It can be difficult to stay positive or “be up” as exams approach. The more important we perceive the exam to be, the more stress we can feel. While feeling some stress can be positive and help us get motivated to study, we all have a tipping point. When our stress levels reach our personal tipping point, this higher level of stress can lead to inaction, where we avoid doing the work necessary to be prepared and as a result feel even more overwhelmed. If not dealt with, the stress can build and lead to anxiety and depression.
The key to being positive and managing negative emotions such as anxiety and feeling down and depressed in any pressure situation including exams is to “fuel up”. It goes without saying that if we are exhausted, tired, stressed, depressed etc. it is very difficult if not impossible to deal with the pressure of exams. “Fuelling Up” is about boosting wellbeing factors in your life. You need to boost the wellbeing factors in your BODY, MIND and EMOTIONS.
BODY: Put your health first and eat healthily, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. We all know what to do, but we need to make the decision to prioritise our own well-being. Without the right fuel you will feel exhausted and depleted and it is very hard to be positive when you aren’t feeling your best.
MIND: To think more positively, challenge your perceptions. Write down your top 5 fears and worries. What’s the worst thing that can happen? How valid are these fears? Usually fears and worries are not based on reality but on imagined scenarios that have little to no evidence. If it’s something that can’t be changed bring acceptance to it, but if it can be changed, take action.
EMOTIONS: To help yourself feel more positive every day think of 3 good things that happened that day and how they made you feel. Also take the focus off yourself and do 3 simple but deliberate acts of kindness every day. It might be a kind word, a compliment, helping someone or surprising someone with a kind act. You will be amazed at how making other people feel better lifts your mood as well.