Reduce Exam Stress To Stay Sane

reduce exam stress with natural remedies

With the run up to, and on through, the end-of-year exams it’s a very stressful time for VCE and Uni students and their families. For many students it’s the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced and many succumb to exam stress. But natural medicine offers much help to overcome study and exam stress and give you the edge in exam performance.

Everyone reacts differently to challenges. While it’s normal to feel stressed at this time, for many the effects can spiral out of control. Read on for advice for managing study stress the easy way with the help of alternative medicine.

With so many high expectations, and so much riding on results it’s quite normal for students under pressure to suffer for many months causing a stress response in their body. The hormones released as a result of being under stress have far-reaching effects on every system in your body both at the time and later on down the track.

While some stress can aid performance, if stress continues over weeks and months it can take over and have detrimental effects. The immediate effects are often evident at the time but the long-term effects can continue after the exams are long over.

In addition, anxious and grumpy students have a big impact on anyone around them particularly on their family. Homes become a bed of tension, concern and even reach friction and confrontation if stress spins out of control.

 

EFFECTS OF STRESS

During worrying times the stress hormones produced effect the neural connections of the prefrontal cortex. This is where your working memory is located, as well as functions vital for reasoning, planning and problem solving, and for regulating attention and emotions all essential for academic success.

A sudent under great stress is therefore unable to function at their best in exams, no matter how much they study.

In addition stormy emotions weaken the prefrontal cortex and this hampers thinking and learning ability.

Students suffering study stress don’t learn effectively or remember well what they’ve learnt.

In order to perform to their best and to present their ability and knowledge well in their exams, it’s essential for students NOT to be in a state of stress. By actively reducing stress you increase learning capacity, memory, reasoning powers, and academic performance. By reducing stress you’ll feel calm, clear-headed, motivated and in control.

By stepping in early to reduce the effects of stress you support your health and it lays the groundwork for better performance. Reducing your stress can also reduce the tension in the home to restore peace.

 

REDUCE EXAM STRESS

While there are a number of exercises and lifestyle practices you can do to reduce stress the greatest impact is gained from using alternative medicine. Of these I see the best and fastest results with homeopathic medicines and flower and herb essences.

 

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HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathic treatment offers great benefit for all the problems associated with study and exam stress.

Remedies that individually selected to each persons needs for anxiety, difficulty focusing or remembering what was learned, problems sleeping, fear of failing, trouble settling down to study, irritability, feeling like giving up, even mixing up information or getting it backwards.

When the remedies are prescribed according to Homeopathic principles they are very fast acting and effective.

There are some great Homeopathic remedies to calm exam nerves and reduce the anticipatory anxiety and shakiness students experience before the actual exam.

Here are a few of my suggestions:
Gelsemium is a great remedy to take for performance anxiety. It’s perfect before an exam where there is a shaky or jittery feeling and a frequent need to use the bathroom.

Lycopodium is an excellent remedy during study break for someone who worries about being evaluated, who feels they know nothing and will look stupid in front of everyone, but who, once they get started performs wonderfully.

Nux Vomica is useful for an irritable person using too much coffee and other stimulants in an effort to push on through.

There are many other remedies for all those other consequences of study pressure and stress including:

  • feeling overwhelmed and out of control
  • self-criticism and negative thinking
  • irrational beliefs such as “nobody will respect me if I don’t score above 95”
  • feelings of catastrophe like “I’ll fail whatever so what’s the point”
  • inability to relax into sleep or waking up through the night and worrying
  • holding all the emotions inside until they explode
  • feelings of isolation and losing touch with friends
  • crankiness and irritability
  • problems getting motivated

Speaking to a professional Homeopath can clarify all the issues you are facing. They will put together remedies individually suited to YOUR needs.

 

FLOWER ESSENCES

Flower essences are easy to take – just a few drops on the tongue a few times a day. A few drops can even be added to a water bottle to carry around with you to sip in the moment they are needed the most.

Bach Rescue Remedy is a tried and true treatment for anxiety.

I find the Australian Bushflower EssenceCalm & Clear’ excellent for building and sustaining a state of calm in anyone, including students.

Australian Bush Flower Essence Cognis‘ is great for the student who can’t settle down and focus on their study. It balances daydreaming, confusion and a sense of overwhelm and gives clarity and focus to help with the assimilation of ideas. This is a great treatment for the next few weeks when you are trying to consolidate your study.

Individual flower essences are also great for study – Bach’s Clematis helps focus, Gentian for self-belief, Larch for confidence and White Chestnut for clarity.

I like to use and prescribe Herbal Essences as they can be combined in a mixture that specifically addresses the way each person individually experiences exam stress. This means it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment but one that’s tailored to each person. Herbal essences are great as they combine the thousand year old knowledge of the healing power of herbs with the positive effects on the mind and emotions of flower essences

ESSENTIAL OILS

There are a number of studies that show burning essential oils can induce brain power. All the oils can be used in an oil burner but will be more beneficial in a diffuser which disperses the droplets as water vapour. Here are a few to try.

    • Basil is one of the best for clarity and encourages concentration. Mix it with rosemary to stimulate memory recall.
    • Peppermint stimulates the brain and promotes clear thinking.

Lavender is soothing and relaxing and is useful if stress prevents sleep.

 

FOODS

While foods alone won’t turn your exam stress around (unless you’re bingeing) they do play an integral part in how you cope with exam stress.

It’s essential to eliminate all those that hold you back such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, junk foods and nicotine. But it’s just as important to add those that boost brain power to enhance your study and performance. Right now is when you need lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meats and complex carbs.

  • Omega-3 enhances learning ability and boosts memory power. Itss found in many foods as well as fish oil or krill supplements, or sea buckthorn if you’re vegetarian. Some good sources are oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Avocadoes increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Chocolate increases endorphin production to improve focus and concentration, and dark chocolate helps cognitive skills by boosting blood supply to the brain. But don’t overdo the chocolate and opt for dark chocolate over the sweet, milky varieties for a much greater impact.
  • Nuts and seeds help memory and cognitive skills and are easy to munch while you study

 

SUPPLEMEMTS

Taking a multivitamin can help keep up vitamin levels reduced by stress. Vitamin B and magnesium are both depleted during stressful times. Take B vitamins in a complex rather than as single vitamins as they work synergistically.

 

RELAX

Deep breathing is a wonderful way to calm and relax your emotions very quickly in times of extreme stress. Focusing on the breath helps to exclude outside thoughts and stop panic before it escalates. For the correct technique click here. 

Yoga is an excellent way to achieve relaxation quickly, and is perfect to introduce into your study routine. Alternatives are qi gong, tai chi or walking.

While it’s important to take time to relax, to take breaks, to eat well and get plenty of sleep, all the time allocated to study revision is no use at all if you’re not clear-headed, can’t retain the crucial information or are so strung-out you can’t even settle down to study. This is where alternative medicine steps in.

 

Here are a few things to take away with you.

  • Worrying about the study workload or exam outcome only increases stress hormones like cortisol, which impairs your concentration and ability to learn.
  • Food can be your friend. Reduce caffeine, sugar, junk foods and alcohol. Add foods that support study.
  • Steer clear of performance enhancers like Ritalin.
  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you haven’t got everything exactly right.
  • Take time off as studying 24/7 doesn’t work. Exercise is a great way to get back focus.

And crucially, now you know how, use Natural Medicine to gain the edge in your exam preparation and performance.

 

manage study

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles

http://www.evokelearning.ca/the-impact-of-stress-on-academic-success/
http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/managing-exam-stress

The Impact of Stress

Best Anti-Aging Secrets

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It seems like one of life’s ironies that just as you are getting your act together in your thirties you start to notice the first small visible signs that you are getting older.

You have a great relationship, your career is on track, you are starting to really make it in the world and you notice that little crinkles that were cute in your twenties are starting to get deeper and turn into proper crow’s feet. The telltale signs of long hot summers are starting to show as brown spots.

Hormone changes are at the bottom of these changes. Our bodies are designed to carry babies through our teens and twenties and after that our reproductive hormones start to decrease. Most hormone changes start about thirty and continue right on through menopause.

After the age of twenty-five we don’t produce as much human growth hormone (HGH) either and this means that we stop replacing cells as fast, collagen production slows and our skin becomes loose and dull. By the time we are thirty our levels of growth hormone might be only about twenty percent what they were when we were eighteen.

As oil production drops, older skin is not able to retain moisture as well as younger skin causing loss of elasticity and producing wrinkles. The decreased collagen in your skin results in thinner less flexible skin which is more likely to damage and is slower to repair.

If you nurtured your skin right through your teens and twenties, stayed out of the sun and off tanning beds, avoided any high living, ate perfectly and didn’t smoke you’ll probably look amazing at thirty. But, chances are you spent lots of your twenties out in the sun, a glass of vino in one hand, a cigarette or burger in the other. By the time you reach your thirties your earlier vices will become evident, you can see it in your skin. The normal effects of the hormonal changes in your body will be worse.

But don’t despair. There is still time to repair the damage and to turn those fine lines, saggy skin, blotches and dryness around.

HELP! HOW TO SLOW DOWN AGING

We’ve all heard anti-aging advice from our mothers since we were small. Brush your hair one hundred times, drink lots of water, eat lots of fruit and veges, get eight hours sleep and lots of exercise. While these are all important there is more to it.

There are two parts to supporting the regenerative processes of your skin and slowing the processes that cause it to age.

When we are identifying the causes of aging skin and hair we need to consider both the internal and environmental factors. Of course beauty does come from within and if we are not putting the right things into our body it will show up straight away on our skin.

Free radicals are produced by your body and are a natural part of metabolism. Your body can deal with a certain amount. But when you make poor food choices, are exposed to chemicals in your environment or the products you use on your skin and hair, you produce many more free radicals, far too many for your body to deal with, and this results in inflammation.

Free radicals are known not only to be the cause behind many chronic and serious diseases, but they also affect your skin by causing inflammation, destroying cells, and causing pigment changes.

 

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EXTERNAL CAUSES

In your everyday life your skin is exposed to many harmful toxins, from those found in air pollution (both indoors and outdoors) to those in your moisturizer. There are the obvious toxins like petrol fumes or those used in nail salons, but there are also a myriad of others that are not at all apparent. And many environmental toxins can affect our skin through pathways that include our gut, our liver, our kidneys and our lungs. No matter which way the toxin affects us, it creates free radicals in our body that lead to inflammation and the resulting signs of aging showing on our skin.

SUNLIGHT

Too much sun exposure can dramatically age the skin. It produces broken capillaries, wrinkles, age spots, dry, thickened, pigmented skin. Known as photo-aging, skin aging is accelerated by exposure to UV radiation. Wearing sunscreen may not be the best answer to the problem of UV exposure, as the chemicals in the sunscreen can actually react when they come in contact with the suns rays to speed up skin damage and promote aging.

Vitamins A and C are helpful in reversing the damage caused to your skin by the sun’s rays. Whether you take a supplement, eat lots of foods rich in these vitamins or find them in the products you apply to your skin, they will benefit. But don’t use products full of harmful chemicals simply because they have vitamins added. There will not be enough vitamins in the product to counteract the damage caused by the chemicals.

Eat a Rainbow
Eat a Rainbow

DIET

Antioxidant rich diets  are the answer to slowing down the aging caused by free radicals, by both reducing them and producing beneficial anti-aging results for your skin.

Foods that are denatured, pesticide-ridden, genetically modified, processed are essentially ‘dead’ foods and toxic to your body.

SKIN CARE PRODUCTS

Read your makeup and skin care ingredient labels carefully.

Some chemicals in most makeup products are endocrine disruptors and mimic hormones. Makeup, skin care and hair care products should only contain natural products. A good rule is if you can’t eat it don’t apply it.

Be careful of synthetic cleaning products as they contain dioxin which also disrupts the endocrine system and interferes with the immune system.

 

ANTI-AGING SKIN CARE REGIME

Avoid soap or foaming or gel cleansers. They strip the natural oils from your skin and cause aging. Try a quality, chemical free, milk cleanser, or make one your self. Any cleanser that leaves your skin feeling tight needs to be avoided as it could lead to dry, flaky, irritated skin.

Select a moisturiser that will help your skin by keeping it hydrated and protect it from the dehydrating effects of airconditioning and heating. BE CAREFUL, many chemicals are added to leave your skin feeling moist and soft but are actually dehydrating. If the humidity is less than 65% these humectants will draw moisture to the skin from the cells below the surface instead of from the air, which naturally causes the skin to dry out.

NOURISHING OILS

As an alternative a light application of a vegetable oil such as jojoba, coconut, almond, apricot kernel, camellia, avocado or olive will nourish your skin and can be used as an alternative to face creams.

Even those with oily skin can use oils as a skin moisturiser. Vegetable oils, particularly jojoba, nourish your skin without causing pimples, acne or blackheads, which are caused by a combination of factors.

Jojoba oil is a liquid wax which was used to treat skin conditions like acne and eczema in folk medicine. It is said to be closer to human sebum than any other oil which makes it an ideal choice for skin care. Strange as it sounds to put oil on oily skin, it works because chemically oils break down oils.

Gently massage a few drops of jojoba oil into your face. Place a warm washcloth over and allow it to cool before wiping off the oil. Rinse the cloth and apply a few more times until the oil is gone.

Don’t use these oils around your eyes, instead choose rosehip oil which is rich in omega 3.

EXFOLIATION

Exfoliating helps to remove dead skin cells but needs to be done gently or it will accelerate aging and cause inflammation. Natural options include oatmeal ground in a blender with almond or rice milk added. Form it into a light paste and gently massage into your skin before washing.

 

TREATING WRINKLES

While it is important to take steps to minimise wrinkles forming the challenge becomes how to get rid of those you already have without resorting to toxic skin care. Here are a few home remedies you can try out to reduce wrinkles.

  • Coconut Oil is one of the best home remedies to minimise wrinkles and it is easy. Simply gently rub organic coconut oil over your face and neck before going to bed. It is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Coconut oil contains an essential emollient to reduce wrinkles and make skin firmer and softer.
  • Aloe vera contains malic acid to improve the elasticity of your skin to reduce wrinkles. Simply cut the leaf off and extract the gel. Apply to your skin and leave on for twenty minutes then wash off with warm water.
  • Ginger is high in antioxidants and helps inhibit the breakdown of elastin. Drink ginger tea twice a day or eat a piece of finely chopped ginger mixed with a tablespoon of honey every morning.
  • Cucumber cut into thin slices and placed on the skin can soften the skin and help remove wrinkles.
  • Vitamin E massaged into the skin daily can help remove wrinkles (simply break open vitamin E capsules)
  • Rosehip oil patted gently into your face reduces wrinkles.
  • Apple is very high in malic acid. Mash a boiled or stewed apple. Add one tablesppon of honey and some milk powder (if you have it). Apply to your face and leave on for at least fifteen minutes before washing off. Apple improves your skin’s elasticity.

 

Above all avoid products which include parabens, parrafin, mineral oil, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulphate, or acrylamide.

These preventions and treatments are not just for those in their thirties. Everyone will benefit from a natural skin care regime and no matter what your age you can always slow down the aging process.

While you can’t stop the aging process entirely, taking a few simple steps can certainly slow it down and give you glowing skin along the way.

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

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Source articles
http://swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/question-does-glycerin-draw-water-from.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/155700-jojoba-oil-for-acne-prone-skin/                       http://www.top10homeremedies.com/home-remedies/home-remedies-for-wrinkles.html