You know how it is, a list of to do’s, timetable to stick to and a deadline looming, but you still just can’t seem to focus on the task? You have tidied your desk, cleaned the cupboards, bathed the dog and caught up on social media…. time has passed and you realise you have been a victim again of to that “thief of all time”. Procrastination. “The avoidance of the task that needs to be accomplished.”
So why do we procrastinate? … there are many reasons, but it is often a fear or dread of the task that causes anxiety! If you have exams looming then this is vital to understand and overcome.
But what happens to us when we get anxious? Our natural body responses take over, FIGHT, FLIGHT OR FREEZE is triggered, alarms are sent to the hypothalamus which makes a series of changes in the body. These include; increased heart and breathing rate, muscle tension, pupils dilate, blood is redirected and flows goes to larger muscles. Making concentration in an exam really hard.
Longer term corticoids flood the body and inhibit digestion, growth, healing and triggers inflammation; healthy body functions shut down. And there is more…our ability to communicate, think and problem solve is reduced
Stress becomes a total blocker to learning…. And therefore relaxation is so, so important.
So what can you do?
You need to turn on the ‘Relaxation response.’ Switch off the panic signals and normal functioning will return to enable you to retain and recall and process information in your exam.
My top 5 tips to getting focused.
- Focus on your breathing – Breathe in for 7 and out for 11 counts. (if you can’t do that, think 4-7)
- Set yourself realistic time bound goals and celebrate milestones. Study so much for a specific time period and rest. Plan completion of topics/subjects
- Visualise success, using hypnosis. “What the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve” N Hill
- Use study music to keep you present and help your brain wave to be at the right level for learning
- Keep some normality to be with friends and family, meal times and exercise.
Studying – Just can’t concentrate? … Yes, you
Achieve in your Exams
Find out more in my EBooks– Relaxation recording and breathing techniques
Check out ChildLine, Mind, Young Minds, BBC for more hints and tips.
Want more support Get exam fit – workshops – to help you to study, relax and be focused in an exam.