Did you know that India has some of the toughest examinations in the world? But you don’t have to take IIT JEE to know how overwhelming exams are in India- your semester exams would suffice. During the exam season, it is common to feel like giving up altogether. At such times, they say “keep it together”. So how does one “keep it together” during exams? Try mindfulness.
You often hear of the idea of mindfulness, especially in the hundred different meditation schools and in the thousand different self-help books that come out every year. Mindfulness means “the ability to be fully present” and be “aware of what we are and what we are doing.” This ability can be a potent exam stress management tool.
What does being mindful mean?
At any given moment, multiple thoughts, tasks and external stimuli compete for your attention. And attention is a scarce commodity. You can’t be preoccupied with how you got a 5-marker wrong in yesterday’s exam and expect to get the 5-markers right in today’s exam. To do your present task well, you need to be aware of what is happening right now. Being mindful means to pay full attention to the task at hand with an open non-judgemental mindset.
Why be mindful?
Being mindful enhances your focus. Given the barrage of distractions in today’s world, focusing on any task, let alone studies, is a feat. And mindfulness is a great way to acquire laser-sharp focusing ability.
With improved focus, your study sessions will become less tedious. You would be able to understand your lessons with ease, meaning more syllabus covered in less time. You might even be able to come up with better ways to solve your numericals, giving you an edge over your classmates.
When you are mindful, you wouldn’t be affected by the stress as much. A low-stress mental environment means productive study sessions and lower chances of falling sick during your exams.
How to be mindful?
- Starting with the most obvious, live in the moment. Stop worrying about the mistakes you made and the questions you left unanswered in the last exam. Start paying attention to the subject at hand. This gets easier with practice.
- One of the most widely-used method is mindfulness meditation. You don’t necessarily have to twist yourself to get into padmasana. Sit comfortably with a good posture and focus on your breathing. Even if your attention wanders, persist in bringing your focus back.
- This works especially if you are feeling extra jittery- walking variant of mindfulness meditation. Take time off for a short slow walk in a quiet neighborhood. Focus on breathing steadily and your surroundings.
- Try self-talk techniques. Develop a habit of quietly encouraging yourself with positive thoughts whenever intrusive thoughts threaten your mental environment.
- Cut back on your screen time. Staying away from social media can improve your mental state during exam.
- Make sure to get sufficient shut-eye. When you sleep, your body works to refresh your brain’s biological system. After a good night of sleep, you will find that mindfulness is something that comes easy.
Mindfulness could work for everyone, but it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Hence, you will have to try out different techniques to zero in on the technique that fits you. But the core idea remains the same- try it. You will feel much better.