Friday, November 30, 2012

In the midst of Finals Madness

Hello my fellow sleep-deprived, hardworking students!

Because we are at the stage of finishing up final assignments and preparing for those dreaded final examinations, it seems like it will be a busy time for everyone for the following weeks to come. So, I think it will be appropriate to write about relaxation for this week's blog.

While writing one of my papers, I came across an interesting article (by a Dialectical Behavior Therapist) that may help you relax during this very stressful time of the semester. Relaxing may be the last thing on your to-do list during examinations but this can be beneficiary to help you tackle and eventually, conquer your exams successfully!

When you are in a situation where there is little control you have in changing the circumstances that cause your stress, it can be helpful to have strategies to change how you react to the stressor. This can be helpful when studying for exams and you have anxiety that prevents you from doing your stuff. With those changes, then you can find calm in the midst of stress.

There are many techniques designed to help you calm the body, slow racing thoughts and quiet the mind.  The ability to use these strategies to change your stress levels often depends on trying a variety of strategies to find one that works for you and practicing on a regular basis.

According to Matta (2012), here are a couple of relaxation strategies that may be suited for you:

  •  If you're an auditory person, music can be an effective tool in reducing muscle tension and calming your mind. Not just the typical relaxation music (i.e. the calming sound of the waves of the ocean), nostalgic music can also assist in creating a calming effect. Nostalgic music calls to mind a sentimental experience that can give you the psychological comfort you may need to be able to relax. Listen to the music with your full attention; digesting the lyrics while letting the tone and tempo of the music capture you. You will become more relaxed as you continute to listen to your nostalgic music.

  • Physical techniques like progressive relaxation may be suited for you if you are having physical tension. Progressive relaxation involves tensing and releasing the muscles of your body until your body relaxes. An example can be: raise your shoulders to your ears. While straining the muscles of your neck and shoulds, you hold that pose for about 30 seconds. Then you relax, allowing your muscles to fall. Repeat. Also, I find physical techniques like going out for a walk/jog, yoga, and standing up and stretching your arms and legs can help.
  •   Lastly, I think the most helpful technique in the midst of finals madness is mindfulness. Mindfulness, or creating a focus for your attention, is a technique that can induce calm and provide focus. The central to the practice of mindfulness is breathing. TIP: Relax your body and try sitting quietly for several minutes. Breath slowly and pause at the top of an inhalation and at the bottom of an exhalation. These brief pauses can help you keep focused when your mind has a tendency to wander.

There is no one right way to relax.  Each person is different and different stressors might affect you differently.  However, relaxing during these stressful weeks can help you get your work done more efficiently. When you can solve problems and reduce external strain and pressure, it is helpful to do so, but when you can’t change the world around you, it’s essential to have strategies to get you through.


Matta, C. (2012).3 Ways to Relax in the Face of Stress. Pscyh Central: Learn Share Grow. Retrieved from

You can take a look at that article and some other strategies article found in this website.

Happy (mindful) studying!

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