How to Relax when You are Suffering from Exam Nerves

| May 10, 2012 | 0 Comments

There are some physical exercises you can do to lessen your mental tension and stress, and exam time is one of those occasions in life when it is great to know how to relax.

If you feel yourself taking short gasping breaths which can be a symptom of severe stress, then you have to sit down quietly on a straight-backed char with your feet planted firmly on the floor. Take a deep breath and hold it. Count down from five slowly and at a regular pace, then slowly exhale. Hold the final out-going breath for as long as you can.

Place your hand on your diaphragm, and concentrate on breathing, and making your hand move. This will stop you taking short panicky breaths. It becomes automatic when you have a lot of practice. Singers and professional speakers use this technique to project their voice and regulate their breathing.

I find it relaxing to close my eyes and imagine I’m looking at dolphins swimming in clear blue waters, and sometimes that I am swimming with them- this depends on exactly how stressed I am. However I realize that other people don’t have an affinity with dolphins, so try this image. Close your eyes and imagine a deserted beach with white sand, and you lying in a hammock which has been slung between two palm trees. You can see the clear blue sea lapping gently on the shore, and above you, through the palm fronds, there is the cloudless blue sky. You feel warm and totally relaxed. Keep this image in your mind for about fifteen minutes, then do the following exercise:-

When you are ready, stretch your body slowly like a cat, stretching your feet first of all. Then your calf muscles, then work the stretching movement up your legs, into your torso and so on until your head and neck are completely relaxed and free from tension. You can do this at any time, without conjuring up an image first.

If you like to go to the gym, then don’t let exams stop you. Perhaps you won’t be able to go as often as usual, but schedule time for fitness sessions. Remember the Latin motto Mens sana in corpora sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body)?  It still holds true when studying for exams.

Make sure that you don’t become a recluse, and also plan time to go out with your friends- although remember that the last thing you need when revising is a hangover, as that will mean you are not functioning very well, and you can’t study effectively with one. Remember that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” and Jill a dull girl for that matter.

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Category: Exam Writing Guide

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