To be completely honest I actually don’t feel like I’m in a position to write about how I stay positive because it’s something I struggle with. However, I have employed techniques recently to be a more positive, glass half full person.
It’s definitely not something that happens over night. I also believe it begins with you wanting to be more positive. I regularly get messages from young students completing exams who find it really difficult to stay positive and see no light at the end of the tunnel. So the next paragraph I will dedicate to them.
I am, similar to yourselves not out of the woods when it comes to exams. I am going into my third year of my Law degree and unfortunately it doesn’t get any easier. I do have a few coping mechanisms when doing exams.
- The first is probably the most annoying but is very true and the key to success in anything in life. It is preparation and hard work. They are the key ingredients to any examination process and in turn integral to staying positive when under the stress of examinations.
- The second is rest. To be honest I don’t take a lot of rest when doing exams but do take short breaks and an hour every evening either after dinner or before bed to do something non-exam related. This will allow you to be more productive when you are sitting down to do examinations.
- The third is something I used to do as a ‘time waster’ or to ‘avoid doing any real work’. Do not sit for hours making fancy beautiful notes with lots of colours and highlighted sections. This does apparently help certain people learn better through colour. But you do not need to spend hours pouring over making the notes when you could have a good portion of them in your brain in that time.
- It often depends on what kind of person you are – some people over eat (ME) and some people under eat when it comes to exams. It is imperative that you keep a balanced diet during your exams and obviously indulge when you need it. I always think keeping routine and your life as normal as possible during exams will keep you more positive. Attend that exercise class for one hour – it will make you more productive and determined to get work done when you return.
- Sleep – this is something I mastered at school but totally reneged on when I got to university without the supervision of my parents. I would never stay up extremely late before an exam or get up ridiculously early. I call it panic studying. I really would advise students to get at least 6 hours the night before any exam especially when they have another exam the next day.
- Focus on YOU! This is something I think a lot of students struggle with. There is a lot of talk about how much or how little other people have done and it is easy to focus on that instead of yourself. I would completely and totally IGNORE what other people tell me with regards to the amount of preparation they have done and would advise you to do the same.
- My last bit of advice is on the morning of the exam make sure to have breakfast, you do not want to feel weak at the end of your exam. Every single minute counts – use it! Make an attempt at every single question – you won’t lose marks for trying. Do not allow other people to pass negative thoughts on to you when you are going into your exam. My best advice would be stay on your own, tell yourself you can do it and that you have done your best. At this point, I always say there is nothing more that you can do and worrying will only make the problem worse. Just try to be as calm as you can and work as hard as you can in that exam.
- The most important thing to remember is that exams are just exams. They do not define you and do not let them. Exams will not determine how successful you become or how good of a person you are. They are just a small stepping stone in your journey. Life is too short. Your health is your wealth and that is something I have come to realise in later years. Now, I choose to put my mental health before my exams – because no exam is worth that.
Now in everyday life, I try to think more positively. I am a worrier by nature, I worry about everything but most of all my family – to the point of irrationality. The best thing to combat this for me is exercise. Going to the gym or to an exercise class immediately lifts my mood. If you are feeling low this is something I would urge you to try – starting off with a simple walk to clear your head. It works wonders.
In addition to exercise I find talking with my mum lifts a huge weight off my shoulders. Make sure to talk to someone when something is bothering you because thinking about it on your own makes it get bigger and bigger to the point that you can’t stop thinking about it. A problem shared is a problem halved.
I can let myself get very stressed by biting off more than I can chew. I suppose I am still very guilty of this as it is in my nature to be busy and to be involved in lots of things. I try to juggle a lot at the one time and sometimes I can let it get the best of me. The best way for me to keep up everything and not get overly stressed is to time manage properly. I make lists and give myself an allotted time to deal with them. I then tick them off and feel very accomplished when I get to the bottom of them.
My next thing may seem silly to a lot of people but it does work for me. I love watching motivational videos on Youtube and saving quotes from Pinterest. I do this from time to time when I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious. My favourite quote/prayer is the Serenity prayer. It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not, it sends an important message:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.
I am definitely no expert when it comes to positivity but it is something I am trying to work on. One thing is for sure that a more positive person leads a happier life and that is what we all strive for. No amount of material things, money or likes on any social media site will make you more positive or happier – it has to start with you wanting to be more positive.
I think social media is fantastic and it has transformed the modern world to make it a smaller place but also in certain respects a more negative place. I think one thing I cannot stress enough is that what you see on social media is not a true reflection of real life. What we put out there is what we want people to see. We very rarely talk about all the bad days or frustrating moments we have. Everything from the outside looks perfect – I know myself that I don’t often talk about all the negative moments or bad days I have. It’s not because I’m ashamed of them because I am well aware that we all have our struggles but I try not to pass on my negativity but maybe sometimes we should just be honest because it could be more of a help than a hindrance.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this post. I will be doing a blog post everyday this week so let me know on our snapchat: styledbysisters what you would like to read about.