This being the season of Exam stress, I found this really interesting article on Exam Stress and how Hypnotherapy can help you pass those important exams without unnecessary stress hindering your performance! Get back to me if you want support on this
Many people will suffer moments of stress and often feel overwhelmed when having to sit an exam. Many of us will also be able to recall how nerve-racking it can be to take a test. Weeks before the exam, we can experience the sensation of butterflies in our stomach. Our palms get sweaty, our hearts race and we fear our memory will let us down.
Feeling stressed and anxious before an exam is expected and feeling nervous is a natural emotion. Lots of people will find these feelings a motivator and a way to focus on the task, but some of us will find the pressure overwhelming. When these feelings become intense, they can threaten performance. Sometimes the stress can cause a person to achieve below their true potential.
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There is a great emphasis in today’s society to use exams to measure a person’s ability (for example, to drive a car, to study or for a certain job). We may expect it, but the pressure can be overwhelming. When nerves become out of control, they can lead to anxiety attacks and stress. If a person does not know how to cope with these feelings, they can create a vicious circle of more intense emotions. Over time, this can have a negative impact on the unconscious mind and result in more general, longer term performance-based anxiety.
Preparing for an exam and successfully completing it is not just about how knowledgeable you are, but also your state of mind. Feeling calm, relaxed, focused and confident when studying and sitting the exam means you will be much more likely to achieve your full potential. While accessing this state of mind is a skill, it can often be learned by implementing new ways of thinking.
How hypnotherapy can help you cope with exam stress:
Hypnotherapy is a common method used for helping control exam nerves as it can help boost confidence and reduce feelings of anxiety. It can help you develop the ability to access the calm state of mind needed to sit an exam, or cope with a potentially overwhelming situation.
The power of suggestion and visualisation techniques can encourage an individual to clear their racing mind and approach the exam with a cool, focused head. Your mind knows the information you need to pass the exam, but when experiencing exam stress or anxiety, your ability to focus and concentrate will suffer. Hypnotherapy will help you recall the information easily and correctly, as well as help restore your self-belief.
What to expect from a session
Hypnotherapy has proven effective for many people dealing with anxiety and fear. This is why many of those suffering with exam nerves consider the idea of hypnosis as a form of treatment. While all hypnotherapists will differ in their approach, generally, the treatment will begin with an initial consultation. This is often a short telephone conversation or meeting before booking a session.
After the initial consultation, your hypnotherapist will begin by helping you to enter a relaxed state of mind. The hypnotherapist may then ask you to focus on the exam. You may also be asked to focus on the physical sensations you feel when stressed, anxious or under pressure. Once you have recognised these feelings, the hypnotherapist will offer calming words and ‘suggestions’. These suggestions will differ for your individual needs and situation. For example, if your mind goes blank when you enter an exam room, the suggestion may be, “You are in control, you know the information and you can do it.” Or if you are experiencing exam stress during a driving test, the suggestion may be a way of coping, such as “slow your breathing, remain calm and focus.”
The idea behind the suggestion method is that when you start to feel under pressure, overwhelmed or stressed about an upcoming exam, the suggestions and visualisations will enter your conscious mind and help you cope. You may also be taught valuable techniques that can help you relax and remain calm when you start to feel worried.
Hypnotherapy can also be used to overcome fear of failure. It can encourage you to focus, believe in yourself, increase motivation and boost concentration.
You may find that one session if enough to help you overcome your exam nerves and stress, or you may feel you need more. You will be able to discuss this with your hypnotherapist and work together to decide what techniques and how many sessions will be most effective for you. The hypnotherapist may also offer self-hypnosis techniques for you to practise at home.
An important part of hypnotherapy for exam stress is knowing how to remain calm and relaxed, even when the pressure is building. A little bit of stress is good for us and can give us the boost we need, but too much stress can hinder our abilities.
Alongside your hypnotherapy sessions and self-hypnosis techniques, it is important to remain healthy. In order for your mind and body to function properly and cope with the nerves that come with exams, you need to be well rested, continue to eat a balanced diet and remain hydrated. Stress can affect us at any point in our lives. It can sometimes appear unexpectedly, causing us to lose sleep, lose our appetite and forget to take care of ourselves. If you feel your exam stress is affecting your daily life, hypnotherapy can also be effective for sleep disorders such as insomnia, panic attacks and relaxation.
My new website has given me some “food for thought” on what I am doing as a Hypnotherapist and this was something that ran through my mind the other day, which I decided to share.
Stress and Anxiety are amongst the most common reasons people call and ask me for help. Everyone thinks that it will be so difficult to relax and get to grips with managing their stress or anxiety. However, they never fail to be surprised when I show then something we do automatically that will become their greatest ally. Its simply breathing!
Taking back control and managing their stress or anxiety starts with learning to breathe using a proper, abdominal, relaxing breath. So many times we are instructed to just “take a deep breath and relax”. Hypnotherapists often use this phrase when we start our sessions with clients. However, when I have asked people to do this I have observed several things. Firstly they throw out their chest, suck in lots of air, clench their jaw and tighten up the muscles in the neck and shoulders and suddenly their shoulders become best friends with their ears. This is definitely anything but a relaxing breath.
When we take a breath like that, it automatically makes us push out our chest, tighten up our stomach muscles and this then tightens our neck and shoulder muscles.
Breathing like this causes our diaphragm (the sheet of muscle separating your chest cavity from your stomach cavity) to be pushed upward into our chest cavity and squeezes our lungs. This means that the size of the two lower lobes of the lungs get smaller as the upper lobes of the lungs expand. ( see the ear connection? )
The problem with this is that less oxygen can enter the lower lobes of the lungs and that causes a deficit of oxygen. That’s because the two lower lobes of the lungs are actually the larger part of the lungs and have many more blood vessels and more alveoli (little air sacks) than the upper lobes. Therefore, less healing and relaxing oxygen is getting into our lungs and from there into the bloodstream and our body.
This type of breathing therefore causes more tension to develop in the neck, shoulders and the jaw, less oxygen to circulate and results in more overall tension and stress. So the first thing we usually do together is to learn how to breathe, easily and deeply.
Simple things are often the most effective!