Sweaty palms? Check. Racing heart? Check. Results day looming? Check! This blog post will explore five powerful techniques that will help you navigate the emotional rollercoaster of results day with a resilient outlook, taking your mindset to new heights.
There's even a game-changing mantra at the end of this that will transform how you approach life's challenges.
1) Visualisation is a powerful technique used by many successful individuals across various fields. Take some time before results day to visualise yourself achieving your desired outcome. Close your eyes and vividly imagine the moment you receive positive news. Engage all your senses, visualise the surroundings, and feel the emotions associated with that moment. By repeatedly visualising success, you create a positive mental image and reinforce your belief in your capabilities.
The act of closing your eyes and rehearsing what you want begins to install the neurological hardware in your brain to appear as if you have already achieved it. The brain is no longer fixated on past events; now it can be a map to your future. If you keep installing that 'hardware' that will eventually turn into your long-term 'software program'. This technique helps build self-assurance, reduces anxiety, and will create a more positive results day experience. Shut your phone off, close your door, take a break from the real world and begin to practice.
2) Another great way to manage your stress is through mindfulness. These are tools that can provide a space for your mind to feel grounded and calm. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the current moment, without any judgment. The first step is being able to focus on your breath, carefully observing each inhale and exhale. As you are breathing, take a mental note of any thoughts or feelings that arise, but let them pass gradually without letting yourself feel any sort of attachment. Mindfulness helps break the cycle of anxious thoughts and redirects your attention to the present moment. By cultivating this mental technique, you can approach results day with a clearer mind, allowing you to make better decisions and respond to any outcome with far greater clarity and composure.
3) In the same vein, meditation can help you manage your thoughts and end the seemingly never-ending cycle of fake scenarios and spiraling that your mind can so easily fall into. To really feel the benefits of meditation, it takes practice and time but once you discover its positive effects, you will reap the rewards. There are free apps such as 'Headspace' that help you on this journey and map out how to go about it step by step. Using the app once a day will help your mind switch off from the busy outside world and all your exam stresses to only focus on the present moment. This practice will be extremely beneficial in clearing your mind and understanding that your thoughts do in fact dictate your reality. Once you realise this, they become far easier to control and monitor, especially on results day.
4) Perhaps you are looking for a different way to free yourself from exam worries and struggles. Journaling is an extremely useful tool to rationalise your thoughts and look at them with a more balanced mind. Journaling is the practice of regularly writing down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a personal journal or diary. It is a powerful tool that can provide tremendous support and help you navigate the ups and downs of the upcoming results day. By putting your thoughts on paper, journaling allows you to process and express your emotions, fears, and expectations in a safe and private space. Journaling also helps to clarify your goals and aspirations, enabling you to plan your next steps with a clearer perspective. It can also serve as a record of your journey, allowing you to look back and see how far you have come, providing inspiration and motivation for future endeavors. Whether you choose to write about your anxieties, successes, or lessons learned, journaling offers a therapeutic and empowering practice that supports your emotional well-being and helps you make sense of the rollercoaster of emotions that results day can bring.
Here is an example of an exercise you can do while journaling: The Worry Tree. The Worry Tree is designed to help you think differently when it comes to things that worry you. As you dive deeper and deeper into what is going on, you start to gain a new perspective. The Worry Tree is a simple tool developed by Butler and Hope (1995) to help people make better decisions. It can also stop you from turning a simple worry into a catastrophe. The further you break the worry down on paper, the more clearly you can see other outcomes and change your focus.
5) Last but certainly not least is the power of speaking your truth to friends, family, or ultimately anyone you trust. It is so important that during this time you do not bottle up your feelings but express them to someone who can listen and give you supportive advice. It is the camaraderie feel with each other and the sense of togetherness which is so vital at this time. Be able to lean on your friends as they will lean on you. Never underestimate how well someone close to you understands you; they are able to access your true self and really give you the support you may need. One piece of advice can really change the way you look at something. You should never feel afraid to reach out to someone and simply ask to chat. Speaking your truth and being able to rid yourself of some of your thoughts that are bottled up will allow a clearer space in preparation for results day. Remember, you're not the only one riding this rollercoaster - your friends are likely feeling the same.
Results day can be a nerve-wracking experience, but by implementing these mental techniques, you can better prepare yourself for the emotional rollercoaster that lies ahead. Embrace a growth mindset, visualise success, practice mindfulness, prepare for all outcomes, and seek support and perspective. Remember, results do not define your worth, and setbacks are what make us stronger and teach us the most valuable lessons. Heard of Thomas Edison? It took him 1,000 tries to invent the light bulb. Those weren't failures, but lessons. This principle applies to your exam grades too. Failure is just another stepping stone to success.
Finally, here's the promised mantra: "If you can't change something, don't worry about it. Instead, focus on what you can change and go for it." Life will always be full of unknowns, and that includes exam results. It might be uncomfortable, but accepting that you can't predict or control everything is a crucial step towards feeling better. You're stronger than you think, and you have the power to shape the next.