Beating exam stress
Towards the end of the academic year, most students will face the daunting prospect of taking their GCSE and A Level examinations.
This is the most anxious time of a young person's life and the prospect of anxiety setting in is high. The ChildLine National Exam Stress Survey revealed that 96% of 1300 students who completed the survey felt anxious about exams and revision, while 59% feel pressure from their parents to do well, and 64% say they have never received any support in dealing with exams.
So what is anxiety and why is it effecting you now? Well, simply put, anxiety is our body's way of preparing to deal with a life threatening situation. It is part of the flight or fight system. This system used to be a great help to us - if we were being chased by something that could harm us (for example, a T-Rex) the flight and fight system would give us an opportunity to flee and get to safety. The problem is that in the contemporary age, we have no giant lizard attempting to eat us, but our body is still trying to protect us in the same way it did millions of years ago.
The emotional symptoms of this defence system can in themselves be somewhat overwhelming. The constant felling of being on edge, having trouble concentrating, always anticipating the worst, being restless and the feeling that your mind has gone blank. Worse still, these emotions are conjoined with physical symptoms - so what has started out as a small worry has swiftly developed into a panic.
There are different ways to help. CBT and exposure therapy are two main forms of treatment, however I want to talk about another method of treatment which is proving just to be as effective as traditional approaches. Hypnotherapy has had major successes in curing anxiety. This is due to the way it develops relaxation and promotes a good, healthy well-being.
The way that a hypnotherapist will work with a client is to first assess the presenting issues. When the therapist has assessed the client there are then a range of approaches that can be adapted to suit the needs of the client. One technique that is very effective in the hypnotherapy circles is visualisations; the idea of this is to promote a deep level of relaxation with the client, allowing them to see their problems in their mind.
The hypnotherapist may then offer a positive suggestion to help reduce the feelings associated with the stressful situation. Another technique that could be beneficial is to create a physical interaction, for example, having the client stroke or tap a part of the body in a discrete location (i.e. tapping your knee) to recreate a positive feeling in the mind. This can help the feelings of anxiety dissipate over time. There are many different approaches and techniques available so it is well worth chatting to your hypnotherapist to see which option is best for you.
An advantage of hypnotherapy is that it's quick and convenient. Other systematic desensitisation may take a while to take effect, however, hypnotherapy approaches can take up to six sessions. This roughly translates to around six hours. It is impressive to think that your problem could be resolved within the same time as it would take to do a full day at school or college. Whatever method you choose to deal with your anxiety it is important that you talk to someone, as taking that first step is the most important one to promote a healthy outlook.
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