A little bit of stress can be good - it inspires and motivates you to get things done. Conversely, being a bundle of nerves and having too much stress will throw your brain into turmoil and be completely contra-productive. Though experiencing stress around exam time is normal, extreme exam stress can lead to the following:
1. Brain fog: Brain fog makes cognition and processing information very difficult. In addition, you could experience difficulty in articulating words and putting your thoughts in order as well. The most effective way to battle a brain fog is to ensure that you get good sleep. Your brain needs to rest. Also, include probiotics such as yogurt into your daily diet. Probiotics perk up gut health; when the gut is healthy, the brain-gut axis gets fortified, and it helps clear the brain fog immediately. Also, cut back on coffee and drink plenty of water. Water flushes out toxins, and consequently helps improve focus and concentration.
2. Exam fear: It’s natural to have fear and apprehension related to exams. However, you can combat this emotion through exercise. Exercising increases the amount of oxygen that goes to your brain and as a result makes you more alert and focused. Exercise also releases endorphins – the feel-happy hormones, which fight stress effectively. Integrate 10 minutes of exercise into your regimen.
3. Flu: You wake up with sniffles and a scratchy throat, your body aches, and before you know it, you can’t get out of bed. Wham! You have the flu! It’s really stressful to be ill, especially with exams around the corner. First and foremost, don’t panic; make sure you have a lot of fluids, water, soups, broths and herbal teas. Amp up on vitamin C, and get the proper medication and rest you need.
4. GI upset: Frenzied studying and anxiety are known to cause nausea, diarrhoea and tummy cramps. Begin your day with a cup of ginger tea; it will prevent as well as stave off gastro-intestinal upsets efficiently.
5. Insomnia: Pulling an all-nighter, not eating well, and getting very little exercise can make you sleepless and build your fear and anxiety. In order to perform optimally, you need to make sure that you're getting 8 hours of good sleep every day. To beat insomnia, have a mug of warm milk to which a teaspoon of powdered turmeric and a generous amount of honey has been added. Make it a nightly ritual; it ensures that you sleep well. Curcumin in turmeric is the active principle which provides all the terrific health benefits. Turmeric promises to boost cognition and memory and help allay stress.
Alongside, it would be prudent to set aside 15 minutes every day to practice breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques. They calm frazzled nerves and shift your focus to the present moment. Use this time to rationally think about your worries and fears, and rid yourself of unhelpful thought patterns, thus enabling you to have a more effective revision.
Also, set yourself practical goals, whether it’s weeks, days or hours before the examination. Get perspective, accept your situation and work within the sphere of what you have to optimize productivity and reduce exam stress.
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