“I hate exams!”
“How I wish there were no exams!”
“I find exams, studies and all theory subjects are just a waste of time!”
“My life goes for a toss when exams come!”
“Momma !! oh, she is just not the same around exams ?”
The list of many such statements spewed by our young millennials has a stressed undertone to the bi-annual phenomenon called Exams.
In my practice, I have noticed that their beliefs around exams are getting paralyzing with each passing exposure to exams, and their perception talks aloud about how they find it a futile yet necessary evil.
Researches indicate that with such limiting beliefs, there is a perceptible challenge in successfully attempting exams. It is further complicated with a sense of generalized overarching anxiety and leads to them undermining their sense of self. It is indeed costing us a lot on multiple levels. There is an urgent need to assess our role in complicating the equation around studies as well as examinations where.
- Studying = Study + Dying!!
- Examination = No vocation clarity & vacation kind of downtime (* comes with so many conditions attached)
As a practicing Leadership mentor, I believe Handling exam stress needs to be looked into at multiple levels namely (a). How the emotion is processed by the real stakeholder-our children? (b). How we are firing it up and making it a lot more dis-stressing overall through by our own fears & expectations? And (c). What needs to be added to the chaos such that it unleashes our results and unfolds desired positive realities? Let’s begin to explore it one by one.
Emotional processing by our Children
(i). Exams stress and our kids– While we talk about the current mindsets our kids nurture around school studies, subjects and exams; its good time to jam their limiting beliefs around all these and facilitate a shift with more empowering thoughts like:
- Exams are a time to showcase my talents.
- Exams are a good time to get feedback on where I am going right and what gaps I need to plug-in!
- Exams are a developmental process
- There is no failure but feedback. I will learn if I go wrong and not bash myself up.
- ‘I can cope’ and many more such expansive mindsets and beliefs.
(ii). When kids are taught to engage in # positive self-talk and # auto suggestions. They can talk themselves out of any sticky solutions without external aid. It about teaching them tools once, supportive practice & voila… they are sorted for life.
How we are firing it up and making it all the more dis-stressing
(i). If you are an adult who blankets bans all other engagements or creative pursuits of your child because it is exam time, think again. Developmental Psychology says that this blanket ban clouds their mental clarity unidirectional into what is missing and since it is because of exams-they dislike them big time. Balance rather than blanket- ban could be a better choice instead.
(ii) Did you ever consider the power of ‘Sharpening the saw’? By allowing a balance between strict exam time- complex structure & downtime – easier, unstructured time can be a place of better learning, memory, and calm.
(iii). Contribute objectively towards a well-balanced diet, resting time, and a positive mind.
(iv)Your negativity, fears can be infectious; keeping a calmer mind and learning environment originates through you! You decide the culture of your place! Audit your own breathing and oxygenate your biology to not breathe down the already anxious child in exam time.
(v) Convey and communicate your hopes and possibilities clearly around their performance while holding on to your preachy sermons & well-meaning yet acrimonious advice.
(vi) Know that the secret of their future lies in their daily routines, if that has been skewed, any last moments, band-aids are futile efforts they will not cost you the precious connections and rapport than solve anything in that moment.
(vii) Endless, mindless and extensive studies around exams without any care around food, rest and relaxation is a bad strategy. It triggers more stress, anxious moments, fuzzy comprehension, and broken concentration. You won’t want that, would you?
(viii)Exam time is a time our children are learning life lessons of being disciplined; managing pressure; being mentally resilient, applying their best knowledge, your support than your overreaction is much needed in that time.
(ix)Your comparisons of your child with others can create more stress than required. Please ensure not to add fuel to fire by this tendency. Keep things in perspective & responses, not over the top.
Finally, let’s explore what goes into the chaos to flip it into positive outcomes
Handling exam stress can be combatted right in the new world order by the power of 6 C’s. Here you go on each one in detail:-
- Connectivity: When there is a good bonding and connect, every well-meaning advice is received right and implemented well.
- Cohesion: Stressful times are best managed when kids feel that you have their back. Coming together during tough times like exams is comforting and motivating in the same vein.
- Communication: Allow them to express their concerns, fears, anxieties, limitations in nonjudgmental ways. Listen and not just hear! Objective listening with no over-the-top reactions keeps it going at all times.
- Contacts: Allow catching up with regular contacts to keep mind frames fresh and reward centers of brain glowing.
- Creativity: Suggest ways to do regular studies, scheduled slotting g, time blocking, etc. in newer, better ways and more creative ways than traditional methods alone. Build the power of choices.
- Curiosity: Raise the level of initiative and commitment by suggesting they be curious about how they are currently doing their preparation and performance.
Let them audit what is helping them & be supportive and pitch in with your resources and skills on what can be tweaked!! Conclusively, while a little stress (eustress) can be helpful, a notch above can be distressful. Know the difference, # Spot it right, # Stop a while, and # Spin a new way when exam time is about learning & action than fear around results. Let’s Make the process more pleasurable as the outcomes are a direct fallout of the process and its power.
Raise the Initiative
Raise the commitment
by Raising the Idol- that is you!!
Exams may come time and again but the precious moments to build your child’s identity & self -esteem may not.
Watch the video: Creating Stress-Free homes in Exams
Consultant Psychologist & Transformation Coach
Founder- Counselling Interventions & Cognitive restructuring organization