Beating Exam Stress
There's no doubt that exams are stressful and a big hassle. It can have a toll on our health and lifestyle. With exams nearing the corner, our moods suddenly become blue. We become anxious and have trouble sleeping. Our appetite gets affected too. Ever wondered why this happens? According to researchers, exams have a psychological effect. Most people get stressed because they cannot deal with the pressure. It's not only the exams but other things that go alongside it, such as school, family and classmates. People worry about not being able to get the grades they want or not performing up to the expectations. A number of psychologists have said that sometimes, stress has a positive effect. It brings out the best in people leading to high achievements! And sometimes, it leaves a negative impact that is failure or distress. Anyways, with stress, we just don't know what the exact outcome will be.
What is Stress?
As per The American Institute of Stress, stress is defined as the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change. In simple words, it's the sense of having little or no control which is always distressful. Stress is caused by good and bad experiences. Psychologists and psychiatrists agree that when under stress, our bodies react by releasing chemicals into the blood. These chemicals give people more energy and strength and can be a good thing if their stress is caused by physical danger; but it can be a bad thing if their stress is in response to something emotional and there is no outlet for this extra energy and strength.In the present world, stress has become part of our everyday lives. It gives us energy to succeed. Of course, exam stress is bad stress because it leaves a negative impact on our mind and body. Moreover, exam stress leads to fatigue and overwork. This is commonly caused by not knowing how to manage the time properly. Thus, people end up feel out of control. Their body and mind are affected. They are unable to concentrate and become tired and sick easily. Bad stress leaves a person feeling helpless, overwhelmed, headaches, and loss of interest. And this can lead to serious problems if not controlled.
Coping with Exam Stress
The best way to deal with exam stress is by setting low goal. This means setting an achievable target. If a person sets really high goals for oneself, they have to keep on trying harder and harder and this is very much stressful. Here are some helpful ways to cope with exam stress:
Get plenty of fresh air: go for walks or a little jog. Change in environment always does one good
Eat right: a good balanced diet is necessary with light snack breaks. This will fuel the mind and body
Sleep well: a good night's sleep always refreshes the body and readies one for the new day
Exercise: psychologists say that exercise (physical activity) de-stresses the mind very quickly and positively
Avoid caffeinated drinks
Ly down: if one is feeling tensed, he or she should lie down for a while. This is an effective way to release total tension
Drink lots of water: this keeps the mind and body fresh
Take breaks: have a chat with friends or family members. This takes the mind of the exam stress or pressure
Prepare in a group: group studies are known to take the pressure off as the group members seem to be on the same page!
Organization/Planning: work according to the timetable. This often proves to be helpful
Set a routine: this keeps one happy and releases happy hormones
Listen to music: psychiatrists say that music elevates one's mood. And it helps one study longer and effectively
Switch off the mobile phone: don't let technologies (mobile phone/laptops/tablets/television) distract you. Stay
focused on your goal
Keep smiling: breath in and out through the mouth. This is a useful technique to de-stress oneself
Dealing with exam stress is not easy. It cannot be done individually, it requires teamwork. Thus, it needs input from tutors, friends and parents. It has been observed that support and encouragement from a parent or tutor help children share their worries and anxiety. This helps keep things in perspective. Parents can play an active role by seeing to that the child eats well. They should be watchful as to what the child eats (high-fat, high-sugar and caffeine drinks make the children hyperactive, moody and irritable). Parents should talk to their children as to how they feel. Lighten up their moods and anxieties. They should inform their children that feeling nervous is natural and that there's nothing to worry about. Moreover, parents should stay calm and not get in the way of their children during exam season. They shouldn't be bothered or grounded for not cleaning the room or putting their dirty clothes in the laundry or help set the table for dinner. All these can be addressed after the exams. Make special treats for children to take the stress off their minds.
To not get stressed, one should get focused. And not in the last minute; one should study effectively and not let notes or projects pile up till the last minute. Everyday study helps reduce the pressure and the stress. Plus it keeps the mind fresh and stable. Moreover, there's ample time for revision. This in turn, makes one feel in control of their studies or work. This also builds confidence and one can easily achieve. Proper time management is also required. One can get help through tutors, parents, peers or trained counselors. Taking mock exams often proves to be helpful too.
Don't get disheartened with low achievement or low grades; its part and parcel of life. One should try to set realistic goals which are achievable and not something which is beyond their grasp. This makes things easy and simple.