Minutes to read: 4 min, 39 sec
Words to look out: learning anxiety-fear of studying- final year exams
I can’t concentrate
I want to study but I can’t!!!
How to study when I am having an anxiety attack?
These phrases flooded Google’s frequently asked questions.
Now more than ever you and I need help with learning anxiety, especially with university final year exams around the corner.
Have you ever felt anxiety a day before your exams, Now the biggest challenge is writing exams during a pandemic!!!
Like life wasn’t worse enough before!!!
Take a deep breath and follow the steps given down below to fight learners’ anxiety during a pandemic.
What does studying with anxiety feel like?
- I feel fidgety.
- I cannot concentrate on one topic.
- Sitting on my study desk makes me uncomfortable.
- I feel a headache whenever I start studying.
- I procrastinated and now I feel overwhelmed at the piled up work in front of me.
- I feel my gut twist.
- I find my brain distracted.
- I compare myself to others and then feel inadequate.
If you feel any-one statement from the above you have a learners’ anxiety.
Now that you have understood learners’ anxiety, let us focus on how to beat it.
Effects of anxiety on learning
Anxiety is a trigger to warn our body about potential dangers, it is like a switch that can be switched on manually or automatically.
Upcoming exams- switches manually (You switch it on)
Smoke from the kitchen- switches on automatically (Brain switches it on because of potential danger ahead)
During anxiety, your brain frequently sends you warning notifications even if there is no potential danger, by sending these messages it blocks out the entry of learning a new subject or concentrating on an equation.
Anxiety is helpful -when you see a cloud of smoke from your kitchen.
Anxiety is not helpful-when a potential danger hasn’t occurred.
Get to the Source
Instead of burying yourself in a book and pushing yourself to study, treat your brain like a child who hates eating spinach.
What do moms do when kids hate eating spinach,
they add it to their favorite chocolate drink or sandwich.
Make learning fun by tricking your brain to study- watch a study video, create flashcards, study with a friend, act like a teacher, etc.
Types of anxiety in college students,
I am anxious-
- Because my exam dates are closer and I have a lot to study
- Because I cannot remember whatever I study
- Because English isn’t my first language.
- Because I just went through a break-up.
- Because I feel this pandemic will never end.
- Because I choose this course for my mom and honestly I hate it.
- Because this subject teacher humiliated me in front of my class.
Just like I listed the above reasons find your cause of anxiety.
Spoiler Alert- Only when you find your cause of anxiety, you can work on it. Take some time to brainstorm and think about the WHYs? to get to the HOWs?
Feelings or Fact
From the above-listed reasons try to classify if the source of your anxiety is a feeling or a fact.
For example, I cannot remember whatever I study- FEELING
I choose this course for my mom and honestly, I hate it- FACT.
Set aside your feelings because they have a higher probability of not being true.
Deal with the facts as soon as your exams are over.
Break the SOURCE
Nobody knows me better than ME.
Similarly, nobody can stop you from overthinking but You.
Picture this you are a superpower with a task to save the earth from being destroyed in 10 days, using your powers you are going to stop this disaster. You hear a loud ringing just as you were going to catch the bad guy- The alarm rings and its time to get out of bed.
Learning anxiety is like a bad dream,
Guess I will say wake up and get dressed.
In the same way, learning anxiety is your imagination of the worst-case scenario that didn’t happen yet.
Conquer the fear of studying
Step one: Write down “I can do this”, “I am great at what I do”
“I can conquer difficult circumstances”.
Step two: Note down your past success, it might be as small as winning a bet. Acknowledging your success can boost your morale.
Step three: Talk to your mom- that always helps! (sometimes)
Tricks to avoid learning anxiety-Watch others studying can be motivating-I suggest you watch a study with me-video on Youtube for external motivation.
Treat yourself like a child -If you don’t feel mentally strong drink a chocolate shake, read a book, or go to sleep.
The next hour start small,
Observe the famous 20/5 rule or the 50/ 10 rule
study for 20 mins- take a 5-minute break,
study for 50 mins- take a 10-minute break,
repeat the cycle.
Tricks to avoid learning anxiety
Start with a topic, not a chapter.
DO NOT call a friend to discuss how much he/ she has studied.
DO NOT flip pages to see how much is left.
Keep your phone at a 5-meter DISTANCE.
Write SILENCE on your desk or study area.
During the 5 minute break, treat yourself to a snack or a victory dance.
External factors matter
Some External factors are-
Non-controllable: like a pandemic or a hurricane.
During non-controllable external factors, talk to a trusted friend or write it down in your diary.
Controllable: like eating less or worrying more
During Controllable eternal factors-Break free from unhealthy patterns, sleep early, eat good, and smile more.
Like binge-watching, a series in one day hurts your eyes the same way binge studying hurts the brain. Take small but frequent breaks to cool off.
Tricks to avoid learning anxiety
Your chances of winning are the chapters you have revised before or attended lectures for. Later study the highlights of new chapters.
Websites that help with learning Anxiety
To help you and other college students with anxiety below are some listed websites that can help you through learning anxiety and depression.
This website is a helpful mental health check for college students it also has an anxiety and depression test.
This website walks you through all the stages of anxiety and depression with activities curated for your well-being. It is a mental health tool to track your progress and connect you to experts.
A great website with 24/7 call and chat support. You can also read resources on anxiety and depression and how to overcome them.
They also connect you to a community of people who feel the same.
Mood gym is an online self-help program for anxiety and depression. It helps by providing cognitive behavior therapy, summaries, and workbooks accessible to anyone above the age of 18.
If you face extreme anxiety, talk to a counselor, all of us at some point need mental health help. We are stuck in a pandemic with final year Mumbai university exams around the corner it’s okay to be messed up and seek help.