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
- “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.
+ Skip breakfast.
+ Eat sugary cereals or candy.
+ Drink sugary drinks.
+ 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
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
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
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
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. 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:
- 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.