It’s that time of year again – exams are looming, students dread the thoughts of studying and wonder how they are going to cope with it all. No matter how well prepared you are, exams can be extremely stressful making it difficult to concentrate, deplete energy levels and affect your sleeping.
Mindful meditation, even for just a few minutes every day is a very useful tool that you can practice to help you feel calmer, help you to focus and reduce your stress.
Meditation in the form of a simple breathing exercise can be done anytime, anywhere for any length of time that suits you. Here is a quick and easy 4 4 4 technique you can try:
- Get comfortable and close your eyes
- Empty your lungs and take a slow deep inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
- Hold your inhale for 4 seconds and then exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds
- Continue this breathing exercise 4 times
You can do this as many times during the day as you like – when you wake up in the morning, when you are stuck in traffic, sitting at your study desk at home or just before you enter the exam hall.
There are thousands of studies that have shown mindfulness meditation can positively impact mental and physical health. Here are just some of the immediate and long term benefits of meditation:
Short Term Benefits:
- Interrupts the output of stress hormones such as cortisol
- Decreases anxiety
- Calms your mind
- Improves focus
- Lowers heart rate
- Can lower blood pressure
- Increases blood flow to the brain
- Increases sense of well-being
- Improves mood
Long Term Benefits:
- Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
- Strengthens immune system
- Decreases rates of pre-existing cardiovascular disease
- Improves digestion
- Improves focus
- Increases energy
- Decreases reactivity
- Increases ability to choose helpful thoughts
Simple breathing exercises like the 4 4 4 technique can transform your health in the coming days and weeks, but remember adequate studying, getting enough sleep and eating a healthy breakfast can go a long way in helping to reduce your stress on the day of the exam. Speak to your local Haven Pharmacy for advice on vitamins & supplements that can also improve your brain, heart and vision function so you are feeling your best to give 100%.
Good luck to everyone this exam season, you’ve got this!