Exam time can be an extremely difficult time for secondary school students, parents, but also teachers!
Often accompanied by strong feelings of stress and anxiety it is important we equip not only students but the entire School ecosystem with mindfulness strategies to enable everyone the ability to cope during these times.
Expect exam weeks to be full of emotion - stress, anxiety, and perhaps a sense of relief - which is why it is really important that you take a few key steps toward mindfulness in schools. Doing so can lead to a more positive outcomes for everyone's mental health.
A regular mindfulness in schools practise can help you manage the pressure while sharpening your mind. As a parent, these mindfulness strategies can also bring a sense of calm into the home, which helps in providing ideal studying conditions where students can be present and focussed on the tasks in front of them.
Our in-house psychologists here at Smiling Mind have compiled a list to help all in navigating this tricky time.
Top 10 mindfulness strategies for students for managing exams
Top 5 Practical Mindfulness Strategies for Students
Get the practical side of things sorted by creating a comfortable study space, setting goals, prioritising tasks, and uni-tasking:
- Have a nice space to study. First and foremost, make sure your study space is comfortable, quiet, tidy, and well-lit. Keep your desk organised, and keep away from distractions such as a TV, phones, people talking, etc.
- Set goals. Set short, mid, and long-term goals to determine exactly what is that you need to achieve and by when. Goal setting can help with motivation by giving you something tangible to work towards.
- Write Lists. Write a ‘To Do’ list of the tasks that you need to do, in the order you need to do them, for each goal. Your lists might be for the day, the week, the month, or longer, depending on what you need to complete.
- Work through one task at a time. Many of us attempt to multi-task in the hope of getting things done more quickly, but multi-tasking is actually an illusion! While we believe we’re doing two things at once, we are in reality switching between two tasks, and in doing so, wasting time and energy to focus and then re-focus our attention.
- Put Technology Away and Take a 'Brain Break.' Turn off your phone, disable notifications on social media and close down your computer. Give yourself 5 minutes to enjoy something other than simply finishing your study or an exam.
Top 5 Physical & Emotional Mindfulness Strategies for Students
Manage the physical and emotional sides of things by keeping calm, keeping active, and eating and sleeping well:
- Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of being where you are in the present moment, observing whatever you happen to be experiencing at that time with an attitude of openness and curiosity and without judging or trying to change your experience. In this way, we are able to step back from difficult emotions such as anxiety or stress rather than get caught up and carried away in them.
- Meditate. Your mind is absorbing so much information during this busy time. Try a Smiling Mind meditation the night before and the morning of each exam, just 5 minutes will give your brain a break and refresh your mind and can help increase your performance on the day of the exam.
- Get active. As well as helping your bones and muscles become stronger and building a healthy heart, physical activity plays an important role in developing the brain and supporting essential mental functions. Also, the endorphins that the brain releases during exercise help to improve your mood, energy levels and even sleep!
- Drink water & eat healthy. To keep your brain functioning at its peak, ensure that you are eating well, and drinking plenty of water.
- Get plenty of sleep. Ensuring that you are sleeping well can improve your mood, concentration and academic performance. Conversely, lack of sleep can make you feel down or irritable. For teens, the recommended number of hours of sleep per night is 8 to 10 hours. Even during exam time! Try one of the Smiling Mind sleep meditations.
Smiling Mind makes mindfulness in schools easy to implement with whole school community approach to embedding mindful learning.
“Our school has embraced mindfulness using the Smiling Mind app and we have noticed a great difference in the children. Parents are also using it at home. In term 4, one of our teachers will be conducting mindfulness sessions in the morning for parents and students before school starts” - Teacher, Camberwell Primary School
Access your free copy of Evidence based guidelines for mindfulness in schools - A guide for teachers and school leaders here. See also our School Implementation Guide to help get you and your school started.
Smiling Mind have developed easy-to-follow curriculums for every school age including exactly how to implement mindfulness in any school whilst embedding a mindful culture amongst students.
Smiling Mind’s vision is to see Mindfulness Meditation on the national Australian school curriculum by 2020, with a goal to reach 5M young people by 2021.
We will do so by providing accessible, life-long tools to support healthy minds through our FREE mindfulness app with supporting education programs. We are a 100% not-for-profit organisation that works to make mindfulness accessible to all.
Smiling Mind app is a completely free mindfulness tool that you can use on your smartphone - anytime, anywhere.