Video Time: 3 Ways Mindfulness Exercises Help You Relax and Keep You in the Present

Hey everyone, I hope your enjoying the summer season. For this Video Time post, I thought we focus on the topic of Mindfulness. These videos will explain what mindfulness is and the techniques that make it up.

These videos will discuss how to lower your stress levels, slow down your thoughts, and focus on your 5 senses. One video will break down the process of how a thought can quickly consume us and result in a negative feeling. We can have negative thoughts in which we can acknowledge and leave it at that. Whether or not we act on them is up to us.

Any thought can come into our mind and change how we behave and what we say vert fast. Remember different parts of our body can be affected by this process as well.

Take care, stay safe, and remember your not alone and you have worth in this world.

Test Anxiety…Yep That

Are you someone who does well at tests? If you do, good for you. Does this mean that you had trouble with them at first? Maybe you did and if you did, then you must have found some way to overcome the anxiety that can come when taking a test. Now if your someone who struggles with taking tests and gets stressed out about them, well you’re not alone. I personally have dealt with test anxiety ever since grade school.

What is Test Anxiety?

Test anxiety is when you get stressed and anxious about an upcoming exam or quiz. You are very concerned and worried about how you will do on it. The big thing on your mind is whether if you’ll pass or fail. Test anxiety can cause you to have trouble concentrating and not think clearly. You can second guess yourself over and over not knowing what answer is the right one. You may begin to sweat, your heart beats faster, you get butterflies in your stomach, you experience lightheadedness, possible nausea, even headaches. There are even emotional symptoms one can get from test anxiety. You can experience anger, depression, distress, low self-esteem, and hopelessness all as a result of the high amount of anxiety your experiencing.

Test Anxiety: Am I Born With It?

The short answer to that is no, but let’s dive deeper into why that is. Test anxiety comes about from different things. Test anxiety is connected to not just a grade, but your self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem, you may think over and over that you’ll not do well on a test and get a failing grade. Test anxiety can come from the fear of being alone and being alienated by friends, parents, peers because of bad grades. Test anxiety also comes about from not having all the control. What I mean by that is we that can’t control what questions will be on the test and therefore we don’t know precisely what to study for which can cause us to stress out. We may also be afraid of a teacher calling us out in front of the class about how bad we did on the test.

If you do struggle with test anxiety, here are some ways to overcome it so that it doesn’t mess with your mind:

1. Eat a Good Meal

Eating a good healthy meal before taking a test will give you the right kind of energy to take the test. Even though most exams require you to sit down and move your arm to write answers or click on an answer on a computer screen, your body is still using a good amount of energy. I’m talking about mental energy which comes from whatever you ate, drank, and got from sleep the night before just like physical energy. For example, if you have a test in the morning, don’t skip breakfast. Eat something that will fill you up. The food will give you the energy to help you focus better and remember what it was that you studied. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods like granola bars, oatmeal and muffins can be helpful. Experiment and find what healthy foods help you do better on tests.

2. Get a Good Night Sleep the Night Before

This is something that we have heard before by our parents, sometimes teachers, and friends. Getting a good night sleep in general helps your body to better fight off unwanted stress and decrease anxiety levels. If you try to cram everything in the night before, you can overwhelm yourself and it can increase your anxiety. You can better handle and tolerate unwanted things and people that cause you stress. When you study, I have found that getting a good night’s sleep helps your brain absorb the knowledge and store it away. Therefore, since taking a test can cause your anxiety levels to go up, getting a good night’s sleep should help decrease it. You can wake up more refreshed which can increase your confidence.

3. Study with Friends and Family

What can help lower your test anxiety is studying with others who may be taking the same test. This way, your classmates can help you and maybe you can help them. If this isn’t an option, don’t sweat it. Ask your parents to help or even your siblings (if you have them). They can quiz you and maybe help you learn new ways to study. A tutor is also an option. Schools and colleges have them. Don’t be scared to seek them out. Also don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or professor for help. Most of them want you to succeed.

4. Arrive Early and Relax

The one thing we make the mistake of doing is rushing so were not late to take the test. I’m guilty of this and a whole lot of people are. Try arriving early and relax. Take some deep breaths. If waiting is stressing you out, distract yourself. Read something, play a game on your phone (if phones are aloud in the room), to keep your mind occupied. If there are other people who look anxious, if you can, don’t sit next to them and try to not be around them. Seeing them can make you even more anxious and you don’t want that.

5. Talk Positive

Before the test is handed to you, you may be thinking ‘I’m not going to do well’ or ‘I didn’t study enough’. This kind of talk can make you feel bad about yourself and hurt your confidence. Your anxiety levels go up and you can psych yourself out even before the test begins. Say positive things to yourself about the situation like ‘I’m prepared for this’, ‘If I fail, my life won’t end’, ‘I’m not a stupid person’. Saying these things can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Don’t fall victim to the downward spiral of negative thinking.

Final Thoughts and Sum Up

Test anxiety has gotten me because I let those negative thoughts get to me. People fall victim to it, but hopefully this post has helped you realize that one, your not alone in experiencing test anxiety and second, that there are ways to eliminate it. Try to visualize yourself succeeding on the test. Afterwards, treat yourself to something nice regardless if you passed or failed. This will help you get your mind off of the test and relax and study for the next one (if you have another one lined up).

Did You Happen to Fail at Something, Try Again

We’ve all had it happen to us.  We try something and we fail at it.  I have experienced this many times in my life and that means you aren’t the only one who has experienced this.  Well that means we should give up and never try again right?  Nope you’re wrong about that.  

Some people have a knack for things and those things come easily for them.  It’s all right if that isn’t you all the time.  You have a knack for things that another person doesn’t.  That person could be your friend, family member, or the person right next to you.  Trial and error is a concept that everyone faces in life in some way shape or form.  We deal with it especially when we try something new for the first time.  However, we don’t always get it the first time.  I know that’s the case for me.   

When we fail at something, it can be easy to fall victim to the negativity and stress.  We tend to look down on ourselves and lower our entire self-esteem over this one failure big or small.  What we have to do is pick ourselves back up, dust ourselves off, and try again. For example, say you are learning how to shoot a bow, you have taken the lessons and you are trying to hit the bull-eyes, but you keep missing.  You have two options at this point, give up or pick up your arrows and try again.  Maybe it takes you over a 100 tries and a couple of hours, but with persistence you finally hit that bulls-eye.  Your not a failure for it taking this long because, despite the attempts and time, you eventually hit it.

Starting or trying something new takes time and practice to get good at it.  Were not perfect, if we were then this concept wouldn’t exist.  If you try something new and still can’t get it, stay with it, but let it consume you to the point where you stop taking care of yourself.  Don’t skip meals or sleep; your body needs these things for energy and concentration.

Here are some tips that can help you better understand this concept as well as prevent you from succumbing to the negativity:

1. Ask For Help 

We all need it time and time again.  We try something, we fail, we try again but with a twist the next time.  Asking for help with something we are struggling with doesn’t mean we are failures; it means we are being smart.  Say we get help with our math homework for a month, we aren’t giving up on trying to learn something new, we are still trying, were just doing it differently.  The goal is to do the homework ourselves and get a good grade on it.  So if we need a tutor or help from the teacher for a month until we understand it, then so be it.  

2. Take Time to Relax and Get Your Energy Back

Trial and error takes up time, but also energy, physically and mentally.  Trying over and over can lead to burnout if you don’t give yourself a break to recover.  Step away for an hour, a couple hours, maybe a day depending on what you have going on.  Don’t neglect people or other important things just because you want to get good at something.  Getting your energy back and getting the right mindset to tackle something again still isn’t giving up because you are still coming back to it.

3. Talk with Someone

Frustration and sometimes sadness can build up from many failed attempts of trial and error.  Besides taking time for yourself, it can be helpful to talk things out with a friend, parent, sibling, someone who you know will listen.  You could be stuck on something and a different viewpoint and insight can be helpful and bring you the clarity that you need. You may not get a solution, maybe you just need to vent which can be relieving.  If you do vent, just make sure it’s to someone who won’t feel offended or hurt by you.  It can be helpful to have someone help you look at things in another way.  

4. Is it Really Important?

What I have had to ask myself is ‘what I’m trying to accomplish, is it really important?’  I have answered yes and no.  When I answered yes, I asked myself what the benefits to learning this new thing will bring me.  I could come up with a small list for short-term goals and long-term goals.  When I answered no, I had to stop and reevaluate.  Is learning this new skill, technique, or thing going to enrich me or not?  If you have tried to learn something new and it’s not working and it’s costing you time away from schoolwork, hurting your job performance, neglecting friends, family, your health, or breaking promises to others, you might need to stop and walk away.  The idea is that you don’t give up and keep trying, however remember to be smart and use common sense.  If the consequences are greatly outweighing the benefits, then it wouldn’t be worth it.    

5. Set Realistic Goals

You fail and keep trying again, set a goal or goals to provide structure and motivation.  Are the goals short or long, well you have to decide.  Do you want success in whatever it is by the end of the week, month, year?  Setting goals can provide the energy and motivation you need to keep going and keep trying at what you are trying to accomplish. When setting these goals make sure you can achieve them.  For example, wanting to become a pro soccer player by the end of the week will require more time than seven days.  Learning how to hit a golf ball straight regardless of distance by the end of the week sounds more achievable.

Giving up is the easy thing to do and these days we tend to look for the easy way out.  During these tough times is where we have to dig deep and persevere.  We are capable of accomplishing anything if we are determined and put in the hard work and time.  If you continue to fail at what your working on, keep in mind that you are not a failure.  We tend to let the stress and frustration get to us and begin listening to the lies it can tell us.