Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Don't forget to breathe!

Exam time is just around the corner!  I have some advice for you:

Don't forget to breathe!

Well, duh-uh, of course you are going to breathe.  What I'm referring to is a proven, effective way to quickly and easily reduce test anxiety during a final exam.  We all suffer from some degree of text anxiety, right?  So I think we can all benefit from this technique.

It's simple: when you start to feel anxious or stressed during an exam simply stop focusing on the exam and start focusing on your breathing.  Breathe slowly and  try to soften your focus, so that you're not really concentrating on anything in particular.  But you are vaguely aware of the slow inhalation and exhalation of quiet breathing.

As a recent report on National Public Radio reminds us, this seems to trigger our parasympathetic "quiet breathing" response . . . thus counteracting the sympathetic "stress response" that is often characterized by rapid breaths.  This "trick" gets the body to reduce the stress response all around.

Because we know that stress can reduce test performance outcomes, it's a good idea to do what you can to reduce test anxiety during an exam right?

By the way, it seems to work better if you practice it frequently . . . so why not start right now?

Listen to (or read) the story at Just Breathe: The Body Has a Built-in Stress Reliever.

To help you get ready, look at some of my previous blog articles for tips, tricks, and videos on various other exam strategies.

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