If you’re feeling stressed at the thought of your upcoming exams, or really feeling the pressure of your revision, then adopting mindfulness techniques into your daily routine can be a great way of reducing exam stress and creating a positive state of mind.
Mindfulness techniques can help us to stay calm, relax and focus. The idea of mindfulness involves being ‘present’; being more conscious of life and our surroundings as they happen. Being ‘present’ not only makes us more productive, but allows us to enjoy life to the fullest.
You can practise mindfulness anywhere and at any time, but it can be especially helpful to take a mindful approach if you realise that, for several minutes, you’ve been dwelling on a problem or worrying about a potential problem, such as not performing well in your exams.
Follow these few short steps to begin your journey towards being mindful:
- Take a couple of minutes to notice your breathing. Sense the flow of the breath, the rise and fall of your stomach. Inhale gently for two seconds, hold your breath for a moment and then exhale slowly. Repeat this for a minute or until you are calm.
- Act slowly and deliberately. Notice what you are doing as you are doing it and tune in to your senses. When you are eating, notice the colour, texture and taste of the food. When you’re walking, pay attention to the feeling of your feet on the ground. Keep bringing your attention back to these activities until you feel calm and relaxed.
- Don’t feel that you need to fill up all your time with doing. Take some time to relax and focus on your breathing. When your mind wanders to thinking, gently bring it back to your breath.
- Recognise that thoughts are simply thoughts; you don’t need to believe them or react to them. Recognise any negative thoughts, and learn to let them go.
- Notice where you tend to zone out (e.g., emailing or messaging, scrolling through Instagram, cooking some chicken nuggets, brushing teeth, etc.). Practise bringing more awareness to that activity.
- Count your blessings. Make a list of ten things you’re grateful for every day. By appreciating the people and things you have in your life, you are made aware of what is making you happy and what you are grateful for in that moment, which supports the activity of being ‘present’.
Mindfulness can help you to stay calm, remain focused, and put life into perspective – a fantastic tool when coping with exam stress.
For more advice on coping with exam stress, read our Top Tips for Beating Exam Stress.