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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm Anxious About Upcoming Test

My Question Is:

Shortly I will have final exam for becoming a tourist guide. It is my second time attending because first time I failed. It can be difficult exam, because as a guide I will lead small group of people ( including committee professors) either on the bus or outside.

My last experience was not so good, because I was so self-focused and I disliked feeling the stress before my turn. Thanks to you, I understand that it is mind’s survival mechanism and I know very well to direct my mind into different direction, using non-emotional and neutral thought.
Anyway, I am afraid that emotions will prevail again and that I will lose clarity of mind. Last time on the exam my brain was really excited to perform, I was maybe too confident and I made some big mistakes. 

For instance, I knew the right name for mountains ahead of us, but brain told me wrong names and it was only at the end that somebody told me I made a mistake with names of the mountains. I was really puzzled, because I was sure I was correct during the performance. 

To make it short, how can I focus my brain and keep calm before my performance starts. Usually it gets very wild minutes before I will perform. My heart starts racing and lots of heat goes in the head. 
The second question is, how to avoid depression that hits afterward, when such events are finished? Usually I need 2 days to recover and rest. 

I thank you again for this great work you do. Thank you for reply. 

My Answer:

Most people have social anxiety about speaking in public. Many have test anxiety. Both can be helped by a deep breath, relaxing the shoulder muscles and focusing on the task ahead rather than self-focusing on your fear.  

For public speaking, substitute a pat on the back for yourself instead of frightening yourself. “You studied, the words will come to you. It’s all right to hesitate and collect your wits. You can actually pause and look around at the crowd or the person you are addressing or even say out loud something like, I’m really happy to be here or some such innocuous phrase.

For tests, always use the self-falk “I know this, the answer is coming to me now.” Or any positive or neutral thought to replace the panic thought—“I don’t know this, I’m going to fail,” which are not helpful. Hope this helps.

As for depression, fear dumps adrenalin into the brain which is very hard on the metabolic processes and causes the down shift in energy. But fear accepted and the adrenalin used up in thinking or speaking activity does not have the same downshift effect. Remember that depression is a thought. It cannot think itself when you direct your thought process in another direction and refuse to think the depression. A. B. Curtiss

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