Finals are just around the corner! But there’s no need panic. In fact, when studying for finals, panicking is totally counterproductive. So if you feel your blood pressure start to rise, try some of these strategies to stay calm under pressure.
1. Breathe!!! – When you hold your breath, you increase the neurotransmitter adrenaline. Adrenaline is great for regulating your metabolism, making roller coasters exciting, and helping you run quickly if you are ever chased by a tiger. But, adrenaline is the enemy when you are anxious, it can induce panic! Try breathing in for 7 seconds, holding your breath for four seconds, breathe out for eight seconds. Then repeat four more times.
2. Start studying early – The earlier one starts studying, the better. There is nothing worse than cramming the night before the test and realizing that you are out of time and you can’t find your study guide. Insufficient study time is one of the biggest underlying problems for students who suffer from test anxiety. When you start studying early and hit a roadblock, you will have time to ask for clarification or tutoring.
3. Find a furry animal – Playing or snuggling with a dog or cat has been so effective in reducing stress that many universities around the world have started having a “puppy room” during finals week. It’s a room full of puppies! How can that not be relaxing???
4. Go for a walk or a run – Whether you are a marathon runner or a strolling through the park kind of a person, get outside and go. It’s great to step away from the books intermittently and moving around will increase the blood flow to your brain.
5. Drink plenty of water – Many people overload on caffeine during finals week. Caffeine has been linked to increased anxiety and panic attacks. Drink plenty of water!
6. Make time for your passions – Take a 15-30 minute break to do something you are passionate about. Taking time for music, dancing, friends, and sports can rejuvenate your soul.
7. Get plenty of sleep – People think that it is wise to pull all-nighters when studying for finals. It’s real simple: you don’t sleep, you can’t think.
8. Take a social media break – Anxiety is contagious. If you are reading all about your friend’s anxiety about finals, you will start to feel it too.
9. Study with friends – Choose a (not completely anxious) friend and study together. You can divide the work, quiz one another, and help each other when the work is confusing or difficult. Also, one of the best ways to learn something is to teach it to someone else.
10. Get your parents to chill out! (Tell your parents to read this part.) “Are you studying?” “Why aren’t you studying?” “Do you care that finals are just around the corner?” “You don’t have time for that, start studying!” CHILL OUT PARENTS!!! Anxiety is contagious! Students are hearing about finals from every teacher, all of their friends, their friends’ parents, and all of your neighbors, etc. Your child is fully aware that finals are approaching and EVERYONE is anxious about them! In a calm manner, ask your child what you can do to help them. Offer to bring them healthy snacks, quiz them, take a walk with them, and help them get organized. Finally, find something absolutely ridicules to laugh about. Laughter is a wonderfully fun stress reducer!