How to Deal With Stress During Exams
March 12, 2017 (No Comments) by Alannah Kenny

how-to-deal-with-stress-during-exams

They say a little bit of anxiety can be a good motivator. However, those in the midst of preparing for exams know too well that an excess amount of stress can be pretty debilitating. No matter how much you prepare, panic can still set in along the way. So how do we cope if it does? The following tips are a good guide to keep those nerves at bay and give you the best chance of pulling some top grades out of the bag!

Mindfulness/Meditation

Maintaining a healthy mind through meditation isn’t just for hipsters you know. Mindfulness is a simple meditation technique and one that doesn’t take 50 candles to achieve. The aim is to try to focus your mind on the here and now and strengthening your control over negative thoughts. Once you achieve this, the serenity will become second nature. This method can take perseverance to master and not everyone feels the effects straight away.

Starting off with simple mental exercises such as focusing on the rhythm of your breathing, your feet on the ground, etc. is a good starting point. It has been recommended that if you are feeling a little anxious in the exam centre, try the 7/11 breathing technique a few minutes beforehand; inhaling in for 7, out for 11 and focusing your mind on this to maintain a clear head. Be zen-like in your approach and maximise your abilities!

take care of your mental health

If you would like more information on actual mindfulness, have a read of our post on How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health In 2017. If you would like more information on actual mindfulness courses available to help train your mind and de-stress, it is worth checking out the Irish website; www.mindfulness.ie.

Find a Fun Physical Outlet

In preparation for exams, it is important to drag yourself away from the books sometimes.  Even 30 minutes of exercise can make a huge difference to keep your body active and alert. Make it something enjoyable that suits you first and foremost. If you don’t wish to take on something too strenuous, try doing some yoga and take a look at our beginners guide on Everything You Need To Know About Yoga & Pilates. All of these things will also contribute to de-cluttering your mind. Building up a regular exercise routine like going for a swim, playing GAA or attending dance classes every week is a habit that should be promoted for those who can afford to give it a bash.

everything-you-need-to-know-about-yoga-pilates

Zumba is a great dance-party fitness regime made for incorporating fun into exercise and ranges from hip-hop to salsa. This is a handy option because you can also just as easily work out at home with the DVD and won’t need to stray far from your books. Serotonin, also known as the “happiness hormone” is released during exercise which in turn, encourages more positive thinking. In this way, you can feel guilt free knowing you can still do something that is productive yet enjoyable. If you don’t feel like living in a gym then check out The Alternative Ways of Staying Fit.

Reflective Writing

It’s natural in an exam situation to go blank under pressure but it is something we would rather avoid stressing about. Reflective writing is described as an opportunity to gain self-knowledge and a better understanding of what you are studying. When preparing to write about a topic, give yourself a moment to write everything you know, the trick is not to stop writing. If you run out of content, write down I don’t know what to write until something springs to mind.

This constant flow is challenging but it trains your mind to be more flexible and speedy in its approach, acting as a guideline for what you need to cover when studying. By doing this as a brief warm up in an exam, it can be greatly effective to reduce anxiety and get ideas flowing. It is also worth noting that for those dealing with numbers, simple maths puzzles like Sudoku can also have the same effect in easing you into a state of complete focus.

Make Your Treats Healthy

What better stimulant and method of relaxing is there than a healthy dose of sugar? A treat is allowed for rewarding hard efforts. However, binging on a tonne of chocolate while you study is never a good idea. It is important to eat as healthy as possible in a period where you will be straining your body more than usual. A better option for keeping your energy up is to find healthy sugar alternatives that you will equally enjoy. Fruit such as strawberries is an excellent to boost your energy during study.

For the major chocoholics out there, dark chocolate is also a good way to satisfy the cravings. Then there is the infamous take-away coffee. Whenever we are forced to use excess amounts of energy, caffeine is nearly always the go to for de-stressing. What many don’t realise is that the effects of caffeine do the opposite. It makes your heart race, puts your brain on high alert which actually increases anxiety and it hinders focus. A healthy, alternative beverage to de-stress is green tea which gives off a rich aroma that has a calming effect, helping to clear your thoughts. For some more ideas on energy boosting check out out our article on 5 Alternatives to Coffee for When You Hit the Wall.

green-tea

Balancing Your Sleep Patterns

Getting quality sleep is the most straight forward solution to help cope with exam pressure yet it can be the most difficult to accomplish. Avoid cramming at all costs and create a good routine early on in your study. The night before the exams should feel no different to every other weeknight and should see less tossing and turning. You should be getting a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night and if you’re not, that is something you may need to review before the effects start to take their toll. For some people, external pressures on top of exams may also be the cause of inability to sleep. If this is the case then it’s time to seek help.

There are many reputable career guidance counsellors around Ireland that work with students of all levels and can help you find the right path. You can find such a service at www.caseycareers.ie. Alternatively you can contact the Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy or the Samaritans who provide confidential and emotional support to anyone struggling to cope with pressure. The relief after off- loading your problems will help you rest easier.

It is important to remember that while you must be disciplined with yourself on the run up to exams, you shouldn’t be cruel to yourself. Getting the balance right between work and play is essential because less stress leads to greater success!

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

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How to Deal With Stress During Exams
March 12, 2017 (No Comments) by Alannah Kenny

how-to-deal-with-stress-during-exams

They say a little bit of anxiety can be a good motivator. However, those in the midst of preparing for exams know too well that an excess amount of stress can be pretty debilitating. No matter how much you prepare, panic can still set in along the way. So how do we cope if it does? The following tips are a good guide to keep those nerves at bay and give you the best chance of pulling some top grades out of the bag!

Mindfulness/Meditation

Maintaining a healthy mind through meditation isn’t just for hipsters you know. Mindfulness is a simple meditation technique and one that doesn’t take 50 candles to achieve. The aim is to try to focus your mind on the here and now and strengthening your control over negative thoughts. Once you achieve this, the serenity will become second nature. This method can take perseverance to master and not everyone feels the effects straight away.

Starting off with simple mental exercises such as focusing on the rhythm of your breathing, your feet on the ground, etc. is a good starting point. It has been recommended that if you are feeling a little anxious in the exam centre, try the 7/11 breathing technique a few minutes beforehand; inhaling in for 7, out for 11 and focusing your mind on this to maintain a clear head. Be zen-like in your approach and maximise your abilities!

take care of your mental health

If you would like more information on actual mindfulness, have a read of our post on How To Take Care Of Your Mental Health In 2017. If you would like more information on actual mindfulness courses available to help train your mind and de-stress, it is worth checking out the Irish website; www.mindfulness.ie.

Find a Fun Physical Outlet

In preparation for exams, it is important to drag yourself away from the books sometimes.  Even 30 minutes of exercise can make a huge difference to keep your body active and alert. Make it something enjoyable that suits you first and foremost. If you don’t wish to take on something too strenuous, try doing some yoga and take a look at our beginners guide on Everything You Need To Know About Yoga & Pilates. All of these things will also contribute to de-cluttering your mind. Building up a regular exercise routine like going for a swim, playing GAA or attending dance classes every week is a habit that should be promoted for those who can afford to give it a bash.

everything-you-need-to-know-about-yoga-pilates

Zumba is a great dance-party fitness regime made for incorporating fun into exercise and ranges from hip-hop to salsa. This is a handy option because you can also just as easily work out at home with the DVD and won’t need to stray far from your books. Serotonin, also known as the “happiness hormone” is released during exercise which in turn, encourages more positive thinking. In this way, you can feel guilt free knowing you can still do something that is productive yet enjoyable. If you don’t feel like living in a gym then check out The Alternative Ways of Staying Fit.

Reflective Writing

It’s natural in an exam situation to go blank under pressure but it is something we would rather avoid stressing about. Reflective writing is described as an opportunity to gain self-knowledge and a better understanding of what you are studying. When preparing to write about a topic, give yourself a moment to write everything you know, the trick is not to stop writing. If you run out of content, write down I don’t know what to write until something springs to mind.

This constant flow is challenging but it trains your mind to be more flexible and speedy in its approach, acting as a guideline for what you need to cover when studying. By doing this as a brief warm up in an exam, it can be greatly effective to reduce anxiety and get ideas flowing. It is also worth noting that for those dealing with numbers, simple maths puzzles like Sudoku can also have the same effect in easing you into a state of complete focus.

Make Your Treats Healthy

What better stimulant and method of relaxing is there than a healthy dose of sugar? A treat is allowed for rewarding hard efforts. However, binging on a tonne of chocolate while you study is never a good idea. It is important to eat as healthy as possible in a period where you will be straining your body more than usual. A better option for keeping your energy up is to find healthy sugar alternatives that you will equally enjoy. Fruit such as strawberries is an excellent to boost your energy during study.

For the major chocoholics out there, dark chocolate is also a good way to satisfy the cravings. Then there is the infamous take-away coffee. Whenever we are forced to use excess amounts of energy, caffeine is nearly always the go to for de-stressing. What many don’t realise is that the effects of caffeine do the opposite. It makes your heart race, puts your brain on high alert which actually increases anxiety and it hinders focus. A healthy, alternative beverage to de-stress is green tea which gives off a rich aroma that has a calming effect, helping to clear your thoughts. For some more ideas on energy boosting check out out our article on 5 Alternatives to Coffee for When You Hit the Wall.

green-tea

Balancing Your Sleep Patterns

Getting quality sleep is the most straight forward solution to help cope with exam pressure yet it can be the most difficult to accomplish. Avoid cramming at all costs and create a good routine early on in your study. The night before the exams should feel no different to every other weeknight and should see less tossing and turning. You should be getting a minimum of 8 hours sleep every night and if you’re not, that is something you may need to review before the effects start to take their toll. For some people, external pressures on top of exams may also be the cause of inability to sleep. If this is the case then it’s time to seek help.

There are many reputable career guidance counsellors around Ireland that work with students of all levels and can help you find the right path. You can find such a service at www.caseycareers.ie. Alternatively you can contact the Irish Association for Counselling and Therapy or the Samaritans who provide confidential and emotional support to anyone struggling to cope with pressure. The relief after off- loading your problems will help you rest easier.

It is important to remember that while you must be disciplined with yourself on the run up to exams, you shouldn’t be cruel to yourself. Getting the balance right between work and play is essential because less stress leads to greater success!

Alannah Kenny
Interested in big events and likes to keep up to date with celebrity culture as a personal interest. An avid reader and movie lover, enjoys in depth discussions about anything related to dystopian fiction!

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