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Stressed over R01 exam?

Stressed over R01 exam - photo of man nappingIf you’re feeling stressed over your RO1 exam, you’re hardly likely to be revising efficiently. So the sooner you get on top of that stress, the better chance you’ve got of passing your exams.

You’ve heard me say it before, physiologically with pretty much the same as we were 10,000 years ago we lived in caves. We have the same stress response. In those days the stress reaction allowed our ancestors to survive, but nowadays we seem to feel stressed all the time, even though there’s no real threat to our survival.

The adrenaline and cortisol released into our bloodstream when we stressed makes us focus on the source of danger in order to have us respond appropriately to it. Faced with real danger, this is essential. However, during normal working day, it stops us thinking straight and stops us creating new memories and accessing old ones so easily – obviously not an ideal state of affairs when revising.

In experiments with rats, it was discovered that long-term stress shrank the hippocampus, a part of the brain vital to retrieving memories and laying down long-term memories.

Here are three easy ways to take control and begin to alleviate your stress:

  • Breathe! Your brain needs oxygen to perform. Imagine breathing in and out of your heart. Take nice, long, relaxed breaths. Imagine breathing in peace and calm and sending it to every cell of your body. On the out-breath imagine letting go of anything you don’t need right now.
  • Have a laugh! Laughter increases production of catecholamines resulting in higher levels of alertness and memory. That’s what it says at the comedy store in London – so it must be true!
  • Tidy up! There’s nothing worse than having an untidy environment to cause a muddled mind. De-clutter your life and your environment and you’ll be surprised at how clear and ready to revise you are. (A word of warning – don’t spend your revision time tidying up – that’s called procrastination!)

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About the author

Lysette Offley

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