Preparing for exams can be stressful for anyone. So many grounds to cover, the worries about the outcome of the exam and expectations from tutors and family can easily have you feeling pressured. At that point, any effective stress-busting technique is welcomed. If, on the other hand, you’re a parent looking for ways to help your child cope with stress, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we’ll go through some mindful and useful techniques to help you deal with exam stress as a student. These techniques will help you stay calm, sustain your attention, and boost your focus.
Build Up Self-Belief
Positive self-talk is a lot more effective than we realize, especially in stressful situations. The technique reminds you of the things you achieved that day or long before. Adopting a go-to positive and personalized mantra such as “I am, I can, I believe I can do my best, I will” can help you build up your self-belief during the period. Repeating personalized phrases repeatedly for as long as possible (days, weeks, months, doesn’t matter) will help you drown out negative thoughts and increase your positivity.
Even in life beyond the exam stress, the power of self-belief and positive thinking cannot be overemphasized. Instead of constantly worrying your mind over the same thing, break the negative cycle by training your brain to think in a positive and uplifting way.
Another way to build up your self-belief besides the positive affirmation is to envision the results you want rather than thinking about the results you’re terrified of. Picture everything working and believe it; just the thought of things going in your favor can inspire you. Again, use a lot of positive affirmations.
Practice the 7/11 breathing method to help you relax. Each day, breathe in to the count of seven and then out to another count of eleven. Dedicating some time to breathing out when you feel the stress building up has a calming effect on the nervous system. Also, it’s normal for your mind to drift off while at it, simply acknowledge it and return your focus to your breathing.
The Five Senses Drill
Just like guided meditation and the 7/11 breathing method, a three-minute breathing exercise will help you refocus your attention and restore calm and focus. Performing the Five Senses Drill is easy; after two deep breaths, silently note the three things you see, feel, smell, taste, and hear before completing the exercise with two more deep breaths.
When you feel agitated by the exam stress, take a walk, but this time, do it mindfully. Focus your attention on the feeling of your feet on the ground and keep at it until you’re calm. This is an old mindfulness technique, and it is especially useful if you’re too restless for other mindfulness practices.
An ancient practice, meditation is still as useful as ever. Regularly practicing meditation inspires you to become more self-aware by concentrating on your senses and breathing. It also helps you clear your head to think and regulate your emotions. If you want, you can use some guided meditation tracks to help you go deeper.
Like mindful breathing, you may find it hard to concentrate at first, but regular practice, it can become more natural.
Stick to a Sleep Routine
You should make it a practice to sleep and wake up at the same time every morning, eat healthy meals, and engage in regular physical activity. A defined sleep routine will help you get better sleep. Sleeping remains one of the oldest and most effective ways to protect yourself from stress and anxiety.
Stepping away from gadgets such as a smartphone, PCs, and TVs can benefit you while the exam lasts and in the long run. Avoid sleeping with your phones beside your bed. Cut down mobile phone usage in the evenings and at night before you sleep.
Other mindful ways to deal with exam stress include getting creative. This is simply engaging yourself in creative activities when you feel stressed and worried. The activities can include painting, sculpting, or good old sketching. Just any creative activity you enjoy that requires little effort.
Another way to cope with exam stress is by understanding that planning and fantasy are two different things. Therefore, when mapping out a study plan or a question answering plan, consciously bring your attention back any time you notice your mind has derailed from the original purpose, which is planning.
Also, burning off some steam is another effective way to deal with exam stress. Exercise, run or lift weights – anything at all to get your mind off of things even if briefly. Letting out the steam once in a while during your exams is healthy for your mind and body.
Exercises decrease stress hormones and boost endorphin levels (the body’s “feel-good” chemicals). Dedicating some minutes in the day to physical activity helps to release endorphins and boost your energy levels and mood.
Lastly, stay aware of your posture. Bad sitting or standing posture either worsen stress for you or affect the way you deal with stress. For some people, the right posture alone can be more helpful than mindful breathing.
Overall, practicing mindfulness helps you cultivate a better sense of perspective, and this is far-reaching both within the school gate and beyond it. It enables you to develop a more responsive thought process instead of just reacting to situations. It, therefore, makes sense that mindfully living and dealing with stress should be incorporated into your school life and beyond it. Make it a lifestyle that you can draw upon it whenever you want.
Have you dealt mindfully with exam stress in the past? Which techniques worked most for you? We’d like to read it. Please share in the comments. Also, if you know anyone currently dealing with exam stress, kindly share this article with them. Knowing mindful, healthy ways to deal with it will go a long way.