We all know how stressful exam time can be. Fear is a powerful emotion, and the fear of exams can cause your mood to spiral downwards, especially when we think that we may fail.
The purpose of this blog post is to provide some tips on how to get your stress under control, so that you can do your very best in your exams.
Beating the ‘exam blues‘ isn’t as difficult as you might imagine, and the following tips will help you see the sunnier side of this challenging period of your life.
Take regular exercise
Cardiovascular and strength training workouts alike enable you to recover from stress more quickly. They also promote the production of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Exercise also reduces levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), which, when present for too long at excessive levels, increases the risk for depression and mental illness, and can even lower one’s life expectancy.
The link between elevated cortisol levels and depression is especially strong in teenagers. Another way to keep cortisol levels down is through socialising – you’ll be glad to hear.
Find peace and relaxation
Practices like yoga, Tai-Chi and meditation have traditionally been used to promote relaxation and mental clarity. They can be particularly helpful during exam time because they require a great degree of concentration; simply remaining in a challenging yoga pose or completing the slow, graceful movements of Tai-Chi definitely require you to be in the moment.
Meditation likewise requires you to clear your mind of unproductive thoughts. It promotes relief from stress, which, when experienced in a chronic state, can cause a slump in your mood and your motivation levels.
If you are interested in this, why not checkout if there are any classes near to where you live.
Seek out positive company
People who are anxious, gossipy or negative can influence your outlook on life and stop you from viewing exams as just one step towards a more fruitful future. When a big exam is forthcoming, it is important to think of what happens when they are finished: the rewards you will reap, the free time you have, the extra time you will have for family and friends.
Talk it through
Dwelling on negative thoughts is not productive and will darken your mood. Find someone you trust to talk to – maybe a family member or a friend, tell them about your frustration and share your concerns. Talking with someone understands you, can take a huge weight off your shoulders. They can help you regain perspective and help you find a way of coming to terms with your concerns.
Do what makes you happy
Do you like nothing more than sitting in a cinema with a bucket of popcorn in your hands? Is your definition of sheer joy racing down a mountain or your bike? Or is your most appealing thought that of curling up by the fireplace with a good book? Often, our lives are filled with too many tasks, duties and sacrifices, and not enough moments of bliss. If you have found your own personal oasis, escape to it, if only for a few minutes a day.
Improve your diet
Fill your diet with foods that will boost your mood; avoid those which contain high levels of trans fats, sugar and salt. These foods often cause your blood glucose to rise quickly, causing your energy levels to dip soon afterwards.
Rather than promote sluggishness by consuming one or two large meals a day, aim to consume five smaller meals a day, filled with healthy, low-glycaemic index fruits and vegetables. The latter will release energy into your body in a much slower, more constant way, so you feel physically and mentally equipped to tackle all the study goals you have set for yourself on a daily basis.
For those who feel that natural anti-depressants would help, St. John’s Wort (referred to by health guru, Leslie Kenton as probably the best herbal anti-depressant nature has to offer). Various clinical studies have proven this remedy to be at least as effective as typical anti-depressant drugs. If it works for you, this could be an excellent way to banish the blues and stay motivated to achieve top marks in your exams.
Consuming enough Omega-3 fatty acids may likewise be a good way to battle depression. These fats can be found in foods like walnuts, wild salmon and other fatty fish.
Before you embark on using any natural products, we would recommend that see your family doctor first, mentioning any natural remedies you wish to take, to ensure they are suitable for you.
Make sure it is just a case of ‘exam blues’ and not depression
Anxiety or depression affects nearly one in every five adults in the UK. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression. We all suffer from the blues once in a while but if you suspect you are actually in the midst of a full-blown depression, you should seek your doctor to obtain a diagnosis.
Some signs that you may be suffering from depression include the loss of interest in people, things and activities you used to enjoy, a strong sense of hopelessness, sleep problems, changes in eating patterns, unusual irritability and suicidal thoughts. The latter is a wake-up call that you need urgent help. You should also be aware that depression and anxiety often occur concurrently.
Anxiety can manifest itself in panic attacks, which are highly unpleasant and a source of great fear for sufferers, who sometimes feel like they are having a heart attack or who can feel extremely dizzy and even faint.
We hope that you have found this article useful. If you have your own tips on how to beat the exam blues, please feel free to share them with us – we would love to hear them.