Mindfulness tips to help students deal with exam stress

To help our students, we have a number of tips that we share with them to help combat exam panic and stress:

1. Meditation

Guide students through a meditation. Meditation inspires students to concentrate on their senses and breathing, clearing headspace to think and regulate their emotions. We’ve compiled a playlist of popular YouTube guided meditations which can help students deal with stress. Students may find meditations challenging to begin with, but with practice, they will find it becomes much easier.

2. The Five Senses Drill

Similar to the guided meditations, a three-minute breathing exercise can help students to re-focus their attention and restore focus and calm. The ‘Five Senses Drill’ is a simple breathing exercise; after two deep breaths, meditators silently note three things they see, hear, feel and note what they smell and taste, before finishing the exercise with two more deep breaths.

3. Use specialist relaxation apps

A specialist app, ‘Stop, Breathe & Think’, generates individual meditations. Students feeling anxious can add in their mental, physical and emotional states into the app which will curate personalised meditations based on their results. The ‘Headspace app’ is another popular app which offers guided meditations, as well as animations, articles and videos.

4. Switch off your tech

Taking a step back from technology will also benefit them in the long run, so encourage young people to avoid sleeping with their phones beside their beds, and advise them to cut down mobile phone usage particularly in the evenings and at night.

5. Stick to a sleep routine

Encouraging students to get up at the same time each morning, eating healthily, and engaging in regular physical activity, will also help to aid sleep. Getting enough sleep is one of the most powerful ways we can protect ourselves from stress and anxiety.

6. Get creative

Engaging in a relaxing and creative activity can be very beneficial for students, especially during a stressful period, such as during the exam season. This could include colouring intricate patterns, sculpting, or simply sketching.

7. Build up your self-belief

Self-talk’ techniques remind students what they have done well that day or what they have achieved, and build self-belief.  Help students to adopt a go-to, personalised, positive phrase or mantra, such as ‘I am, I can, I will’ or ‘I believe I can do my best’. Repeating this phrase over a series of days, weeks and months, will help drown out any negative thoughts and will foster a positive attitude.

Teaching mindfulness gives students the crucial tools to deal with the pressures of life. It’s an approach that has a tangible effect on young people’s behaviour and wellbeing. The ability to be able to step back, reflect thoughtfully and truly focus is a skill that can help students deal with stress and pressure, both in and out of the classroom.

Long term, practising mindfulness cultivates a greater sense of perspective, within the school gates and beyond. It helps young people to develop a more considered thought process, rather than just ‘reacting’ to situations. We believe it makes complete sense to incorporate it into school life, and beyond, so students can draw upon it whenever they wish to.

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