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How to Manage Stress

Take Control. Research shows that if you don't have a sense of control over what's happening in your life, you can easily end up feeling helpless and hopeless. Try to identify the sources of the stress you feel. Which of these can you do something about?

Set Realistic Goals. Facing your problem areas give you some distinct advantages. What do you want to accomplish in the time remaining? Make a list of realistic goals. You can't help but feel more confident when you know you're improving your chances of earning a higher test score.

Acknowledge Your Strengths. Make a list of your strengths that will help you do well on the test. Many people are experts at listing aspects they struggle with. But a person who also has knowledge of their ever-expanding list of strengths will have more confidence and a better perspective on what targets to improve.

Get Exercise and Eat Well. Whether it is jogging, biking, yoga, or a pickup basketball game, physical exercise stimulates your mind and body and improves your ability to think and concentrate. Likewise, good nutrition helps you focus and think clearly. Sometimes, you may notice that you fall out of good habits, because you're stressed in a different area.

Keep Breathing. Conscious attention to breathing is an excellent way to manage stress. Most of the people who get into trouble during stressful situations take shallow breaths. They breathe using only their upper chests and shoulder muscles and may even hold their breath for long periods of time. Breathe deeply in a slow, relaxed manner.

Stretch. If you find yourself getting spread thin or burned out as you're working, stop for a brief moment and stretch. Stretching will help to refresh you and refocus your thoughts.

Imagine Yourself Succeeding. If you are continually filled with self-doubt about the work, it will be difficult to overcome those feelings and perform well on the test. Although preparing for the work can take many weeks or months of extensive practice, you must be able to visualize that you will gain confidence and take control of the task/situation. Confidence gained through preparation leads to better performance. Do no wait for it to occur the other way around.

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