Managing anxiety (during tests and other stressful situations)

So, your child has employed effective study skills, implemented various memory enhancement techniques and has gotten a good night’s sleep.  By all standards, they are ready for the test, but what about the inevitable ‘test jitters’?  What are some tips for managing anxiety?

Most of us have heard of the benefits of deep breathing to calm our nerves (slowly inhale through the nose, hold it for a few seconds and then slowly exhale through the mouth).  I’ve also heard that counting backwards can deliver a calming effect.

The brain is a powerful force and it can be hard to stop it, once it sets its course.  So, when fear kicks in and the brain starts to panic, it’s tough to rein it in (e.g. what if I fail this test and my parents don’t let me get that new video game, then I look like a loser to my friends, then…).  Some say the answer is pure and simple distraction…interrupting your thoughts to break the pattern of panic.

The below video proposes a fast and easy approach to managing anxiety by distracting the brain.  Check it out!

What I love about all of these anxiety management strategies, is that they can be used in any anxiety-inducing situation throughout a child’s lifetime (e.g. during a test, right before they are up to bat, before a presentation at work, etc.).  After all, I’d like to be able to make the claim that anxiety doesn’t exist in adulthood, but we all know that’s a load of hooey!

If you’re interested in teaching your children some strategies on how to take a multiple-choice test, read my post on Test Writing Strategies.  If your children would benefit from better study habits, you may wish to read my posts on “How to study effectively“, “Preparing to study“, “Mnemonic Study Strategies” and “Good Study Habits“.