Friday, 21 November 2014

MANAGING EXAM STRESS 7. Anxiety Management Techniques

a) Thought-stopping technique
When we become anxious we begin to have negative thoughts (‘I can’t answer anything’ ‘I’m going

to panic’ etc) If this is happening, halt the spiraling thoughts be mentally shouting ‘STOP! Or picture a road ‘STOP’ sign or traffic lights on red. Once you have literally stopped the thoughts, you can continue planning, or practice a relaxation technique
b) Creating a mild pain.
Pain effectively overrides all other thoughts and impulses. Even very mild pain – such as lightly pressing you fingernails in your palm – can block feelings of anxiety. Some people find it helpful to place an elastic band around one wrist, and lightly twang it when they are becoming anxious.

c) Use a mantra.
Derived from meditation, a mantra is a word or phrase, which you repeat to yourself. Saying something like ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ under your breath or in your head, over and over again, can help defuse anxiety.

d) Bridging objects. It can help to carry or wear something with positive associations with another person or place. Touching this ‘bridging object’ can be confirmation in its own right; then allow yourself a few minutes to think about the person or situation, which makes you feel good. This can have a really calming effect.

e) Self-talk
In exam anxiety or panic we often give ourselves negative messages, ‘I can’t do this’ ‘I’m going to fail’ ‘I’m useless’. Try to consciously replace these with positive, encouraging thoughts: ‘this is just anxiety, it can’t harm me’ Relax, concentrate, it’s going to be OK’ ‘I’m getting there, nearly over’ 


This article was written by Cindy Dring ofStudent's Services Health Promotion. If you have problems or worries you feel you would like to talk about confidentially, contact Cindy at 091-492048. Alternatively e-mail her at or just drop in to Aras Ni Eimhigh.

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