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Study Well, Stay Well

The Study Well, Stay Well guide brings together information, guidance and resources on how you can balance your wellbeing with your studies.



Self-knowledge is important for personal growth and development, decision-making and accurate self-assessment. If we understand ourselves well, we can assess our motivation, make realistic  decisions and see the long and short view when we make choices that can affect our wider lives - such as decisions on friendships, partnerships, career choices and lifestyle. 

Self-knowledge - The Basics

Why is self-knowledge important to develop?

Self-knowledge and learning go hand in hand. If we know ourselves well, we are more likely to make accurate estimations of our strengths and development needs. In terms of studying, with well-developed self-knowledge, you may be able to recognise when you are in need of extra input, when you need more guidance or information, or when you need wellbeing support. If you over-estimate your strengths this could delay seeking help at the right time to keep you on track. Self-knowledge is also important for regulating emotions and mental health. Do you know yourself well enough to be able to identify when you are coping less well and are being triggered in some way? 


Many of the skills relating to an ability to self-regulate require you to have an understanding of what’s normal for you, so that you can identify when you are straying from the norm. An example could be you usually work well, submit assignments on time, but when over stressed you flee into wasting time, doom-scrolling, and procrastination. Or perhaps you withdraw and isolate yourself from sources of support. Self-knowledge can help you to identify these patterns and react early: if we react in a timely manner, we can often prevent problems.

Developing self-awareness

It can be useful to reflect and identify for yourself what activities are energy givers. You could make a list. These are the activities to allow yourself when you want to re-energise and re-fresh so you can attack studying with renewed motivation. 

Similarly, what are your energy sappers? What activities are unproductive for you and take your energy that you could use for your studies? Identify techniques to limit the sappers and promote the energy givers. 

One of the first things you could do is to try to become more accurate in identifying your emotions. Can you name the emotion you are feeling? Is it fear, excitement, anger, nervousness, trepidation, frustration, exasperation? If you need more information on identifying emotions, check out this emotional wheel. If you can accurately identify how you are feeling, you have a better chance of having an appropriate response to the emotion.  

Identifying your strengths

It is also crucial to have knowledge about your strengths. You could take a free VIA test to assess your strengths for free. The strengths documented in this test are general and appropriate to the whole of life rather than just studying.  

We all have distinctive strengths and a constellation of personality strengths that make us unique. If you play to your strengths, you build skills and generate more satisfaction. Research indicates that when individuals use four or more character strengths in their work they have higher contentment and work motivation: work becomes a calling and is not just a job.


Your strengths could help you flourish. Flourishing is an action-based process that leads to feeling satisfaction and purpose; you can develop it and experience growth in your life and personal resilience. Martin Seligman defines flourishing as "to find fulfilment in our lives, accomplishing meaningful and worthwhile tasks, and connecting with others at a deeper level—in essence, living the 'good life’’.

Not sure where to start?

Recognising your own strengths can sometimes feel challenging. Speaking to someone else is a great way of getting a fresh perspective and can help you to generate new ideas and next steps. You can book an appointment with an Academic Skills Advisor or Wellbeing Advisor at any time to get started on developing this skill.

If you're not sure who is best placed to help, watch this short introduction to the support services at Sheffield Hallam University.

Develop your understanding

Explore our curated range of e-modules, books and learning resources to further expand your knowledge of this topic. 

Further reading