Sunday, April 23, 2006
Yoga: How to make exams stress free?
By Dr. Rita Khanna
It’s not stress that kills us …It’s our reaction to it!
Stress is the feeling we experience when we lose confidence in our ability to cope with a situation. Exam stress is created by anxiety over one's performance fear of results and of reaction of parents and friends. Exam nerves afflict not just teenagers but also their parents. Emphasizing prevention here are a few simple techniques to help control exam tension.
How to prepare
One of the best ways to avoid becoming stressed when faced with an exam is to be well prepared. Don't leave your study to the last minute. Make your books, notes and essays more user-friendly with summary notes, headings, sub-headings, highlighting and revision cards.
1. Manage your studying
Do not lock yourself in with your books 24 hours a day. Two to three hours is the maximum amount of time you can study before you stop absorbing what you read. Therefore break your periods of work with periods of relaxation. Reward yourself for your hard work with small treats.
2. Start relaxing NOW
When you know a stressful period is coming up introduce some relaxing activities into your schedule. Maybe go for a half hour walk, take time to make yourself a tasty lunch or go along to a yoga class. Stretching exercises and meditation can help lower your general anxiety, especially if done on a regular basis.
3. Eat properly
Feed your head with healthy foods. Some foods are more calming than others like lemon water with honey, fruit juice, seasonal fruit, vegetables, salad, curd, butter milk, soup, Dalia, khichadi, milk shakes, and lots of water. Avoid very rich or spicy foods.
4. Good sleep is vital
Exam stress sometimes makes sleeping difficult. So, set a definite time to go to bed and keep to it. A period of gentle music, a light snack or a glass of milk and a warm bath will help you relax before bed. On the night before your exam, avoid cramming. Instead relax and have a good night's sleep. On the day of the exam, start with a leisurely breakfast, walk to school if possible and arrive in plenty of time.
5. Keep busy
Keeping busy when you're not studying stops you dwelling on exam worries. Sport and other activities, such as dancing, art and cooking, can make you feel more relaxed, as well as boost confidence. Therefore take regular breaks out from your studies to relax in this way.
6. Complementary therapies
Yoga, breathing exercises, meditation and massage all have proven benefits in reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Find out about good yoga classes from the list of useful organizations. Do not start yoga classes at the end of the term when exams are nearing. Students should be introduced to yoga and meditation by an acclaimed guru from the start of the academic year.
7. Support groups
Think about getting together in a study group with fellow students. It can help with revision whilst providing you with an opportunity of sharing your anxieties with your peers and thus letting off steam and reducing tension.
What’s the best approach to the actual exams?
Self-help techniques are going to be very helpful in the run-up to the exams, and even when you’re sitting in the exam room.
1. Once in the exam, if you feel panic is rising and your mind blanking out , close your eyes and focus on slow, deep breathing for about one minute and give yourself time to calm down.
Breathing in this way calms your whole nervous system. Simultaneously you could give yourself some mental pep-talk by mentally repeating "I am calm and relaxed" or "I know I will do fine" or engage in prayer. If you still can't remember the information then move on to another question and return to this question later.
Be nice to yourself
2. Self-affirmation works wonders! You may feel small but tell yourself that you are great. Challenge your feelings of inadequacy with positive thinking. It really works. Avoid unnecessary competition. Recognize and accept your limits. Remember that everyone is unique and different.
Dr. Rita Khanna,
Yoga & Naturopathy ExpertSecunderabad. India
Telephone: +91-98497 72485