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Stress and exams

stress and exams

Every one has stress in their lives. Stress can help people make the most of opportunities and what they do, or it can cause health problems.

This topic looks at how to help your children manage stress, especially stress about exams. In many communities, doing well in exams is valued very highly. Education enables people to have choices in their adult life and the best possibilities for future success.

However the stress that is felt by children and young people, whether this is meant or not, can cause them to do less well than they hoped to. Some stress helps people to achieve and do their best; too much stress can cause distress and failure.

Stress problems

· Stress becomes a problem when, instead of helping a person to do better, it causes him to do less well, or causes health or relationship problems.

· Stress can be harmful if something is happening that is too big for the person to manage, or if there are too many things happening all causing many smaller stresses at once.

Signs of stress problems

Sometimes stress problems can "creep up on you" so you are not really aware of too much stress until things start going wrong. The following can be signs of too much stress.

· Being easily upset or angry

· Tiredness and having problems sleeping

· Smoking more than usual

· Tense muscles, headaches and backache

· Worry, feeling overwhelmed and helpless

· Poor concentration

· Being "jumpy" and "fidgety"

· Lots of blaming and complaining

· Diarrhoea

· Loss of enthusiasm

· Loss of interest - things you usually enjoy

·  Less resistance to viruses and infections

Causes of stress problems

Stress problems can be caused by external things such as exams, or internal things, such as what you tell yourself, or both.

Some external causes of stress problems

· Other people expecting too much and pressuring you

· A sudden unexpected loss or change

· Having to be in a social situation where you don't feel comfortable

· Being in conflict with someone else

· Big changes in the family, eg moving house, getting a divorce, losing a job.

Some internal causes of stress problems

· Being a perfectionist

· Having too high expectations of yourself

· Finding it hard to cope with change

· Shyness or feeling uncomfortable in groups

· Always being worried that something bad will happen - being a pessimist

· Working too hard/trying too hard

· Not managing your time well.

·Unreasonable beliefs eg "I won't be liked if I am not the best", "I am not an OK person if everyone doesn't like me".

Coping with stress problems

Things that don't work

· Drugs - they don't solve the problem and they make you feel worse in the long run.

· Smoking, even though it may make you feel relaxed for a few minutes, doesn't help for long.  The effect of the nicotine is that your heart beats faster, blood pressure rises and your body has to work harder.

· More of the same - keeping on trying to do everything and building the stress.

· Drinking a lot of coffee or cola drinks - the caffeine can keep you going for a while but it can also make you more tense and irritable, and less able to do what you need to.

· Always having to win discussions or arguments.

· Setting really high goals for yourself so that you can never achieve them and have to keep trying harder and harder.

Things that work

· Be organised. Think about what you do. Make a list of the most important. Drop some things off the bottom if you have to.

· Learn to know your own symptoms of stress so you can take action when you feel them building up.

· Take time out - time for relaxation, fun and exercise - all important in reducing stress. Physical activity is a really important way to lower your stress.

· Stay in contact with friends.  Talking things over can help you "keep things in proportion".

· Change what you say to yourself - eg say "I think I can" instead of "I know I can't", "I'll try" instead of "I have to".

· Learn to do yoga.

· A massage or spa bath can be relaxing.

· Watch what you eat and drink. A healthy diet with fruit rather than sugary sweets for snacks is best for reducing stress. It seems that chocolate has some chemicals in it that help people feel better, so eating chocolate rather than other sweets may be best if you really want something sweet.

· Don't try to be perfect.

· If you know what relaxes you - try doing that. This can be different for different people, for some it might be reading, for others gardening, or going for a run.

In next part you will read about “What to do for exam stress”‌. So stay with us

Source: cyh.com

Other links:

What is Stress? (part1)

What is stress? (Part 2)

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