As educational requirements get more stringent in all levels of education, students everywhere experience considerable school stress. Here are some stress relief tips and tools that students can use to learn study skills, prepare for exams and minimize their school stress levels to make learning easier.
1. Manage time wisely. It's important to give yourself plenty of time to work on your studies if you want to do well, and you can save yourself a lot of stress if you plan ahead with good time management skills. Setting up a schedule for study, breaking up your studies into smaller chunks, and other time management skills are essential.
2. Get organized. Have a system of organization for note-taking, keeping track of assignments, and other important papers. Being organized can bring you the peace of mind that comes from knowing where everything is, remembering deadlines and test dates, and clearing your mind of some of the mental clutter that disorganization brings. Keep a calendar, a schedule, and a filing system for your school assignments, and you'll find it prevents a significant amount of stress.
3. Create a good study environment. Creating a soothing environment can reduce stress and help you learn. Playing classical music as you study can also soothe you and help you learn (unless you find it distracting).
4. Know your learning style. Did you know that we don't all learn in the same way? It's important to know whether you're a visual, kinesthetic or auditory learner, as you can tailor your study practices around your particular learning style and make success easier to attain.
5. Practice visualizations. Visualizations and imagery are proven stress management techniques. You can also reduce student stress and improve test performance by imagining yourself achieving your goals.
Take a few minutes each day and visualize, in detail, what you'd like to happen, whether it's giving a presentation without getting nervous, acing an exam, or something else that will support your success. Then work hard and make it happen.
6. Develop optimism. It's been proven that optimists - those who more easily shrug off failures and multiply successes - are healthier, less stressed, and more successful. You can develop the traits of optimism and harness these benefits for yourself, and do better in your studies as a result.
7. Get enough sleep. If you want your performance to be optimum you need to be well-rested. Research shows that those who are sleep-deprived have more trouble learning and remembering, and perform more poorly in many areas. Work your schedule so you get enough sleep, or take power naps.
8. Use stress management techniques. Chronic stress can actually impair your ability to learn and remember facts. Stress management is one of the most important - and most overlooked - school necessities. A regular stress management practice can reduce your overall stress level and help you to be prepared for whatever comes.
9. Learn study skills. The more prepared you are, the less stressed you'll be!
• Bob McDonnell is executive director of Arizona College Planners, L.L.C., a member of the College Planning Network, the National Association of College Funding Advisors and the National Association of College Acceptance Counselors. For questions, email Info@ArizonaCollegePlanners.com.