Every student knows that feeling of their stomach twisting and turning upside down each time you think about your exams. The worst thing is, you can hardly focus on studying when all you can do is feel like a deer caught in the headlights.
Many specialists believe it is normal to feel a certain degree of stress. Students are always expected to perform at their peak abilities. Yet, extreme levels of anxiety and stress are preventing students from doing their best or doing anything at all.
Many people often dismiss their anxiety and stress as something of lesser importance. Yet, it can be detrimental to your mental health as unaddressed anxiety can lead to other problems. You always can get help from a professional essay writing service EssayPro to ease the pressure and focus on other subjects. Overall, there are a plethora of resources that can help you with material comprehension to reduce test or exam anxiety.
Overall, dealing with test anxiety and stress always requires a holistic approach. Your anxiety can be rooted in undiagnosed depression, ADHD, or other disorders that prevent you from studying. Often, anxiety can be a standalone problem or a manifestation of other aspects you need to work on. If you can, you should consult with a therapist and look for a complex solution that would benefit your wellbeing.
The symptoms of anxiety
Test anxiety and its manifestation is not a monolith, and it can vary. Yet, some of the most common symptoms include:
- Cognitive symptoms: difficulty concentrating, daydreaming and procrastination, or hyper-focusing on unrelated tasks;
- Emotional symptoms: feelings of fear, disappointment, negative thoughts, intrusive thoughts, helplessness, mood swings, apathy;
- Physical symptoms: rapid heartbeat, feeling faint, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, insomnia, or any unusual pain;
Meditation and mindfulness differences
It is fair to start by distinguishing between mindfulness and meditation.
- Mindfulness is the quality;
- Meditation is the practice;
Mindfulness is the ability to focus and identify the triggers that cause distress. Being mindful doesn’t require anything specific: you focus on your feelings and actions. In such a manner, you can stay in the moment and analyze what changes you undergo and what you can do to ease your feelings.
Meditation is the practice where you use a technique to calm your mind, decrease physical symptoms of anxiety, and focus on further work. Mindfulness can be achieved by meditation. You can use guided reflection techniques or meditation as clearing your mind and breathing through the moment of crisis.
Make meditation a habit
Self-reflection indeed requires consistency. You won’t see much difference if you’ve tried to deep-thing and breathe once. Only if you create a habit will you be able to get the most of it.
- Dedicate 10, 15, or 20 minutes every day to meditation. Build up the length of your sessions gradually, this will make it easier to focus;
- Choose a specific moment for meditation. It can be morning, lunch break, or in the evening. It would help you to start your day or help you to get your balance back. It is good to have a specific moment every day to develop a habit. Yet, you can always switch the time. For instance, yesterday, you practiced in the morning, and today you have a lunch break dedicated to it;
- You don’t have to have intense sessions every day. Sometimes it is enough to do basic breathing techniques and check your senses;
Meditation types and techniques
There are more than one or two types of reflection. You can look for specific practices that would be most helpful for you. Here are some unguided types you should look up to ease your test anxiety and focus on your studies:
- Mindfulness meditation helps you to be aware and present at the moment. It requires you to use the grounding technique of perceiving your surroundings, colors, sounds and smells. You shift your focus to the world around you and reduce your anxiety and negative fixations or thoughts;
- Breath awareness meditation includes breathing deep and slow, counting breaths, and focusing on breathing. It helps you to clear the mind and reduce negative thoughts and emotions, improving concentration and focus.
- Loving-kindness meditation allows you to cultivate love and kindness as a response to triggers. It allows you to get distracted from intense emotions and improve your mood by focusing on a positive perspective.
- Visualization meditation involves using your imagination to focus on the mental image of an object or person. It helps to reduce anxious thoughts and nurture your creative skills.
At the same time, you can look for guided reflection videos or services that would assist you in working on stress and challenging emotions. Both types of guided and unguided meditation are good for your health. Yet, you should focus on your comfort, and if you feel something is not working, it is good to change the practice until you find the one that works best.
What can I do to reduce my test anxiety besides meditation?
Without a doubt, if you are sleep-deprived or starving, you would feel distracted and unmotivated to study. Self-reflection is a huge step towards improving your well-being. But it takes some time to develop a habit and see the change.
Meanwhile, you can help to ease stress and anxious behaviors by dividing your study materials into small portions. Dedicate 30 minutes to focus and 5 minutes to having a break. Don’t force yourself, as it is counterproductive and wastes your time.
Instead, try to make a plan and get a grasp on what you should learn before the exam. It is also helpful to change the location or make it comfortable to sit and focus. You can create your working routine because the perfect environment for studying is different for everyone.
If you struggle to start addressing your test anxiety or studying, invite your friend to practice with you. Even if your friends are not interested in self-reflection, studying together can improve your focus and encourage you.
To sum up
Reflection may seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve never practiced it before. Yet, the more you try the techniques of breathing or visualizing, the more improvements you will see. It is important to be kind to yourself as you start your journey.