Prepare for exams with a healthy body and mind

Stress in student’s life

Being able to cope with stress makes students stand a better chance of exam success. This  would be possible only if students recognize stressful patterns of behaviour and find healthy ways of dealing with them. It goes without saying that the first thing for students to do is to recognize that they have a problem. Students face a lot of difficulties and burdens at school and in their personal life. This affects negatively their abilities if stress becomes dangerously chronic.

Realization of the problem and quick fixes

Admitting that stress is part of a student’s life is essential but most importantly, students must be aware of the risks of quick fixes. In fact stressed students turn to superficial measures that will have an instant effect but will be detrimental on brain activities and health efficiency. Some students will try alcohol, smoking, drugs, coffee… to cope with their stress.  However, most of these quick fixes, will only make the situation worse and add fuel to fire.

Five Pillars of Health

As the quote says “A healthy mind in a healthy body”, Eileen Tracy recommends in her book, The Student’s Guide to Exam Success,  that building the foundation of well-being will lead students to good condition for their exams. She suggests the following Five Pillars of Health:

  1. Everything in moderation – including moderation.
    As Tracy notes “the secret to good physical and mental health is to avoid excess”. She claims that “Although you need to be persistent, I’d rather you didn’t become a health freak. In a student environment, you can’t be totally disciplined. Just pay attention to how you lead your life most of the time. A healthy lifestyle is one that doesn’t take the healthy lifestyle to extremes.”
  2. Eat well.
    This means paying attention to both what you eat and how you eat. She recommends a varied diet with vegetables and fresh fruits which are good for the brain.  She suggests to add
    a. “avocados, soya beans, and fish…if you like them and want some extra brain power.””
    b. Also, “You are not just what you eat, you are also how you eat – so take time off for meals.”
  3. Exercise.
    Tracy explains that in her experience, “students know the value of exercise…Suffice it to say that exercise plays a vital part in counterbalancing the stress responses produced in our bodies by having to meet deadlines and exams.”
  4. Sleep.
    According to Tracy, sleep is a hugely underrated activity and that we’re getting less and less of it. She says,”although the hours of sleep before midnight are thought to be the most beneficial.” She says, “it’s common for students to burn the midnight oil, to watch TV or meet social or academic demands. An erratic lifestyle like this commonly produces sleep problems.” She recommends to re-regulate your body clock and go to bed and get up at “regular times, even if you feel exhausted all day.”
  5. Express yourself.
    Tracy explains that “the way you feel about your work and other issues in your life plays a huge part in how you deal with stress.” Here are her tips:
    a. practice taking a longer view, setting yourself realistic targets,”
    b. be forgiving of yourself if you fail to meet your deadlines,
    c. remember to keep disconnecting your self-esteem from your grades.”

Yes  studies are important, but never at the expense of students physical and mental well-being. In addition,being healthy is of paramount importance for students if they want to perform better in exams. Students must be ready to face the challenges of exams alive and kicking.

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