Post-exam stress: Be mindful with poet William Stafford..

examsOver the past two weeks we have been offering exam tips over on our Facebook page, and here on the blog. At last the exam season is drawing to a close and those who have been under immense pressure over the past few months can begin to unwind and resume their routine. Of course the results may not yet be in and until then it is hard to completely relax, but we thought today we should just offer some suggestions to support you over the next few weeks and help you to enjoy the summer.

Firstly, don’t keep dwelling on the result, or what might have been. You can’t go back and take the exam again and if you feel you chose the wrong questions focus instead on the fact that you completed the questions you did answer to the best of your ability. If you have checked and found you gave an incorrect answer, again, don’t beat yourself up about it. You can literally do nothing to change it.

So secondly, try to relax. You may say this is easier said than done, but remember finishing  a time-consuming piece of work takes us into a period of transition when  we do not really know what to do with ourselves. This is a time people are vulnerable to getting drunk or other potentially dangerous behaviours. So give yourself some time to unwind and take good care of yourself.

And finally, try to visualise something totally unrelated to the exams. Visualisation is a very powerful tool for relaxation, but if you are constantly imagining the grades that may or may not appear when you log in to the school or college website, or pick the letter up off the mat, it can only continue the stress response. It is tough, we can’t pretend it isn’t, but if you can practice some mindfulness meditation and focus on the present rather than on what might happen in the future you will enjoy the summer and ensure you meet the results head on, healthy and able to deal with whatever happens next.

To help you take yourself into a more relaxed frame of mind, we offer another poem for mindfulness and wish you all the very best for the future, which for the present is exam free!

“You Reading This, Be Ready”

Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?

Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?

When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life.

What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?

William Stafford

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