Stress can be a good thing. The adrenalin rush can push you to work harder & faster. However, too much stress can be damaging to your health and life.
With exams looming both teachers and students are feeling the heat, so here are our 5 strategies for coping with stress.
1. Give yourself permission to relax
Be kind to yourself. You can’t work or study 24/7. Allow some time each day to relax, whether that be watching TV, listening to music in your room, or just 5 minutes quiet time. The best way to give “permission” to relax is with self-talk. Try repeating the word ‘relax’ or ‘peace,’ several times while taking deep breaths. If it doesn’t work immediately, then repeat it a few times (believing it) until you feel some effect.
2. Control your breathing
When you are feeling tense, it is good to become aware of your breathing. You will probably find that it is quite shallow and fast. Try to deliberately control your breathing—long, slow and easy.
Breathe in, to the count of three
Hold your breath, to the count of three
Slowly release it, to the count of five.
You’ll be surprised how much difference this can make. Try it now!
3. Do regular relaxation exercises
Keeping your eyes closed, try to imagine yourself somewhere that you find relaxing. This may be the beach on a warm sunny day, or it might just be your bedroom! Picture yourself in the place that relaxes you, until you are calm and ready to continue with your work.
Or my personal favourite, is trying to clear you mind (it is really hard!) whilst breathing deeply and repeating a mantra like ‘Calm’ or ‘Chill Out.’ Concentrate on these words and your breathing and let any thoughts that do come in your mind just float away. I find that I come up with my best ideas whilst doing this!
4. Do regular physical exercises
If you have stress chemicals hanging around in your body, the best approach is to burn them up. Get some fresh air; take a walk to the local shop, anything to get rid off those nasty stress hormones!
5. See the process
You may think that exams, teachers, deadlines etc. cause you mental stress, but they don’t. It’s what you think about these things that causes you stress. For example, you have an exam coming up you may say, “I’m going to fail.” Well, then you are right. If you think you can’t, then you can’t. You can do it. You can achieve.
Remember, if it gets too much ask for help. A problem shared is a problem halved!