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).

Burnout, Yeah It’s a Real Thing

Are you someone who does one thing and then goes to another thing over and over until you go to sleep or do you skip sleep? Are you that person who works 40+ hours a week? Do you have a homework assignment after another that keeps you busy until the due date? Are you working on a project and then when it’s done your right away working on another? If you said yes to any of these questions, then there may be a chance that your heading to a burnout or may be burned out.

The Body Needs Energy

We wake up, eat breakfast, do something (school, work, etc), eat lunch, do something else, eat dinner, do something another thing, then go to bed and repeat the process the next day. Energy is what gets us to do anything, but you knew that. The reality is, there is only so much energy we have to do things until we can’t do no more. We push ourselves to keep going. We drink things with caffeine and sugar in them like energy drinks and coffee for example to get through the day. We then crash at any point in the day and sometimes we don’t expect it because your body has had enough.

The Reality of Burnout

Burnout is real. I have experienced it numerous times in my life. So your not the only one who experiences this phenomenon. I guarantee you that every person has experienced this. We push ourselves and push ourselves because our mind says we can. We get to the point where we run out of energy and we dip into our reserves. When we run out of our reserves, I believe that we just run off of fumes until we crash. For the time being our body and our mind are in sync with each other, but when we push ourselves too far, our body takes the steering wheel and taps out. It doesn’t matter what our mind says what we can do at this point, our body has the final word and always will.

Here are some ways to detect burnout and how to prevent that:

1. Eat Something

When we wake up in the morning, we have a tendency to skip breakfast and just have a cup of coffee. There are times we get a pastry and something to drink at Starbucks. We also just don’t eat or drink anything in the morning and go to school, work, or run errands, etc. Our body needs food for energy and we all know that; we just don’t have time or we ignore that fact. Eating something whether it’s waffles, a bowl of cereal, fruit, pancakes, eggs, toast, in the morning will help give your body the right kind of energy to help you get through your day. Recharge yourself with lunch and eat a good dinner. Skipping meals will can lead to burnout since your body has nothing to give it fuel.

2. Get a Good Night Sleep

Besides eating, sleep is also important to avoid burnout. Your body needs to recharge and repair itself. Sleep is good for building muscles, hormone growth, protein synthesis, and to process information you have learned. Sleep can also help your brain to have the energy it needs to stave off stress and better handle anxiety. Lack of sleep can lead to unwanted emotional outbursts, mood swings, feeling weak and fatigue to do anything. I’m sure you know or have experienced that a lack of sleep can lead to falling asleep at the steering wheel and dozing off in class.

3. Listen to Your Body, it Knows Best

As I mentioned, our minds may tell us to keep going, but our body has the last word. Our mind can help make us or break us. Our body will tell our mind that it’s had enough and needs to rest. Our mind needs to respond and act responsible toward that. We can’t ignore what our body is telling us. If we push our bodies too far, too much, we can possibly end up doing permanent damage to ourselves which will stick with us for life. I know you don’t want this to happen to you, so listen to your body, it knows best.

4. Recognize the Signals

If your doing something and you start to feel tired all of a sudden, then maybe you need to stop and rest. If your studying for something and you find yourself having trouble concentrating and focusing, take a break. If your out of breath from exercising or doing something extraneous, then you should stop what you doing and rest. Drink something, get something to eat. These are the signals that our body tells us that it’s heading toward a burnout and it doesn’t want that to happen. There are other signals that you know and have experienced that I didn’t mention here. Only you know what they are; best listen to them.

5. Manage Stress

One of the things we forget to do when we are so caught up in things is to manage our stress. Stress can be good, but it can be bad. Stress can take over because our minds are focused and putting energy toward completing whatever task were working on. With our minds preoccupied, stress can sneak in and cause us to not pay attention to the signals our body is telling us. If you are feeling stressed, first make yourself aware of it. As time goes on, try to pace yourself. You know stress is present and you know it can drain you. Try giving yourself a longer break or give yourself an extra break. Maybe you need a quick power nap. Get something to eat and drink. Whatever it is, take care of yourself. Don’t let stress take the steering wheel.

Final Thoughts and Sum Up

Burnout can hinder us from experiencing the joy we get in life. If we’re burned out, everything we do can get sloppy. We may say the wrong thing to someone because we’re tired which has made us moody. You have to listen to your body. It knows you better than anyone in your life. Exercise is good for you, just don’t overdo it. Don’t fall victim to burnout. Take care of yourself; you can’t help anyone if you’re out of energy.