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Take a deep breath... it's exam season!
April 16, 2019
Are you feeling stressed by the amount of revision or exams you have? Or do you tend to panic just before going into an exam?
Mindfulness and breathing techniques can help you enter your body and mind into a state of calm, helping you to relax and focus. By simply focusing on nothing but breathing in and out for one minute you can slow down your heart rate calming your nerves and overworked mind.
You can practice these easy techniques sitting or standing, eyes open or closed or even as you’re walking in to the exam hall.
By simply focusing on nothing but breathing in and out for one minute you can slow down your heart rate calming your nerves and overworked mind.
Here’s how in 4 easy steps:
- Inhale through your nose gently for two seconds.
- Hold your breath in for one second.
- Breathe out through your mouth slowly for four seconds.
- Repeat for one minute (or longer if you like) and you should feel a difference in your mood!
If the 2-1-4 count feels too short, try to lengthen your breaths slightly. As long as you breathe out longer than you breathe in you’ll feel the calming benefit!
During your breathing, if you find yourself distracted by worrying, try counting each breath, count “one” to yourself as you exhale. The next time you exhale, count “two,” and so on up to “five.” Then begin a new cycle, counting “one” on the next exhalation. This will help you focus and become more mindful.
Taking a mindful moment can help you concentrate and focus, it will also strengthen your immune system and helps to switch your nervous system out of flight/fight mode and into a relaxed aware state.
Repeat this exercise every now and then to deliberately bring your awareness to what is happening in the present moment and to build your resilience to deal with exam anxiety and general pressures around this time of the academic year by cultivating mindfulness in this way.
- Pause what you are doing for a moment and take one or two deep breaths to help bring you into the present moment.
- Look around you, and silently name three things that you see in your immediate vicinity
- Now opening to the sounds around you, silently note and name three things that you can hear right now
- Bringing your attention to your body, silently name three sensations that you can feel in this moment (maybe warmth, tingling, contraction, coolness….)
- Bringing your attention to smell and taste, what do you notice in your immediate awareness when you bring your attention to these senses- lightly name what you experience.
Mindful advice for parents and tutors:
As we enter the exam season, when kids get stressed about exams, teachers get stressed about kids not living up to expectations and parents getting stressed about trying not to nag too much about revision, it's important to stay calm and positive.
Andy Cope is a happiness expert, author and founder of training company The Art of Brilliance. He offers the following advice for parents and tutors in the lead up to exam season
The 8:1 Ratio
Nagging, punishment and pointing out what's wrong means kids will learn to stick to what they know to be safe which, over time, leads to a fixed mindset (example, ‘I'm rubbish at maths. I'll never be able to learn it'). If you mix in a healthy dose of positive reinforcement you will be rewarded.
One of the most effective things a parent/ tutor can do is to use a positivity/negativity ratio of about 8:1. It may seem a lot and it can be difficult to get it right, but try to catch your child/ pupil doing things well. Notice the little things and tell them.
Celebrate Achievements better:
How we behave in a moment of success makes a huge difference. Parents should aim to be ‘actively constructive', that means celebrating success with genuine enthusiasm.
Your active constructive response means they know you're proud. The message is they're proud and you're proud. The result is that everyone feels great and your child will want to repeat that behaviour.
Praise for effort rather than talent
The advice from positive psychology is that if your child accomplishes something, try to avoid saying things like, ‘Well done, you are such a little genius!' But rather, ‘Well done, you put the effort in and got the reward.'
We hope you find these tips helpful! If you need a tutor for the upcoming exam season, you can choose from 1000s of tutors on Tutorfair by clicking here.