Blog > Hypnosis can take the stress out of tests and exams
There are periods in everybody’s life that are more stressful than others. Often these times coincide with a heavy workload or an anticipation of a particular event. This could be an exam, driving test or making a speech at a wedding. A logical step would be to organise your time carefully, make a list, break down the tasks into manageable units and draw up a schedule.
However the very anticipation of the event can cause any sense of logic to disappear out of the window. The thought of having to do the exam/ test/make the speech becomes like a beacon flashing incessantly in the mind taking up all the available brainpower. This not only makes it impossible to think of anything else, but the mind is unable to absorb any new information. By using all of your energy for worrying, you’ll end up feeling exhausted, therefore making it hard to even contemplate spending time studying and preparing.
When an exam or stressful event is coming up, it is important to put it in a wider perspective. It is going to happen regardless so worrying about it will only make it more difficult.
A good first step is to find out as much as you can about the circumstances surrounding the test or the event. Where will it take place, what will happen exactly and what is expected? How many people will be there and how long will it last? The amount of worrying or nervous anticipation of an event can cause it to take on enormous proportions. It is easy for an exam to turn into the equivalent of running an Olympic race or a small talk in front of two colleagues to escalate into a solo performance at the Royal Albert Hall.
Secondly, take a realistic view, often we anticipate the worst, but the chances are that if you prepare carefully and stay calm it will go ok. What is the worst that can happen and is that really so bad? There are many different ways to manage a situation and achieve certain goals.
Thirdly, it is helpful to identify situations that you have dealt with before and are similar to the one you are dealing with now. How did you do and what did you learn? The chances are that you coped much better than you thought you would. Or that you learnt from the experience or any mistakes that you made, which in turn help you to do a better job next time. You can therefore identify your strong points, as well as the areas that need to be worked on.
We are all very good at coming up with a worst-case scenario for ourselves, but why not imagine a positive outcome? You will instantly feel better and more comfortable about the event. This will help you to feel calmer and more confident, giving you the energy and motivation to help you prepare as best as you can.
Find a comfortable place to sit and take 3 deep breaths. Let you eyelids close and focus on your breathing keeping your attention in one place, either your nostrils or your diaphragm. If your mind wanders, just bring your attention gently back to your breath. Now imagine you see yourself in a film on a screen in front of you on the day of the exam or event you are concerned about. See yourself acting calmly and confidently. If you feel yourself becoming anxious, you can stop the image and bring your attention back to your breathing and when everything is calm again you can watch a bit more.
When you finish watching, you might want to watch the film again, so it becomes more familiar and natural. In fact it will become so familiar that you find you can stop worrying about the event at all and use all your energy to study and prepare for it.