MANAGING TEST ANXIETY

We experience anxiety when we lose control over a situation, or when we are in a stressful situation. For some of the students the anxiety triggers while taking a test. The anxious feeling can start before the test or while attempting the paper. It can range from sweaty palms, forgetfulness, stomach pains, headaches etc. Slight amount of anxiety results in improved test performance. But when it increases it affects adversely on test performance. Reduce your anxiety when it interferes with your performance in three steps:

  1. Mentally preparing for test helps in dealing with the test; be thoroughly prepared, gain confidence in knowing the course material. Be test wise and have a plan for taking the test. Initial stress or tension is normal, but relax once you get the paper in your hand. Take deep breaths and it will surely do wonders in calming you. Pace yourself in answering the number of questions you are required to do. Do not spend most of your time on questions that have less weightage.
  2. Physical preparation helps in reducing anxiety. Start preparing for the tests or exams right from the beginning and develop good study skills or habits. Rest is important for any part of the study program. Sleep early so that you can be attentive in class. People tend to face more anxiety and frustration when they are tired. Pick the time of the day when you are fresh and have high energy level for preparing for tests.
  3. Practice for exams. When you do something that is familiar it tends to lower anxiety. Take practice tests at home, it provides the opportunity to prepare and become familiar with the topics and the way you have to answer them.

Practice, practice and practice; the more you practice, the more you have command on your subject, the more confident you will be, and will improve in topics or areas that you are weak in. Engage in positive self-talk, irrational negative thinking diminishes the confidence. Instead of saying, “I can’t pass no matter what I do” or “I can’t learn” adopt realistic attitude: “I have prepared for the exam, and I can do better by putting in all my effort” or “I am working hard and will get good numbers”. Work hard and think realistically. Do not wait till the last moment to prepare for your test.

MENTAL HEALTH DAY

World Mental Health is yearly celebrated on 10th of October around the world. This day is celebrated to raise awareness of mental health issues by World Health Organization (WHO).

This year’s World Mental Health Day focuses more on SCHIZOPHRENIA. According to WHO, Schizophrenia affects 21 million people world wide. WHO brings into light SCHIZOPHRENIA so that necessary steps can be taken to help people suffering from schizophrenia and other severe psychological disorders.

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Mental Health is just not something that deteriorates all of a sudden, but progresses with time. The onset of mental health problems is a crucial time, which may not be understandable in the beginning. The DEPRESSION or STRESS we faces in our life have a huge impact of our MENTAL WELL BEING.

Though a lot of awareness is created through different forums, yet MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS are stigmatized, which makes it difficult for the suffering person to seek help. People who suffer are reluctant to speak about their problems because of embarrassment, or because that they will be stigmatized as MENTAL or they have to face humiliation.

We can bring in a positive change just by being more open and accepting without judging a person, just reach out to the people who are suffering or are going through a tough phase, be it DEPRESSION, STRESS, INSOMNIA, ANXIETY or other mental health problems. We can provide a helping hand to such people by identifying the stress the person might be going through or friend who tell us that they are depressed, instead of mocking them or disregarding their emotions we can at least hear them out, give positive suggestion or guide them to seek professional help.

We can make lives easier for people who are suffering by providing a helping hand, by being supportive, by being understanding.

LITTLE CHANGES IN LIFE

Recently I read a book named “The Little Guide to Big Changes” by Sarah M. Collins, and by the time I was done with the first chapter Enliven your life through conscious change I began to ask myself questions.

  • Am I satisfied with my life?
  • Do I feel that I am trapped in any way in the present circumstances?
  • Am I frustrated, depressed or stressed out do to the happenings?
  • Is the thought of future makes me anxious, to the level of effecting my health?

Indeed change means that you are going to experience something which is new, something that might be beyond your control or power, probably a situation with which we are not familiar with. This thought makes us reluctant and we become scared of taking a plunge into the unseen. This thought of unfamiliarity stops us from changing our situation, ourselves, and our conditions.

It is the unknown that causes discomfort, because we always find solace in the knowing. Things or situations and I would add here people as well, with which we are familiar with or that are predictable are more easy for some people to tackle. While there are others who want to break free of this masochistic way of thinking. Those who are stuck and are reluctant in changing their life or not able to take a decision, might be finding  peace in all the things that are unpleasant. They feel safe in the miserable situations and continue on to be there rather than moving ahead with confidence and taking up the unknown.

Stop and think that if you break free of it, make a decision to change something in your life, and going to venture in the unseen, provided that you give time to settle the new situation or new experience you might actually feel better and you will feel accomplished. The real growth comes with change, when you are motivated to change your present for a brighter future or a better situation, or for a better opportunity. Even small steps will have a big impact on your life. Small decisions lay down the future pathways.

Start from inside what you want from yourself, from your surroundings, what you want to experience in life, what your aspirations are, are you willing to do something worthwhile in your life????

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Bring things in perspective and start the transformation.

COPING SKILLS

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You may find yourself frequently in situations that are troublesome, to demanding, pull on your nerves, pushes you to your nerves end, unbearable, stressful, anxiety provoking, or depressing.

USEFULNESS OF COPING STRATEGIES:

Every situation bring forward a different set of coping mechanism, that you can put into use, in order to deal effectively with the current situation, which is bothering you. It is important that you find out the right set of coping strategies that works best with your needs and your present situation. positive coping mechanism helps in tackling with the hand-on challenges effectively, making you more prepared and strong, while you find out ways to deal with the  stressful situation.

EFFECTIVE COPING STRATEGIES:

Some strategies are based on long term, short term, relief while others focus on increasing your confidence, preparing you to be strong, while some increase your motivation levels. the coping strategies help in defusing the stress and anxiety level, your apprehensions and upsetting emotions. Maturity is also an ruling factor in coping, the more mature and realistic you are the more effective your coping style would be. Coping strategies are behavioral patterns that we analyze and learn according to our requirements. People develop positive coping mechanism to have a better life and face difficulties and problems in an effective manner. Stay away from negativity, and negative coping mechanism, as they are harmful in the long run, like engaging in emotional eating, gambling, irrational thinking, drugs, denial of situation etc.

COPING STRATEGIES:

  • analyze the situation, the current circumstances will define what strategies to apply.
  • ask for help, form someone you trust, who understands you, or a professional help.
  • give yourself a time out, and try to relax in that time.
  • learn form your mistakes and try not to commit it again.
  • be honest to your feelings and emotions. Understand what you are going through  and how you feel for it.
  • learn and practice mindfulness.
  • develop skills to deal effectively with others.
  • develop management techniques.
  • engage in healthy activities, sports, exercise, hobbies.
  • develop patience.
  • develop an insight.
  • learn to laugh often.