Tips for Handling Finals Stress

student stressFinals are stressful! Everyone knows that. You have one last test to determine what grade you get for an entire semester’s worth of work.

What if the majority of the questions are from the one chapter you did not review? What if your pen runs out of ink and you can’t find another? What if you wake up sick and can’t go to the exam? What if? What if? What if?

Okay, chill out. Yes, finals are stressful and studying for them is probably one of the worst things about being a college student. But you do not have to completely freak out over them.

Here are some tips to help you keep your stress under control and make this stressful time of the year as good as it can be:

1.     Breathe. There’s a reason yoga teachers instruct their students to breath deeply. Breathing will get more oxygen into your blood stream, which will help to calm you. So when you have been studying for five hours straight and just can’t take it any longer, close your eyes and breathe. Aim for breathing in for a count of six and breathing out for a count of eight.
2.    Get away. If breathing deeply doesn’t help to calm you, get away from the problem for a bit. Everyone needs a study break now and then. So shut down your computer, close your books, and take a short walk outside. You could go get a soda from the vending machine or call a friend. Anything to take your mind off the stressful situation for a little while.
3.    Take it out at the gym. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you happy. Breaking a sweat will also cause you to breath deeper and will be a distraction, two things that also help relieve stress.
4.    Laugh. Like exercise, laughing also releases endorphins. So watch a funny television show, talk with your friends, or listen to a comedian you enjoy. Anything that can make you smile or burst into a full-blown belly laugh is a good way to combat finals stress.
5.    Catch some zzz’s. In addition to getting stressed out during finals week, we don’t really sleep much. It’s very common for students to pull an all-nighter before an exam. But this really is not a good idea. Studies have shown that sleeping before a test allows your brain to rest and really absorb everything you have studied. Also, when you are tired, everything seems worse than it really might be, or at least that’s what my mom tells me. And personal experience has taught me that a good night’s sleep really does make me feel better.

So if you start to feel like it is all just too much, take a minute to relax and try some of these tips.

Good luck on finals!

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