“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present" (Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu)
Living in the present moment is what mindfulness is all about. It is generally defined as the "basic human ability to be fully present, aware of what we are and what we are doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us." All of us already possess mindfulness. We just need to learn to exercise it. Experts believe that by being mindful "we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our own mind."
I started practicing some mindfulness techniques when the pandemic started, which really helped. Just before the current examination period began, I tried searching for some techniques that can be followed during exam time. It was amazing to find so much content on the web focused on mindfulness for students to reduce examination-related stress. It was a big relief to see that I was not the only one stressing before the exams.
The ACS (American Community Schools) International website said that mediation, breathing exercises, sticking to a sleep routine, and building up self-belief can go a long way in handling stress among students. A study conducted among the university students in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2015 and published in the journal The Lancet Public Health found that mindfulness techniques help build resilience among students even in highly critical situations like exam stress. The researchers also tried to see if mindfulness had any affect on exam results, but their results were "inconclusive." However, the study did conclude that mindfulness could boost students' well-being.
A UK-based online tutors' website shared some mindfulness exercises to help reduce exam stress.
7/11 breathing: Simply count up to 7 as you breathe in and 11 as you breathe out. Do it for at least five breaths.
Mindful communication: Just telling someone you trust that you are feeling stressed can help deal with it. "A problem shared is a problem halved," it says.
CampusWell, an online health and wellness publication for students, shared a strategy for "in-the-moment test panic." It said, "every so often during the test, close your eyes and take one slow breath in and out. Research suggests that slow breathing induces a state of calm, according to a 2017 study published in Science. Plus, the periodic breathing breaks keep you from rushing through your exam and getting sloppy."
[Stories of Hope wishes everyone good luck for the exams.]