5 Exercises & Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big Exam

For many of us, college was absolutely the best time in our lives. The freedom and friendships made those four years incredibly special. But college isn’t all sparkles and unicorns. For others, college is a completely different and often negative experience.

As fun as it can be, it’s also incredibly stressful, especially when it comes time to take an exam. The bigger and more important the exam is, the more we tend to suffer from anxiety, and the less likely we are to do our best.

If this scenario sounds all too familiar to you, then use the following tips and exercises to help lower your anxiety before the next big exam you take:

1. Breathe Deeply

When we feel fear, our body can go into an adrenaline-fueled panic mode. This chemical and physical reaction is how our ancestors survived numerous threats. But in this state, our minds do not function properly. In fact, they often go completely blank.

When we take slow, deep breaths, we help our bodies go from the survival response to a relaxed response. This helps the blood flow back into our brain and helps us focus on the task at hand.

2. Change Your Perspective

Most of us think of tests as something designed specifically to trick us. The truth is, if you have studied and are totally prepared, then the test is actually an opportunity for you to show off how much you know.

The other truth is your professors WANT you to pass. When you pass, they look good. So stop going into the exam with a negative attitude and go in feeling confident and knowing your teachers want you to do well.

3. Start Strong

To set the right tone for the test, scan it to find those questions you are 100% sure about and answer those first. This will help you feel confident and put your mind into a free-flow thinking state.

4. Be Realistic

What is your history of taking exams? Have you generally done well in the past? Are you a good student that makes an effort? If so, remind yourself of these facts. It’s easy to have dramatic and unrealistic ideas floating around in your head right before an exam. Thoughts like, “I’m gonna fail and then I won’t pass the class and I won’t get my degree and will end up working at Starbucks the rest of my life if I’m lucky.”

This likely won’t happen so don’t make an already stressful situation worse by being unrealistic.

5. Exercise

Exercise the morning before your exam. This will not only release built-up tension in your muscles (make sure to stretch after your workout), but it will also release “feel-good” endorphins that will put you in a better frame of mind.

 

If you would like some extra help handling the stressors of academic life, please reach out to me today to schedule an appointment.

 

Sources:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/9-ways-to-reduce-anxiety-right-here-right-now/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-practice/201502/test-anxiety-quick-tips

https://www.onlineschoolscenter.com/20-effective-ways-to-calm-your-nerves-before-an-exam/

Top 5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety

It’s rare that any of us will get through life without experiencing anxiety at some point. But some people have the burden of dealing with anxiety on a daily basis. Whether it’s over something big or insignificant, anxiety stops us from living a normal life full of joy and potential.

Here are 5 ways you can begin reducing your anxiety:

1. Recognize You Are in Control

When you are in the grips of anxiety, it feels very much like it has total control over you. But the reality is, you are in control. While external events can trigger our emotions, ultimately, we have the choice whether we feel those emotions or not. So the good news is, you don’t have to suffer with anxiety, you simply have to decide to show it who’s really boss.

2. Stay Busy

The worst thing you can do when you feel anxiety coming on is to obsessively think about it. It is much better to do something, anything, and stay busy. You could do the dishes, vacuum or work in the garden. The more you can focus your attention away from worrying and toward something that is calming and even joyful (gardening not vacuuming!) the easier time you’ll have of waiting out the anxiety storm.

3. Move Your Body

Exercise is a great way to alleviate the muscle tension that goes along with chronic anxiety. Plus, exercise releases feel good chemicals in your body like serotonin. But don’t sweat it, you don’t have to do a grueling workout at the gym to gain these benefits. Just a half hour a day of walking, biking, swimming or yoga can significantly help reduce your anxiety.

4. Start a Gratitude Journal

Get into the habit of writing down three to five things you are grateful for each night before retiring. This is a simple way to train your mind to focus on all of the good that surrounds you.

5. Speak with a Professional

The cure for any physical or psychological ailment is to get to the root cause of it, not simply manage the symptoms. A therapist can help you access your inner world to uncover what is triggering your fear and also offer coping tools and strategies.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.