Exam Stress – It’s Not In Your Head, It’s In Your Body!
We tend to think of exam stress as being in our heads, as we try to cram as much information into our brains as possible. But like any other anxiety it can trigger our Flight, Fight or Freeze response and that happens in the nervous system, in our body, in our cells. That’s why addressing stress from a purely intellectual angle is pretty ineffectual; we are not dealing with the feelings where they actually are – in our bodies!
That is why techniques like What Your Body Wants To Hear, Emotional Freedom Techniques and other energy therapies are so much better at easing stress than simply talking about it, trying to “feel the fear and do it anyway” or “facing your fears” etc. We have to acknowledge, love and ease our bodies and our subconscious minds to find and feel a place of peace.
Practical Calming & Coping Techniques to Ease Exam Stress
It’s coming up to exam time here so I wanted to share something that can help everyone suffering with exam and revision nerves and anxiety. How I wish I had had these tools all those years ago when I was facing my first big exams!
We’ve all felt it, your heart is racing, stomach churning and mind completely blank! All your fight, flight and freeze instincts are competing against each other and you are in blind panic. You can’t even see straight, far less read, comprehend and complete an exam paper!
Writing this, I am transported back in time to the 30th of April 1978, the night before my first Ordinary Grade exam. In Scotland, these were the big exams we’d been warned about all through Secondary School; the big ones that would shape the rest of your life – no pressure there then!
We had an aunt staying with us and were moving house just before these exams. I was not fond of this aunt, she had a habit of coming into my room as I was revising, telling me I was lazy and throwing things from one side of the room into packing boxes at the other side of the room.
She didn’t believe girls needed a good education as her sons had “done alright without it”. In contrast, my parents were obsessive about education, believing that it was the only way to get ahead in life. So much so, that they had sent my sister and I to a fee paying school at the beginning of my second year (the trauma of that is a story for another day).
The 1st of May 1978 saw the first of these exams, my very worst subject – arithmetic! ARGH. It is no exaggeration to say that on the evening of the 30th of April I was officially hysterical. The mad aunt insisted I would be okay if I prayed to St. Anthony, who apparently helps you find things 🙂 I think my finding the correct answers to arithmetic questions would have taken an army of saints, it just wasn’t going to happen. It felt like the end of the world.
“The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it”. – Wayne Dyer.
Whilst I agree with Dr Dyer, stress and anxiety certainly feel real and those thoughts create physical symptoms.
The body is unable to tell the difference between real and imaginary events. When we focus on our fears, it plays as much havoc with our hormones and chemical imbalance as when we confront a dangerous situation in real life. Images may just be in your mind but they trigger an instant response in your body.The components of anxiety, stress, fear and anger do not exist independently of you in the world. They simply do not exist in the physical world, even though we talk about them as if they do.
As parents and teachers the biggest gift we can give young people facing exam stress is a practical, physical, calming technique and Emotional Freedom Technique ticks all those boxes remarkably successfully. If you are not familiar with E.F.T this is a great introductory video by it’s founder, Gary Craig.
Learning E.F.T truly changes lives, it can change yours and those of your loved ones. Gary Craig has produced a huge number of free resources so you can lean E.F.T. for free. If you need more support or would like some personal sessions I am always happy to discuss whether E.F.T. can help you. Just pop over and book your free Skype Consultation with me.
If you are already familiar with E.F.T. or just want some calming affirmations pop over to my Release Stress & Anxiety Affirmations page and read or tap along with the script you find there. Release and replace those fear-full thoughts and anxiety with peaceful, empowering and loving messages, the healing messages your body wants to hear. Download our FREE Release, Heal & Transform Fear MP3
Please share this article and our free Release, Heal & Transform Fear MP3 with friends and loved ones suffering the very real physical, mental and emotional anguish of exam stress.
If you are wondering how my arithmetic exam went, I failed it miserably. Strangely enough, life went on and I went on to excel in two subjects I loved and which I use in my work to this day, English and Biology. 🙂