Anchoring Feelings Of Calm
A useful technique for overcoming exam stress is to learn how to anchor feelings of calmness by using deep breathing:
1. Find a quiet safe place to relax and close your eyes. Take a deep breath and as you breathe out, visualize any stress and tension floating out of every pore of your body. This is your time, a time to let go and relax in your own time.
2. Be aware of any thoughts that pop up in your mind. Acknowledge each thought, thank it and then picture it floating away like a balloon. Try not to attach to your thoughts, simply let them pass.
3. Spend the next few minutes taking deep, relaxing breaths and as you do so, focus on relaxing each muscle group in your body. Starting with your forehead and temples, imagine a warming glow of relaxation flow down your neck and into your shoulders and arms, hands, chest and stomach, and finally your legs and toes. Notice how comfortable your body feels. Nothing to do, just relax.
4. Let your mind float back to a time in your life when you felt completely calm, completely relaxed. This can be anytime in your life. What do you see in this memory? What sounds are present? What feelings do you feel? If you cannot remember a time when you felt calm and relaxed, then simply imagine yourself being calm and relaxed.
5. Take a deep breath and as you do so, make the colours of this image as bright and vivid as you can, amplify the sounds and increase any feelings or emotions you may associate with the memory. Imagine turning a ‘feeling dial’ up to maximum. Really feel the memory as though you are there. As you breathe out, blank out this memory by thinking of your favourite meal. Spend a minute or so, thinking about this meal.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 three to four times. The more you practice these steps the better you will become at invoking those feelings of calm and relaxation.
7. Imagine yourself a few days or weeks from now, just about to walk into the room where you will be taking your exam. Take a deep breath as you walk through the door and sit down in your chair. The calm, relaxed feelings that you anchored to your breathing in the previous steps should fill your mind and body, making you completely calm and relaxed before your exam.
Clinical Hypnotherapy, NLP, Brief Solution Focussed Therapy
Dip Hyp, Dip NLP, GHR (Reg), MSc, BSc, PGCE