A Cheat Sheet to help with Exam Stress
Here are 3 tips to help you stay calm, in control and clear headed at exam time
Stress affects Learning
When you are faced with exam stress, your brain can feel overwhelmed. When the brain feels stressed, it goes into fight, flight or freeze mode.
In simple language, this means that the brain reduces its capacity for staying calm, recalling memory clearly and thinking creatively.
This is annoying, because these are the three centres we need to keep on board when revising for or taking exams.
Effective learning, concentration and keeping our calm, clear and creative mind on board when faced with stressful conditions are skills that must be taught.
I believe that learning to relax at the same time as learning the subjects that we need to learn, is as important to our success in coping with exam stress.
Quick Exam Stress Relief
Here are three quick lessons to stay in control over exam stress during this time and get into a good headspace and keep your brain calm so it continues to work for you rather than against you.
Breathe Slowly and Deeply
When you breathe deeper, you activate something called the parasympathetic nervous system. This is just a fancy way of saying you get into a relaxed state of mind and body. Breathing deeply switches off the fight, flight, freeze reaction and moves you into a calm state of mind quickly.
Here is a quick fix for exam stress:
Try this now, begin by sending a longer and deeper breath into your belly and fully breathe it out for 2 seconds longer. It may be helpful to count the breath in for 5 seconds, so breathing in through your nose for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then breathing out through your mouth for 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, starting to fully empty your lungs. Do this for about 5-7 breaths and you will notice a feeling of calm clarity come over you.
This puts you into a good headspace immediately.
Get Good Quality Sleep
Imagine the brain is a sponge, and all the information of the day is water, so when you get to the end of the day, your brain is heavily soaked and less absorbent. Getting good quality sleep is like squeezing all that water out so when you wake up, your brain is fully ready to absorb the information that the new day brings.
Here is a quick fix for exam stress:
Try downloading and listening to a relaxing audio as you fall asleep at night, there are lots of relaxing audios available to download on www.hellorelax.net.
This type of audio contains binaural beats, which move your brain into the theta state, which allows you to fall into a deeper and restful sleep. As you fall asleep at night, your brain enters a state called REM. In the REM phase of sleep, this is where your brain is most receptive.
When you listen to a positive audio in this state, this helps you get better quality of sleep, meaning that you wake up in the morning much more refreshed and the brain is ready to continue learning again.
Positive Visualisation and Sensory Memory Games
When your brain is positively visualising it uses all its senses, like sight, sound, taste, smell and touch. When you use all your senses, you are accessing lots of your memory centres in your brain. This helps you recall that memory and everything you have learnt easily and effortlessly.
Try this Memory Game – Mnemonic Peg System
To remember a list, of say 5 items, we can play a memory game. I’m using the mnemonic peg system, invented by Henry Herdson – He devised this clever number code. So, each number has this picture attached to it (it rhymes so it’s easier to remember this number code):
1 = Gun
2 = Shoe
3 = Tree
4 = Door
5 = Hive
So, let’s say you must remember 5 things on a shopping list. For example: Apples, Eggs, Maple Syrup, Cheese and Popcorn.
Remember the number code, which stays the same. Then you must make up a picture or little film in your mind linked with the number code and the item that you want to remember.
So, for example, Gun goes with Apples, so I would think about a gun being shot at an apple, and hear the splat of the apple exploding into the air. I would also smell the apple fragrance and perhaps taste the apple as it flies around the air.
Now, you try the same method with the other 4 and I bet you that by the end of the day, you will still remember your list.
Who is Dipti Tait?
I am a Hypnotherapist and Relaxation Teacher. I believe it is as important to teach relaxation as it is to teach grammar and mathematical formulas.
When you learn to relax, you can’t be stressed. Nobody can be relaxed and stressed at the same time!
For audios to help with Relaxation for Exams and Stress Relief visit our shop.