Stress and anxiety can affect anyone, at any time, especially during exam season. It can be for an exam from GCSE’s and university to your driving test. Preparing for any exam is stressful but remember- you’re not alone! Everyone feels stress at some points in their life and it turns out, driving may be adding more. Surveying over 700 learner drivers, we discovered 90% were feeling anxious about their school exams or their driving test – or both!
To help, we’ve pulled together our ten top tips to help you cope with stress and anxiety around exams:
Get out and about
Getting out of the stressful environment and exercising has shown to release endorphins – the happy hormone! These hormones help to relax your mind and release any tension and anxiety around your exams. This doesn’t mean going hard-core at the gym if that’s not your thing – even a 10-15-minute walk will work as well. Not only will it help you feel better mentally, it will keep you in good shape and melt stress away while something you enjoy doing.
Sunshine and Sleep
Recharging your body with plenty of fresh air and sleep should help to melt those anxious feelings. Giving yourself fresh air when required will help you feel refreshed. Exposure to the sun helps our body produce Vitamin D which not only boosts your mood but in return, helps you get a good night’s sleep. Even a few minutes in the fresh air a day can help you approach your exams with a calmer mindset.
Finding relaxation techniques to help release tension in the mind is essential. Every day, do something you enjoy and take your mind off the exam. This may be playing games, reading, meditation, watching movies – basically anything you enjoy doing in your spare time. Distracting your brain temporarily will let you come back with a clearer approach. Studies on meditation have shown that it increases our capacity to manage stress and anxiety in a healthy way.*
A Problem Shared is a Problem Halved
Remember- you are not the only person going through this. There are many people who go through the same or similar stress and it’s better to talk to someone about it than try and get through it alone. Talking to someone can help you relate to the other person and they may provide you with helpful tips and tricks that you may not have tried. You can talk to anyone- a friend, family member, driving instructor, teacher or anyone you feel comfortable with.
Write down your worries
Writing down your worries and stresses can release it from being cooped up in your head. Keeping track on how stressed or anxious you are feeling and why, can help you control your anxiety – you may even notice patterns on when you feel anxious or stressed the most. Then, you can do what you can to avoid the triggers!
Who’s in control?
You are in control! Our thoughts may overtake us sometimes, so it’s important to take a step back and remember that we have control over many things. We may not have control about our exams, but we can control how prepared we are for them.
Bite size pieces
Instead of thinking about everything as one big problem, break them down into smaller manageable chunks. This way you can create short term goals and feel more accomplished when you meet them. If it’s the stress of exams driving you crazy, setting a timetable where you split the subjects into chunks and factoring in breaks allows you focus for each session.
Utilise your resources!
In this era of technology, you can find most of the resources you need online. This can be anything from advice and tips about what to do when taking your theory and practical test to NHS wellbeing services and self-help resources. Depending on what you’re anxious about, it may be worth talking to your parents, friends, family, teachers, or your driving instructor (if it’s about learning to drive). If you’re looking for some instant online help, check out trusted websites like Mind, Young Minds, or the Mental Health Foundation.
Don’t beat yourself up!
Being in your teenage and young adulting years, you’re under a lot of pressure – whether it’s from exams, learning to drive or starting a new job. These are exciting things but may make you feel anxious at the same time. Its important to remember that you will make mistakes because… well, everyone does! Don’t beat yourself up for making mistakes – because you’ll be achieving much more!
Remember, the feeling is temporary
Stress and anxious feelings are generally temporary. Exams can make you anxious but are a stepping stone in life. Driving can be stressful, but a year or two of hard work will be worth it when you have complete driving freedom! If you think your feelings are more than just exam stress, you should visit your GP and discuss this.
Hopefully we can put your mind at ease with these tips. It’s important to remember that you are not alone and keeping healthy during these times is essential for your best performance.
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