Exam stress is pretty unpleasant, and can it feel far too inevitable at this time of year. Living in a state of agitation from now until your last exam isn’t going to help your mood or your productivity. So dedicate a little time to relaxing in a way that will help you feel less worried.
The first step to tackling stress is to take a break from whatever it is that’s stressing you out. With exam stress, the problem is often a chronic underlying awareness that exams are looming and you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you. It’s very hard (and probably a bit impractical) to entirely forget about exams every time you feel overwhelmed, but you can easily distract yourself for a little while. Here are our top three ways to take breaks that will relieve your stress:
1) Get moving
Exercise has been shown to do wonders for a lot of mental issues, and stress is no exception. Not only will a half hour jog distract you from those exam worries (you can think about how much you hate running instead), but afterwards you’ll have more energy and feel more relaxed, so you’ll be ready to tackle those pesky exam papers in a healthier frame of mind.
2) Think about something else
One technique you can use to calm your mind when it feels like your revision notes are spinning round-and-round in your head is conscious observation. Much like depression is associated with concern over past events, stress is often due to worrying about future events, and both can be avoided by focusing on the here-and-now. To try conscious observation, select any object and focus on how you observe it with each of your senses, one by one (How does it look? What does it feel like?). This activity trains your brain to focus on the moment at hand, and spend less time worrying about what’s to come.
3) Have a chat
It’s an old saying but a good one: a problem shared is a problem halved. Talking your stresses out with a friend or family member can really help. Keeping stressors to ourselves can mean that we lose perspective about the severity of the issue; luckily this can be regained by talking to somebody a little less involved in the problem. If you’re suffering severely from exam-related stress, talking to somebody else can help you determine whether pushing for that top grade is really worth what you’re going through now.
So, don’t feel afraid to take a little time out from your studies for some stress relieving breaks. You’ll feel happier, healthier and ready to take on your exams with your mental calm still intact.
Written by Sophie Valentine
A MyTutor Chemistry Tutor