and self-doubt.
Date: Mondays, 5th and 19th February 2024
Schedule: 9 am to 1 pm
As both an academic and a professional coach, Dr. Djahane Banoo Salehabadi has a profound grasp of the many dimensions that make up the academic experience. She has developed her coaching style and workshops based on years of experience working at universities and coaching students, postdocs, researchers, and professors. In addition to her work as an academic coach and trainer, she is the Managing Director of the Graduate School for Environment, Society and Global Change at the University of Freiburg, Germany, where she supports over 200 Ph.D. students and postdocs on their academic journey.
She received her B.A. from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude, and Phi Beta Kappa, and received her M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Cornell University in Development Sociology and Science and Technology Studies.
Dr. Salehabadi has lectured, run workshops, and coached at some of the world's top universities, including ETH Zurich, University of St. Gallen's Executive School, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Freie Universität Berlin, University of Regensburg, Hochschule Luzern, University of Freiburg, and E.P.F.L. Her research has been supported by several prestigious research grants, including funds from the U.S. National Science Foundation (N.S.F.), the Swiss National Science Foundation (S.N.S.F.), the German Academic Exchange (DAAD), as well as a number of other competitive grants and awards.
Dr. Salehabadi always stays close to her academic roots. By training and by choice, she always stays abreast of the latest research on productivity, habit formation, work-life balance, organizational development, and leadership.