What you're eating has an effect to your stress level! While something quick and easy like McDonalds sounds nice when you're in a rush home to study, eating things like leafy greens will produce more dopamine in your system. Dopamine is a chemical in your body that keeps you calm and who wouldn't want that during exam week? Even if you're in a rush, there are fast salad bar restaurants like “Chop’t” and “Sweet Green” that can have your salad ready in under five minutes.
Did you also know that when you're stressed, there's a battle being fought in your body. Blueberries are a perfect solution to this. They are filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help in your defense and help improve your body’s response to stress. Blueberries also give you a boost in natural killer cells, some of which include white blood cells that are important for countering stress levels and immunity. Throw a handful of blueberries in a smoothie or even eat them plain!
If you're stuck on a subject and feel you aren't retaining much of what you are studying, talking through it with someone can help reduce your stress and help you remember the information better.
Find sibling, parent, friend, or a school counselor who is willing to take a few minutes out of their day to talk things through. Social engagement is one of the quickest and easiest solutions to stress relief and putting a brake on the fight-or-flight stress response. Since your ears, heart and stomach are all wired together in your brain, this exercise can help calm your nervous system: try putting together a study group for each of your exams. The communication and support of others, can help boost your confidence and calm you when you are stuck on a topic.
Movement is key to lowering stress when studying for exams. Try to set an alarm for every set amount of time to take five or ten minutes to grab a drink and go for a quick walk. Grab a snack or take a walk around the block. Being outside will calm your system down and mentally prepare you better for studying. Also, Working your muscles also can give you the energy and motivation to keep working. Change in environment can keep your stress level down, which makes you more attentive when studying.
Take a break from the technology! Modern technology is affecting our sleep. The artificial light from TV and computer screens affects our melatonin production and throws off circadian rhythms which prevent deep, restorative sleep that is vital for retaining information you studied that day. Also the amount of sleep you get has an affect on your stress. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep per night to keep you refreshed and ready to take on the day.
Late night computer use can also increase stress levels. Finishing your review at a decent hour, and giving yourself an hour without technology and going to bed will improve your sleep and make your time studying more valuable.
Good luck on all your exams, Bulldogs!