There are two things that you shouldn’t miss doing during exams: proper breathing and exercise. Steve Delaney, who runs the workshop ‘How to cope with stress‘ in the University of Sheffield Counselling Service, talked on the importance of those two and explained why self-awareness is so essential when coping with stress.
Every symptom is a positive thing since it is a sign from our body that something is going wrong. We shouldn’t ignore it. On the contrary we should recognise and cope with it, what the psychologists call ‘self-awareness’.
‘Usually when students come to university they feel overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to carry out and that’s when they feel stressed and anxious. The problem is that you can’t think when you’re stressed!’, said Steve.
Overcoming stress could be achieved by doing things you kept doing before exams and especially exercise. As Steve pointed out: ‘It is very good to combine revision and exercise for relaxation. If you exercise keep doing it during exams, if you go to the gym keep going to the gym, if you run keep running. It will take your mind of exams and give your body an opportunity to release energy’.
Retain information by slowing down your body
It is very important to gain control over your breathing. Once you control your breathing you reduce your heart rate. By slowing down your breathing you basically relax and retain information. Usually when we are anxious we cannot listen to anybody, so we should slow down and there will be more capacity for us to take in. Abdominal breathing is ideal.
Stevens guarantees the success of the following:
- Slowing your body down by breathing (yoga/meditation) helps you retain information
- Exercise to release your energy. Go for running or to the gym like you used to do before the exams.
By dealing with recreation, sports or enjoyment we release the energy that has been brought on by anxiety or stress. When we are anxious we have a bundle of nerves, which is energy. When we do sports we release the energy we’ve obtained from anxiety or fear to perform your best and consequently we relax.