With only days to go until students all over the UK sit their exams, the levels of worry in your household may be getting the better of your home environment in the form of exam stress. As an unavoidable part of student life that can be challenging to handle, it is worth remembering that stress exists as an alarm system, bringing your attention to certain matters that need addressed in your son or daughter’s life.
Humans fear what they don’t know or understand. When faced with a situation where there is uncertainty people generally feel anxious. When this uncertainty can be remedied and turned into certainty, the anxiety is reduced. Understanding the reasons behind exam stress can help your child make intelligent decisions about what they must do to reduce the pressure they feel.
Some common explanations for exam stress according to researchers can include:
· Low motivation levels
· Lack of preparation and planning
· High expectations from others
· Competition from peers
Beating stress is a very personal thing but there are certain things that can be done to change our STATE, for it is our state that ultimately effects our emotions and therefore how we feel. Outlined below are some ways that your child can put those negative feelings to one side and concentrate on their learning goals.
1. Break Free from Distractions
There are so many distractions these days from Facebook, Instagram, whatsapp’ing your friends – you probably don’t even realise how much time is wasted engaging with these activities, which I guess is just a way of life nowadays. It can be hard to detach from your life outside of studying but you need to remember your end goal and exercise discipline so that your study time is your study time and other things, even a quick ‘like’ must wait until your time is up.
2. Take a Quick Walk
Feeling flaky? Can’t be bothered. Is the sun beckoning you outside? If your focus is anywhere but your studies, this isn’t going to be a productive session. You have to commit to your study session without any hesitancy. So if you’re just not feeling it – get out and go for a walk. Even a quick 10-15 minutes will change your mood.
TOP TIP: Whilst walking start thinking as though you have already done your study session and imagine how great you feel now that you’ve done it. Imagine and visualise the positive feeling strongly. Don’t think about the study session, think about the end result.
3. Listen to Classical Music
Listening to music can create a positive and productive environment by elevating your mood and encouraging you to study more effectively and for longer. Classical music is recommended as the best type of music to boost your brain power but ambient music can work too. Check out the playlists on YouTube to easily find what works for you.
4. Let it All Out
Figure out what you’re feeling and then let it out. Keeping everything bottled up inside is not only detrimental to your health but it is also unproductive. If you write it out, talk it out, basically just get it out, it means you have processed it. So even if it doesn’t solve problems, it will certainly make you feel better and therefore abler to remember the bigger picture and empower you to rise above the exam stress.
5. Plan your Study Routine
You’ve seen it time and time again – create a study plan. This may not be a big surprise but what is shocking is the amount of students who discount the benefits of creating a personal study plan. With some initial effort, you can become more productive and motivated each day you approach your study by understanding your learning progress.
6. Play with Bubble Wrap & Puppies
As Anthony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows”. If your child is feeling stressed let them have a break and do something that dramatically changes their focus and causes them to feel soft and fluffy inside. Lots of universities have installed ‘puppy rooms’ where students can come to relieve stress and anxiety. Popping bubble wrap is another stress reliever you can save for home study.
7. Try to Get Enough Sleep
The benefits of a proper night’s sleep can never be underestimated. Most importantly, sleep helps your brain to assimilate new knowledge into your long-term memory so that you can recall it when it comes to test day. Anyone who has tried to concentrate with half a night’s sleep can also testify to improved focus with better sleep.
8. Use all resources available to you
There are tons of mobile apps, websites, tuition centres, libraries, older siblings, parents, uncles, family friends and YouTube ‘how to’ videos whether you want to get better organised, improve your mental arithmetic or work on your English language skills. There is more help available than ever before – you just have to be willing to go get it!
9. Give Your Mind a break
There are various ways of achieving this and the way you choose to go about it will greatly depend on your spiritual background. Some may have a faith and choose to think about their God. Some may find meditation useful. Some might practise mindfulness and some might simply be quiet and dream. Whatever your method, just take a break no and then and say thanks to that wonderful brain that is working hard.
10. Eating Dark Chocolate
Eating dark chocolate that is over 70% cocoa fights the stress hormone cortisol and has an overall relaxing effect on the body. Also, chocolate releases endorphins which act as a natural stress buster.
Got any more tips on how to deal with exam stress? Share them in the comments below.