We live in a rather stressful world today. Many things are fighting for our attention. Be it in the workplace, family or friends, our lives are filled with many moments where we need to make decisions or choices to guide our lives.
I shared the following three methods with my students while they were in the midst of preparing for examinations. These methods are useful to help a person calm down, reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, and produce serotonin to help combat stress. Give them a try!
1. Deep Breathing
The idea behind deep breathing is this: the more oxygen you take in, the more your body has to go through the processes it needs.
Shallow breathing is what we do most of the time. When we do that, we don’t bring enough oxygen into the body. What happens is that our organs will not have enough to process. This goes especially true for our brains.
We need oxygen for the brain, so we can think better. More oxygen will help our lymph system, and help reduces cortisol in the body. If you feel less anxious, you can concentrate on the matters that need your attention.
There are different ways of doing the deep breathing exercise. The YouTube video below is one example. You can find other methods of doing it online.
2. Think Happy Thoughts
Research suggests that the natural chemical, serotonin, creates a sense of well-being and helps your brain to function at peak capacity. One way to produce more serotonin is to think positive thoughts.
It is easy to think of happy thoughts when you have spare time, and you are not under any pressure. What about when you are in a stressful situation, like the exams. This is where you should plan to think of something that makes you smile. Think of a happy moment in your life. Think of it as your happy place and go there in your mind as often as possible.
Some examples of happy moments could be your favourite memory from your childhood, or something you did as a family recently that was fun. It could also be celebrations you had with friends.
You will feel better inside when you dwell in these happy moments, and that allows you to calm down. When you look at your exam papers, you may see the questions in a different light.
3. Give Yourself Positive Affirmations
When you give yourself positive affirmations, you will help to reduce the adrenaline levels in yourself. The butterflies in your stomach may disappear, or reduce by quite a bit.
What are examples of positive affirmations you can try? Let me list out some examples students can use during exams:
- I am becoming more focused.
- I am getting better at taking exams.
- I am enjoying the process of learning.
- I am going to perform well for this exam.
- I love the challenge of taking exams.
As you can see, the affirmations you give yourself need not be perfect or excellent outcomes of your past. You can consider small moments you experienced that g you a sense of satisfaction. For example, if a student had done well in a subject test recently, he can tell himself that he can score well for this, just like he did for the previous test.
The act of giving positive affirmations to yourself is to rewire your mind to believe that everything is possible. Adrenaline levels can come down, and you will have a better ability to focus on your task.
Conducting techniques like deep breathing, thinking positive thoughts and giving positive affirmations to yourself are some ways to help manage yourself better. These are good life skills to help us manage stressors in our lives. You may have other methods to help you manage your area levels. Do find your means, as having coping strategies will help you in the long run.
How would you cope with stressful moments? How would you want to carry out these strategies? What do you think of these strategies – will they be useful for you? Do share your thoughts and opinions with me.