Self help materials
The activities and information on this page may be used to help you develop your skills in various areas or to manage various difficulties in your life. The menu below includes information, exercises, work sheets, experiments and activities, all of which can be tried at home and require no additional help. You may however find it helpful to have some guidance with the materials, in which case, feel free to contact the Counselling Service for advice or (if you are a student) to arrange an appointment.
What is the Difference between Depression and just being Sad?
The following video outlines the main symptoms of depression and explains the difference between depression and sadness.
NHS portal with a variety of self-help resources from general information about low mood and depression to links on healthy diet, reducing your alcohol intake and getting regular exercise. There is also available a trove of self-help techniques such as meditation, breathing exercises and learning ways to think about problems differently.
Another great NHS portal with a variety of self-help flyers covering from abuse to depression, anxiety and alcohol misuse. The flyers can be downloaded for free as pdf or purchased for a minimal fee in a hard copy format.
Happiness & Money
This short talk, by psychotherapist Hugh Clarke, looks at the relationship between happiness and wealth. It also looks at some of the qualities that psychologists have identified as important in achieving happiness.
Homesickness and loneliness
Studying abroad and feeling down?
University can be difficult. For international students, the extra obstacles that come with adjusting to life in a new country, often in a new language, can heighten feelings of homesickness, sadness or depression. Please check the following website for more information on how to support youself.
Creating Confidence is a useful guide to international students, getting to grips with life in the UK.
Loss and bereavement
Death is generally thought of as an almost intolerable idea that requires us to keep as much distance from it as possible. Our leaflet on bereavement and loss , gives you some information about the psychological issues involved in bereavement and dying. It also gives some practical suggestions about what to do.
Please check our 'Mind your head' student guide to mental health.
This booklet is produced for students by the Public Health Authority (PHA). It is full of practical tips and information on managing stress and achieving and maintaining positive mental health and emotional wellbeing. It also contains a list of helpful local organisations and websites which offer support.
Mindfulness and meditation techniques
Mindfulness Based Progressive Muscular Relaxation is intended to help you become more aware of where your tension lies, to slow down and to feel more relaxed. It may also help you to identify, monitor and release your body tension. However, this is not an instant fix. It is important to practise daily for at least 15 minutes.
Mindfulness based muscular relaxation
Mindfulness based progressive muscular relaxation instructions on using the audio track can be downloaded and used on a regular basis, to help you ease tension in your body and to settle your anxiety. You should read the accompanying notes before completing the exercises. The session lasts approximately 30 minutes.
Guided sensory meditation
This guided meditation lasts about 30 minutes and is based upon sensory and inner body experience.
As you follow the instructions, be aware that you are not attempting to achieve anything in particular. You are not seeking enlightenment, happiness nor peace of mind. You are merely observing what is happening and at four levels: (a) your senses, (b) your feelings, (c) your thoughts and (d) your inner body experience.
Audio files of relaxation techniques developed by NHS professionals that can help relieve stress and gain a sense of well-being. Available in both male and female voices.
This manual, produced by the NHS (UK), is designed to help you understand and overcome your panic attacks. You should read it through and slowly complete the activities included.
NHS portal with a variety of self-help resources from general information about stress and panic attacks to links on improving general wellbeing through Regular exercise, eating healthily, avoiding substance misuse, e.g. caffeine, alcohol and smoking, or seeking support through support groups such as No Panic.
Physical and sexual violence
Rape & sexual assault
Video of a student who was raped in her first term at university, and spent years asking herself what she could have done to prevent it. After therapy, and now studying for a masters in trauma psychology, she explains why so many rape survivors blame themselves. And, she argues, situations like hers are more common than we think...
Relationships and group work
This information sheet tells you about some of the relationship dynamics which commonly happen in groups of all kinds and explains how to manage these dynamics better.
Self-esteem and confidence
The ten tips included, give you advice on how to be more assertive in your life. The session also explains the differences between being assertive and being aggressive. It is helpful to look at these tips in conjunction with the tips on working in groups. Give it a go!
Sex & Sexual Orientation
A frank and open guide to sex, love and you. It is for people who are (or are thinking about) having sex and relationships. Hopefully it is for all genders and sexualities, people with disabilities and asexual people. It is also aimed at people from different backgrounds, with varying beliefs and values.
The following information and activities are intended to help you gain a better understanding of relaxation and your sleep patterns and to find ways of resolving any sleep problems you may have.
Stress and anxiety
If followed diligently, these 10 tips will possibly help you manage exam preparation and stress better, leading to better success.
Working towards exams can creating feelings of worry and being under pressure, especially at university where you are aiming for a degree. However there are a range of things that you can do to help deal with the stress that you might be feeling...
NHS portal with a variety of self-help resources from general information about recognising anxiety symptoms, accessing therapeutic support, e.g. CBT, Counselling, to links on improving general wellbeing through Regular exercise, eating healthily, avoiding substance misuse, e.g. caffeine, alcohol and smoking, or seeking support through support groups such as No Panic.
Social anxiety is a very common experience, yet many people make it worse by believing it to be unusual. This document talks you through some of the issues involved and suggests some strategies for tackling the difficulty.
This information and self-study guide has been written for the Centre for Clinical Interventions with information about social anxiety and strategies for managing your anxiety in social situations. It is organised into modules which are designed to be worked through in sequence. It is recommended that you complete one module before going on to the next. Each module includes information, worksheets, and suggested exercises or activities.