HOW DO WE CALM DOWN?

Now this isn't easy, but it does comes with practice.

Firstly what does it mean - to calm down? Are you calm now?

Have you ever thought what it means to be really calm?

You might be able to say you are calm now because you are thinking about study skills. But are you? What happens when you finish, will you be calm?

When we are studying we think we are calm because our minds are actively studying. As we are not nervous or angry or some other emotion, we can continue with our studies, But we are not completely calm, rather we are not agitated.

This is an important difference when it comes to the exams, because in exams sometimes we become too agitated and we have difficulty doing the questions.

Suppose we were doing nothing how would our minds be?

Try it.

Sit still.

Watch your minds for at least a minute - even better 5 minutes.

Do you see nothing?

Maybe for a while your mind was still but soon you think of something else and your mind wanders off. Did you feel this?

If not, for longer.

This is the way our untrained minds behave. We never learn anywhere to train our minds properly, to calm them down, our minds just latch onto one activity after another. This is fine normally but in exams all hell breaks loose. In exams it would be better to try to stop the mind latching onto all these different things, and focus on the exam questions.

We need to learn to calm our minds in normal circumstances, and then we can do the same in the exams. And I'm afraid this takes practice.

Calming Technique - the Exam Breath

Sit down on a chair.

Look for one like you would have in an exam. Try to keep your back straight - it helps.

The Exam breath is a calm breath but first we will take a deep breath.

Breathe deeply - in and out.

Now I want you to breathe deeply again BUT this time - watch your breath. Where does it go? Follow it - with your mind follow it.

When I breathe, the breath touches the tip of my nose, then up to the roof of my nose, then it slides down and enters the throat area. Then it goes down through the throat, moves down my back just in front of the spine. Then it squeezes past the stomach coming to a stop just below the stomach area.

Now it doesn't matter what your breath does so long as you can describe it in detail. Breathe deeply again - what does your breath do?

Now follow the breath as you breathe out.

Describe that to yourself.

Now that you know the path your breath takes - follow it.

In and . Out. In and . Out. In and . Out.

Do you feel calmer?

But your mind wanders off.

Of course it does, everybody's mind does - it is natural.

DO NOT WORRY. GENTLY bring your mind back to your breath. In and . Out. In a and . Out. And the mind wanders again. DO NOT WORRY. GENTLY bring your mind back to your breath.

I hope you now feel better.

And just before you finish, we are going to do three special Exam Breaths.

The breath is the same but we are going to think about being calm as we breathe in and think about breathing out any agitation (like we would have in an exam).

CALM IN . agitation out. Three times.

If you practice this calm breathing, then the next time you have exam or test nerves you can try it and you will feel better.

Now let's look at how to use the Exam Breath in exams and tests, and answer other questions in FAQ