Stress & Relaxation

10 Stress-Busting Techniques for Exam Success

Stress is an inevitable part of a student’s life, but dealing with it doesn’t have to be a challenge. In TCM, stress affects the flow of Qi within the body, which may affect internal balance and trigger some health problems.

Therefore, while it’s important to study hard, it’s equally important that we study smart too.

Here are 10 stress-busting techniques to make sure you are well-prepared for the exams. Learn to manage stress, improve your appetite and get better sleep with these simple steps.

1. Sleep

Sleep is essential – not only is it a form of rest, it is also a physiological function that helps your body recharge and perform at its best the next day.

According to the meridian clock, which maps out a specific time for different organs in the body to work or revitalise, the ideal time to get some sleep is between 11pm and 5am. Of course, it is recommended that you get at least 7 or 8 hours of rest, so adjust your sleeping patterns and ensure you get adequate sleep every night.

2. Meditate

When your mind is relaxed, your body will return to its harmonious state. Meditation helps you focus only on your breathing, which is calming and promotes relaxation whenever you feel a little stressed.

To get started, simply sit or lie in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, and concentrate only on breathing in and out for a few minutes. You will feel refreshed and ready to continue with studying.

3. Nourish the Heart

The state of your Heart can affect your mind or spirit. TCM believes that if the Heart is weak, it may lead to emotional imbalances such as insomnia, palpitations or anxiety. Strengthen and nourish your Heart with Chinese herbs such as biota seeds, which replenish blood into the Heart.

4. Take A Break

It’s important to take a break from studying every now and then. For starters, your eyes need a good rest for a few minutes every hour or so.

If you have to, leave your study area and take a walk around the room. Let your mind rest – little distractions such as a snack or a quick phone call to a friend can do wonders to your concentration level for the rest of the day.

5. Eat Smart

Avoid greasy food and foods that can affect your digestive system. Take ‘brain foods’ that provide energy for your brain, including meals that are high in protein (white meat, soybeans, eggs), calcium (milk and other dairy products) and omega-3 (walnuts, salmon and several fruits and vegetables).

Eat healthily and wisely – start your morning with a nutritious breakfast so you can think, learn and concentrate your best for the rest of the day.

6. Exercise

Have a good work out at least 3 times a week to feel the benefits of exercise. Improve Qi and blood circulation while releasing endorphins into your body – these will help minimise the effects of stress when you are studying.

7. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of several ancient Chinese medical procedures. It is believed to help relieve pain and aid in de-stressing the mind. Acupuncture on the right meridian points may even enhance the Heart’s function.

A typical treatment involves the insertion of hair-thin needles into specific points on the body to elicit a healing response. These needles are so thin that most people feel nothing more than a slight tingling sensation when they are inserted.

8. Organise Your Study Area

Have a neat, designated study area and create a study pattern so that you are mentally ready whenever you revise. When a desk is clutter-free, it allows you to better concentrate on your work, and also gives you a peace of mind.

9. Eliminate Internal Heat or Fire

If you’ve been sleeping late and have irregular eating habits due to exam revisions, this may lead to a stagnation of Liver-Qi, and generate internal Fire.

To treat this, take herbs and supplements that help to eliminate this internal heat, such as Foxglove Root (Shengdi, 生地), Asparagus Root (Tiandong, 天冬) and Chinese Magnoliavine Fruit (Wuweizi, 五味子).

10. Set Realistic Expectations

Manage your expectations, and understand your capabilities. Instead of setting one long-term goal for the whole year, set smaller, achievable and realistic ones throughout the months. This can help you keep track of your strengths and weakness and will motivate you even further to achieve your next goal.