Being ok with others probably means we are ok with ourselves
As social beings, our lives are essentially made of relationships: relationships with our own self, others and with the world. From the moment we are born we bond and develop relationships with family members, friends, romantic connections, teachers, university colleagues, work colleagues, etc. – our lives are a bundle of connections and relationships with everything and everyone around us. These relationships are important and shape our personality.
Spending time with those we love most makes us feel appreciated and supported. Nevertheless, relationships bring challenges and it can be tough to build new ones.
Even though it can be difficult to get out of your comfort zone, is it healthy to make an effort and invest in new relationships and to commit to engage in lasting and stronger bonds. Our well-being depends on how healthy the relationships we develop are. Being ok with others probably means we are ok with ourselves.
I had to deal with family challenges throughout my university years. Those challenges eventually became overwhelming and took a lot of headspace, which made me feel tired and less motivated to study. I soon realised this could take a toll on my academic performance and so I decided to ask a NOVA psychologist for help, and once I started sessions, they became essential: my psychologist helped me assess and deal with my situation clearly and efficiently. I even learnt how to support some of my family members. I encourage all students who might be going through a similar situation to reach out to a NOVA Psychologist because as we heard during COVID’s confinement period: everything will be ok.
Nova SBE student
We like to believe that our family is the perfect one
Growing up, we are part of a family, with different environments, and sometimes, we like to believe that ours is the perfect one. Once you go to university, you become more independent, you develop new bonds and relationships, and that might sometimes mean that you grow apart from your own family. Even though our closest family is there for support when we have a problem, we might feel like they cannot relate to what we are going through or that they might judge us, and that is when I would recommend asking a professional for advice.
All families have their own dynamics and when we realise that no one is perfect we might feel out of place and misunderstood. A Psychologist can help us find new perspectives and a healthier way of dealing with life.
I had always thought that life was meant to be faced alone and that asking for help should not be an option, whichever hurdle or challenge I came across. The Psychologist sessions made me understand that there are people who hope that you succeed, that wish you all the best and that are happy to see you enjoying yourself and truly living life. I finally realised that if I was able to find someone like that in counselling, I would surely find others who feel the same way.
At some point in our life it is natural to feel a bit lost, sad and angry at the world, however, feeling alone and misunderstood can be terrible feelings to go through. Asking for help was, perhaps, the hardest step for me to take. If you feel you need help please ask. Life should not be lived in isolation and there will always be someone willing to listen.
Friends are part of our lives in different ways
Having good friends means having people to share both good and bad moments with us throughout life. On one hand, we should feel comfortable to share our feelings, and worries with them, ask for advice, vent and have deep talks. On the other hand, they are also the ones that make you laugh, have fun and that you share a deep connection with.
Friends are part of our lives in different ways. They can emotionally help us with a specific need or facing challenges. Friends listen and give advice, which can also improve our self-esteem. Our identity, beliefs and views of the world are heavily impacted by our friends and the social context we are part of, especially during our academic journey.
Having trustworthy, respectful and accepting close friendships will most likely have a positive on us, and can be different from the relationships we share with family members or romantic connections.
Strong friendships promote health and allow anxiety to decrease. Nevertheless, sometimes individuals go through rough patches with friends, and that is a normal part of a friendship too. When we go through these difficulties with our friends, we can consider it as a growth opportunity of building stronger and deeper connections in the future.
Even when we have friends, we might, at times, feel lonely or that they are ignoring us or just not paying enough attention. If this situation and feelings sound familiar to you, speaking with a psychologist might be a good option, so you can understand what you are feeling and get support.
If you know anyone or have a friend who is currently struggling psychologically or emotionally, you can use the chat below to reach out to our team, and we will try to suggest ways on how to help your friend.
Trying to make a relationship work or dealing with a breakup can both cause distress, therapy can be helpful. During this period, you learn a lot about yourself and others – a lot of pain can be felt, and you might have many unanswered questions on your mind. A session with a therapist can help the student understand what is theirs and what belongs to others, which kind of relationships he or she establish and what sort of internal resources to recover, reorganise and align emotional experiences.
A romantic relationship plays an important part in a person’s development and in a deeper understanding of one’s self.
GAPA/GAVP – FCT NOVA Psychologist
Our love life impacts all other areas of our life
It is a big personal investment to go through university and live a full academic life. Studying requires time, motivation and a lot of dedication to complete demanding academic tasks. At the same time, our years at university are supposed to be of self-discovery and character building, of fun and of growing strong relationships with others.
Having love and affection in our lives affects our mental well-being, and it has an impact across all other life areas, especially when attending university.
If you would like to talk about your love life or if you don’t feel valued in the relationship you are currently in, you can seek a psychologist. Talking about your feelings, struggling to cope with jealousy, dealing with an abusive relationship or struggling to get over a breakup are fair reasons to talk to a psychologist who can help.
Human sexuality is complex. During our lives, we evolve and change biologically, socially, mentally and culturally
We all express ourselves in a different way, and this diversity improves our interactions and overall wellness.
Being sexually healthy is a physical, emotional, social and mental state of well-being.
By the end of 2016, I felt I was living the worst possible moment of my life. My life goal had failed, I had no future perspective and I had just started coming out to both family and friends. I had so many questions about who I was and which path I wanted to follow, and change came slow and steady. Being in therapy during that time, alongside my friends’ support was essential for me to realise what had happened and how to pull through. I also met someone very special during that period, who has been supporting me and has not left my side ever since. I healed even though it was a slow process, and I know now that I am stronger and braver to embrace new projects and redefine life goals.
NOVA FCSH student
We all have preconceived ideas about ourselves and about others
We all have preconceived ideas about ourselves and about others in terms of behaviours, traits and expectations, which are linked with gender roles, which may change according to the culture, society and/or historical context we live in. The concept of gender is also attached to relationships between men and women and is at the basis of other identity and gender expression related concepts.
Our gender is shown in the way we express ourselves, be it through our behaviour, looks (i.e. clothing), our verbal and body language. Gender expression is solely about what people can see by looking at us. Gender identity is the inward feeling of identifying as female or male.
These concepts are different from that of sex, which refers to the biological characteristics that define us as man or woman and the sexual characteristics, which are of a physical nature, that is, primary sexual traits, like internal and external genitals, and secondary sexual traits, which include muscle mass, body hair and how it is distributed, stature and voice tone.
Sexual orientation is linked with affection, that is, it refers to who people feel attracted to, either affectively or sexually, despite of what sex they may have. Sexual orientation may manifest itself in a continuum throughout one’s lifespan or it can also flow and change as time goes by.
Let 's talk about sex?
It is very normal to have questions if you are planning on having sexual intercourse or if you already are sexually active.
SASNOVA have developed a protocol for scholarship students that focuses on women’s health and that has available both gynecologist and family planning appointments.
Below are some useful links in case you want to find out more information about sexuality:
Here you will find some answers on sexual and reproductive health