25 Tips to Beat Exam Stress

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It is that time of the year again and for some an extremely stressful time for both learner/student and parents. That pressure to deliver can be unbearable. We will provide 25 tips to beat the exam stress and it is based on Daniel Wong’s article, July 2019) https://www.daniel-wong.com › 2018/09/10 › beat-exam-stress

1. Clear Your Room & Desk
  1. “A cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind”?
    It turns out it’s not just something your mother says to get you to clean your room. It’s scientifically correct.
2. Read something for Leisure

It’s proven that reading for pleasure can reduce stress by up to 68%. Reading relaxes your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles.

3. Reduce your sugar intake

Research shows that when you’re stressed, your adrenal glands release cortisol – a stress hormone – to manage it. But cortisol also affects your blood sugar level. So, the more your sugar intake spikes, the more stressed you’ll feel.

Don’t

+ Skip breakfast.
+ Eat sugary cereals or candy.
+ Drink sugary drinks.

Do

+ Eat a high-protein breakfast. + Include eggs, peanut butter, oats or nuts.
+ Eat 4 to 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
+ Eat more fish, e.g. salmon, trout.

4. Reduce your mobile phone usage
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Research shows that overuse of mobile phones not only causes stress but can also have a negative impact on your mental health.
So it’s time to get smart about your smartphone. Here are a few things you could try:
+Check your social media feeds just once or twice a day.
+Turn off all notifications.
+Put your phone on airplane mode, or better still, switch it off after 9pm.

5. Think of a happy memory
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Research suggests that the natural chemical, serotonin, creates a sense of well-being and helps your brain to function at peak capacity.

6. Get some sunlight every day

Another way to increase your serotonin levels is to increase your exposure to sunlight. Anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day will help to keep your serotonin levels in the healthy range.

7. Sing your heart out

Researchers have discovered that singing can soothe your tension and elevate your spirits. This reduces the effects of stress. When you sing, you release endorphins, which are associated with feelings of pleasure.

8. Learn and apply time management techniques
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A study involving students revealed that those who had been taught time management techniques showed lower levels of exam-related anxiety than those who had not. Managing your time well helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed, so you’ll be less stressed.

9. Write down the things you’re worried about
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It’s been proven that if you take a few moments to write about your fears just before you take an exam, it will help to reduce your anxiety and improve your grades. Simply writing about your worries before an exam can boost your grades – so do this before your next exam!

10. Listen to quiet, calming music

The comforting power of music is well established, which makes music an effective stress management tool. Listening to music has a relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, slowing our pulse, lowering our blood pressure, and decreasing our levels of stress hormones.

11. Don’t multitask

Multitasking is bad for your health.[11] It increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and causes stress. Doing several tasks at once may seem like an efficient use of your time, but multitasking actually wastes time and reduces the quality of your work.

12. Get enough sleep

Studying long hours is tiring. When it cuts into your usual hours of sleep, research shows us that stress levels will increase. Stress and sleep have a two-way relationship. Stress can make it more difficult to fall asleep. It can even lead to sleep disorders. At the same time, getting a good night’s sleep reduces the effects of stress.

13. Use positive affirmations

Repeating positive affirmations is a powerful way to calm yourself down and banish those exam butterflies. In fact, research has shown that positive affirmations can help reduce exam stress by reducing adrenalin levels.
Here are some positive affirmations you can try the next time you feel those stress levels rising. Repeat them out loud to yourself several times a day:

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  • I’m becoming more focused.
  • I’m continuing to work hard.
  • I’m getting better at taking exams.
  • I’m enjoying the process of learning.
  • I’m going to perform well on this exam.
  • Learning is meaningful and fun.
  • I’m developing self-discipline.
  • I love the challenge of taking exams.
14. Be kind to yourself
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It’s easy to become anxious when all you can focus on is the fear of failing the exam. Stress weaves its way into your life when you’re too hard on yourself. So ease up and give yourself a break. It’s time to practise self-compassion. Research indicates that self-compassion reduces your stress levels and improves your sense of well-being.

15. Exercise regularly
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Research has shown that high-intensity aerobic exercise has positive effects on well-being. It’s time to get moving! This doesn’t mean that you have to start training for a marathon, but it does mean that you need to introduce some regular exercise into your life.

16. Stretching Exercise

Everyone knows you should stretch to improve your flexibility, but did you also know that stretching is proven to reduce tension and blood pressure too?

17. Practise Mindfulness

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for reducing stress. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of your mind and body.

18. Take a short walk
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If mindfulness isn’t something that comes naturally to you, it turns out that taking a walk has similar beneficial effects on your stress levels. Walking gives you time to think, as well as time to get away from studying for a short while.

19. Do deep breathing exercises
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Science has proven that deep breathing reduces your cortisol levels.

20. Try Aromatherapy

Research has shown that aromatherapy has the power to evoke emotions and memories and can impact your body through your nervous system. Various studies have shown that SOME aromatherapy oils can lower your blood pressure, heart rate, and even skin temperature, as well as soothe anxiety by calming the nervous system.

21. Get enough vitamin C

Studies indicate that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) helps to reduce blood pressure and cortisol, which are both signs of stress. The human body doesn’t produce vitamin C, so it’s vital that you consume plenty of it in your diet.

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22. Drink tea

A study has found that black tea has health benefits linked to stress relief. Other teas that anecdotally aid stress relief are peppermint tea because it’s a natural muscle relaxant; chamomile tea, which helps insomnia and reduces irritability; and lemon balm tea, which reduces cortisol and improves sleep.

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23. Eat dark chocolate

Research has shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day reduces stress hormone levels. This is great news for chocolate lovers! But remember, the chocolate must be dark (with 70% or more cocoa).

24. Write down 3 things you’re thankful for

I’m sure you’re grateful for many things in your life. Studies have found that expressing gratitude can lower your blood pressure, improve your sleep and boost your immune system.

Do you sometimes feel as if you’re not good enough? Do you think that you’ll never be able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself? Set realistic goals instead of trying to achieve the impossible.

25. Focus on Progress, not Perfection
  • Celebrate small and big successes.
  • Make sure you take time out from studying to do things you enjoy.
  • Invest in the relationships that matter the most to you.
  • Find ways to contribute at home and at school, because this will shift your focus toward the needs of others.
  • Learn to use words like “acceptable” and “good”, because if you always aim for “perfection”, you may not even make progress.

Balanced Healing can offer support for the entire family through nutritional planning, supplementation for concentration & focus, supportive therapy for anxiety and ADD/HD and much more.

Our discussion continues tomorrow when we will provide coping tips for parents during exam time.

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NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS – GOING BEYOND THE QUICK FIX TO OPTIMAL HEALTH

A new year brings new hopes and desires to improve health. We seem to want to lose weight, improve our fitness levels, change our look & even relook our personal & business goals and aspirations.

Personally, I am one of those that sweeps clean and starts off with great gusto on new projects and have found that without proper thought & planning - I seem to lose sight of the very goal I set out to achieve in a very short space of time due to being unfocused – probably a little ADD which in itself would probably require Mentat – Jokes aside, I do know for myself that if my nutrition is good and my exercise regime is regular I can accomplish so much more. Without the planning and structure so necessary to achieve the desired outcomes, I invariably fail to accomplish all I set out to do.

"MY GOAL FOR 2020 IS TO BE ABLE TO OFFER YOU THE VERY BEST INTEGRATED MEDICAL ADVICE AND SUPPORT YOU ON YOUR OWN 2020 JOURNEY WITH EASE AND COMFORT".

This is where I take the time to screen & evaluate my patients current status, lifestyle – and assist in unpacking the toolbox we all have within us and remind every patient that these are all achievable with some guidance, perseverance and dedication. I pride in providing an integrated approach working with the patient to achieve their personal health goals.

To achieve those New Year’s health goals there are 2 fundamentals that need to be highlighted:
1. CLEAR, ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION ON EVIDENCE-BASED APPROACHES TO HEALTH allowing you to differentiate between fact and marketing hype. Balanced Healing – Sr Bridget Spargo, can set the stage for sustained health and well-being, by better managing issues like diet, sleep, and stress.
2. A SHIFT IN MINDSET from seeking separate, disconnected solutions to treat various ailments to recognizing that many health problems may be connected. While our general approach to health care tends to zoom in on specific diseases or even individual body parts, research continues to tell us that assessing the big picture can be important to setting the stage for sustained whole-person health and well-being.

I will be continuing to educate through various articles / Blogs and useful information during the year.
MY wish for you is to gain a better understanding of the interrelationship of factors that make up your health, and I hope you’ll stay up-to-date with new findings and future directions with our blogs and make an investment in your health with a personalized consultation & screening to assist you on your journey to health & happiness in 2020.

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A silent tragedy

There is a silent tragedy that is developing day after day in our homes and concerns our most precious jewels: our children.
Our children are in a devastating emotional state.
Over the past 15 years, researchers have given us increasingly alarming statistics about a sharp and steady increase in childhood mental illness that is now reaching epidemic proportions:

Statistics don't lie:
• 1 in 5 children have mental health problems
• A 43% increase in ADHD was noted
• A 37% increase in adolescent depression was noted
• A 200% increase in the suicide rate in children between 10 and 14 years has been noted.

What is going on and what are we doing wrong?

Today's children are over-stimulated and overloaded with material objects, but they are deprived of what is truly fundamental for a healthy and happy childhood, such as:
• Emotionally available parents
• Clearly defined limits
• Responsibility
• Balanced nutrition and good sleep quality
• Movement in the open air
• Creative play, social interaction, unstructured play opportunities and spaces for boredom.

Instead, these last few years we have filled them with:
• Digitally distracted parents
• Indulgent and permissive parents who let children "rule the world" and be the ones who set the rules
• A sense of right, of undeservedly everything without earning it or being responsible for it
• Inadequate sleep and unbalanced nutrition
• A sedentary lifestyle
• Endless stimulation, technological babysitters, instant gratification and the absence of boring moments.

What to do?
If we want our children to be happy and healthy individuals, we must wake up and go back to basics.
It is still possible ... with the following recommendations:

• Set limits and remember that you are the captain of the ship. Your children will feel more confident knowing that you are in control of the helm.
• Offer children a balanced lifestyle full of what they need, not just what they want. Don't be afraid to say "no" to your kids if what they want isn't what they need.
• Provide nutritious foods and limit junk food.
• Spend at least an hour a day outdoors doing activities such as: cycling, walking, fishing, bird / insect watching.
• Enjoy a daily family dinner with no phones or technology to distract them.
• Play with family board games or if the children are very young for board games, let yourself be carried away by your interests and allow them to lead the game.
• Involve your children in some homework or homework according to their age (folding clothes, ordering toys, hanging clothes, arranging food, setting the table, feeding the dog, etc.).
• Implement a consistent sleep routine to ensure that your baby sleeps well. Timetables will be even more important for school-aged children.
• Teach responsibility and independence. Do not protect them in excess against any frustration or error. Making mistakes will help them develop resilience and learn to overcome life's challenges,
• Do not load your children's backpack, do not bring their backpacks, do not bring them the task they have forgotten, do not peel their bananas or oranges if they can do it alone (4-5 years). Instead of giving them fish, educate them to fish.
• Educate them to wait and delay gratification.
• Provide opportunities for "boredom" as boredom is the moment when creativity awakens. You don't feel responsible for keeping children entertained.
• Do not use technology as a cure for boredom, nor offer it on the first second of inactivity.
• Avoid the use of technology during meals, in cars, in restaurants, in shopping malls. Use these moments as an opportunity to socialize, thus training your brains to work when they are in "boredom" mode.
• Help them create a "jar of boredom" with business ideas for when they are bored.
• Turn off phones at night when children have to go to bed to avoid digital distraction.
• Become a regulator or emotional trainer of your children. Educate them to recognize and manage their frustrations and anger.
• Educate them to greet, to take turns, to share without remaining without anything, to say thank you and please, to recognize the error and apologize (do not force them), be a model of all those values ​​that you inculcate them.
• Connect emotionally - smiles, hugs, kisses, tickles, reading, dancing, jumping, playing with them.

Thank you for the share.

Article written by Dr. Luis Rojas Marcos psychiatry.
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Balanced Healing would like to wish you and your family a Happy, Healthy Xmas.
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