Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool to help you beat exams stress.
Stress is a common experience during exam time:
- It’s part of the body’s natural response to the challenges of exam pressure.
- When you feel stressed, your body is producing hormones (adrenaline, cortisol and others), which are designed to help you to function in difficult circumstances.
- They heighten your senses, increase alertness and, in short bursts, can improve brain function making you perform better.
However, if stress continues for long periods or if there are multiple sources of stress, it can have the opposite effect, triggering an imbalance in your nervous system and sabotaging your best efforts to perform at your peak.
Having a healthy attitude towards stress and wellbeing is vital around exam time.
Actively reducing stress and anxiety on a regular basis can help you to break the pattern of long term stress, and even make short term stress work for you.
Here are 3 quick techniques to help you keep the stress positive and reduce anxiety before and during exams.
✪ Panic buster: 7/11 breathing
This is a quick, simple technique that works with the body to bring about a change in your nervous system. When you breathe in and out you are activating two aspects of your nervous system.
- the in-breath activates the sympathetic nervous system that perks you up (that’s why we take a sharp breath in when we panic) and
- the out-breath activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which brings your heart rate down, restoring balance.
In this technique you extend the out breath to calm your nervous system and bring your body back into a relaxed state. Do this one, two or three times, then return to normal breathing.
Exam stress busting technique 1
Take a few normal breaths before you begin and relax your body. Breathe out to a count of 11…then in to a count of 7. Or make each one a bit shorter if you like (out for 5 and in for 3 is ok too). The key thing is to make the out breath longer than the in breath.
That’s it! You’ve busted out of panic and realigned your body’s system.
✪ Rest to be your best: concentration maximiser
Making sure you are getting good quality rest is vital to keep your brain alert and on peak performance. As well as getting a good night’s sleep, it’s important to take little breaks for your brain during the day.
- Our brain’s concentration span is limited to 20-30 minutes. So by taking a pause every half hour to just stretch, walk about, drink some water, or just close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, you are maximising your concentration.
Below is a link to a quick 6 minute self-hypnosis track you can use to relax.
Exam stress busting technique 2
✪ Mindful moments: accept, it is what it is…
Sometimes we all have negative thoughts, and these can take up vital energy. Simply noticing those thoughts without judging them, and then letting them go can be a powerful way to turn things around. As Eckhart Tolle said ‘Whatever you accept completely, you go beyond…if you fight it, you’re stuck with it’.
- What we resist persists…what we accept we move beyond
Try this simple technique inspired by mindful meditation practices and Emotional Freedom Technique.
Exam stress busting technique 3
The next time you have a negative thought (e.g. ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m going to fail’) just sit and notice it. Be curious…but not judgemental. Notice any tensions you are holding in your body as you have that thought and let them go. Allow the original thought to float away as easily as it came.
Say this affirmation: “Even though I have this feeling…I completely accept myself”.
So I hope you have found these helpful.
Sometimes stress and anxiety are harder to shift and a course of therapy can help you to move out of the stress paradigm. There are free resources online through charities (such as Young Minds, Mind, Childline, and Samaritans) that you may find helpful.
I offer cognitive hypnotherapy sessions in Hampshire and West Sussex (Emsworth, Petersfield and Midhurst) and over Skype. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org; Mobile: 07949 736 553 or Facebook messenger for a no obligation chat. You can read more about Cognitive Hypnotherapy and how it can help with improving performance and many other things, on my website: www.fauzknight.com
And remember the F.E.W rule….
Just a F.E.W little things can make a big difference during exam time.
✪ Food* Eat well and regularly. Think about nourishing your body and mind as you eat.
✪ Exercise* Raise your heart rate every day to boost your energy, clear your mind and relax your body.
✪ Water* Just 10 minutes of concentration can dehydrate you, so drink water throughout the day.