De-Stress Exam Time
The next few weeks in the UK will see many students sitting exams, and the stress levels in the majority of households will be running a little higher than usual! Many people find the process of exams very challenging, but as with any stressful situation, exam nerves can be conquered. Whether you are taking exams yourself or supporting others through the process, following these steps will help de-stress exam time.
Create a calm environment
Stress is contagious, and we tend to mirror the behaviour of the people closest to us. If everyone in the household is calm and relaxed, this will reflect onto the exam student. Keep fresh, healthy food in the house, and ensure that everyone is hydrated. Houseplants are proven to remove toxins from the environment and reduce stress. De-clutter study areas and use essential oils such as lavender for relaxation, and rosemary or peppermint to aid the memory.
Get back to basics
Try to limit time on social media if possible to once or twice a day. Not only is it unproductive, it can actually increase anxiety levels, particularly in teenagers. Technology is so much a part of our lives that it is easy to forget the value of ‘going analogue’. Writing things down with pen and paper, lights up different memory pathways in the brain. This causes the information to be processed in a more lasting way. Artistic methods of recording information, such as mind mapping and even singing and doodling will help creative people to absorb facts; make it as colourful, fun and memorable as you can!
Take time out
Whenever you are reading, studying or learning something new, the optimum way to absorb information is twenty minutes on followed by two minutes off. So, study for twenty minutes then clear your mind for two, and begin again. Use the two minute break to get away from your desk, to get outside in fresh air, for deep breathing and stilling your mind. This cycle allows your brain to take in and assimilate smaller chunks of information, rather than being overloaded by a mass of information. This method will also help you remember the information more easily.
No matter how much revision takes place, if nerves take over on the day of the exam, it can be very hard to cope. Visualise the exam frequently beforehand, going well. See yourself relaxed and confident, answering questions calmly and methodically. Repeat affirmations regularly to solidify this positivity.
‘I feel good in exam conditions’
‘I am well prepared for this exam’
Create a trigger by affirming that as you feel the pen in your hand your mind will become sharp and alert and you will be in complete control of your feelings. You create visualisations, positive thoughts, affirmations and feelings and anchor them to a future situation. When you sit the exam for real, the feeling of the pen in your hand will act as a trigger for you, and you will create a peak performance state just when you need it.
Reward the work, not the result
Make sure that you reward yourself for all your efforts! Plan something exciting for the end of exams, such as a spa day, a trip to the theatre or the beach. Adapt the reward accordingly for teenagers. Don’t save this until results day – the important thing is to acknowledge the hard work and provide something to look forward to when the exams are over.
One of the most important things to remember is that many of the most successful people in the world weren’t particularly academic. Whilst exams are good to test our memory, and our ability to cope under pressure, they cannot test entrepreneurial spirit, sporting prowess, kindness, or common sense!
P.S. My hypnotherapy / hypnosis recordings can help you de-stress before exams. Download these powerful recordings now!