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5 Tips to Lower Your Anxiety Before a Big Exam


College is often hailed as the best time of our lives, filled with newfound freedom and lifelong friendships. However, this idyllic experience isn’t universal. For some, college can be a challenging and unpleasant period.

Despite the enjoyable aspects, college life can also be quite stressful, particularly during exam season. Anxiety can mount as the stakes get higher, leading to poorer performance and reduced academic success.

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. Take deep breaths

When we experience fear, our body may enter into a state of panic fueled by adrenaline. This chemical and physical response helped us survive various dangers. However, in this state, our mental functioning can become impaired, and we may even experience mental blankness.

By taking slow and deep breaths, we can transition our body from a survival response to a relaxed state. This allows blood to flow back to the brain, enabling us to focus on the task at hand.

2. Shift your perspective

Most of us think of tests as something designed specifically to trick us.

However, the reality is that if we have diligently studied and are thoroughly prepared, a test presents an occasion to demonstrate our knowledge and abilities.

Furthermore, it is important to acknowledge that our professors are invested in our success and want us to pass. When we pass, it reflects positively on them. Therefore, it is crucial to shift our attitude from a negative to a positive outlook, to approach the exam with confidence, and to remember that our teachers are rooting for us to do well.

3. Begin with confidence

To establish a positive tone for the test, begin by scanning the questions and answering those that you are absolutely certain about first. This will not only boost your confidence but also help you enter into a state of unobstructed thinking.

4. Set realistic expectations

Reflect on your exam-taking history. Have you typically performed well on exams? Are you a diligent student who puts in the effort? If so, remind yourself of these positive traits. It’s common to experience exaggerated and unrealistic thoughts before an exam, such as “I will fail the exam, fail the class, not get my degree, and end up working at Starbucks for the rest of my life.”

However, it’s important to recognize that such catastrophic scenarios are unlikely to occur. Don’t exacerbate an already stressful situation by entertaining unrealistic thoughts.

5. Exercise

Engage in physical exercise on the morning of your exam. This will not only help to alleviate tension and stiffness in your muscles (be sure to stretch after your workout), but it will also release endorphins that promote a positive mood.

These are just some of the ways you can ensure your mental health is optimized. You may also want to speak with a psychiatrist who can provide tools and help explore options, please feel free to call or email me.




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