Feb 15, 2011

Stress and Indigestion…. Connect

  • Stress and indigestion are linked because of the body’s typical response to stress. When an individual is feeling stressed, the nervous system begins a response that may lead to, or at least contribute to, indigestion.
  • Adrenaline is often released into the body in response to stress, as is cortisol and other stress-related hormones. This is a normal, protective process within the body, but it can have a negative effect on a person’s digestion. In an effort to prepare the body to deal with a perceived danger, the stress hormones may slow bodily processes that are not critical, such as digestion, resulting in indigestion.
  • When a person’s stress level leads to indigestion, he may suffer from more than just nausea. A person dealing with the effects of stress and indigestion may also feel bloated, have heartburn, or feel the need to release gas in the form of burping and flatulence some people may also notice an acidic taste in their mouths. In some cases, a person will develop diarrhea as a symptom of stress-related indigestion. For example, a stressed-out student may develop diarrhea right before an important exam. In some cases, stress-related indigestion is even severe enough to cause vomiting
  • While the connection between stress and indigestion is unpleasant, a person with chronic stress may have to worry about more than an upset stomach.
  • An individual who is dealing with chronic stress may have a weakened immune system and be more prone to both short- and long-term conditions. For example, a person who is under a good deal of stress for a long period of time may be at a higher risk of developing colds, the flu, ulcers, anxiety, and depression.
  • In fact, chronic stress may even raise a person’s risk of having a heart attack.

Personal Tips for Students

Analyze the situation realistically
  • Take a piece of paper and write down what is exactly causing you stress
  • and anxiety, next to each problem write possible solutions.
  • Take a break and discuss with your parents, or your teachers (if possible) your fears and doubts.
  • Visualize and beat your fears: Attempt a mental representation of the actual conditions that cause you stress
  • (i.e.imagine in detail the actual conditions that make you feel stressed.).
  •  When you do that you will notice that the more often you imagine and visualize the exams the more familiar you will become with them...!
  • When you can deal with your fears in your imagination, you can also deal with them in reality as well!
  • Organize your study environment appropriately:
  • Create a pleasant study environment, without strong lighting and sounds.
  • Make sure that the room has enough fresh air
  • Turn off TV, radio, and telephone.
  • Find a comfortable position and lie down or sit in such a way that the head, the neck and your shoulders   are in a convenient alignment, creating a channel for proper breathing. Empty your mind from any other thoughts
Try relaxation exercises
  • For 15 minutes per day, focus on diaphragmatic breathing and try to relax
  • Replace your thoughts: "I won't be afraid", or "I will definitely succeed", With more realistic thoughts: "Even if I am afraid, I will do everything I can to overcome any obstacles in order to achieve my goals".
  • Spend a little time for physical exercise on a daily basis
  • Make sure to rest and sleep well
  • Take a daily morning bath with lukewarm water

Feb 5, 2011

Tips for Parents of students writing exams.

Parents also have stress when they see their children coping with exam stress. Dealing exam stress calmly will help.
  • Parents relax first: Parents should not talk about the past, instead they should be cheerful and create a peaceful environment at home. Don’t bring your childhood or past experiences here. Concentrate on present. Parents should talk less and smile more. Don’t push your desires into the child. It's just another exam.
  • Be available for your child: First of all make sure that you are available to hear the concerns and fears of your children, before you give any advice to them As parent start thinking positive and eliminate the negative thoughts. Be focused on your children and stop concentrating  on problems and potential negative consequences.
  • Work on the child’s self confidence- Remember the power comes from within and when you encourage your child to think that you are capable of passing the exam reduction of stress will occur. Anxiety of failure is normal.We had similar circumstances similar anxiety...I know "You will give your best shot.”
  • Stop Comparisons: Parents, as a thumb rule stop comparing your child with that of others. Remember every child is unique and special; identify his strengths and weakness and work on them to avoid feeling of inadequacy in your child. The message you are portraying is going to build negative self-esteem that he/she is not good.
  • Provide Balanced Diet: Often parents tend to give whatever their child would like to eat during exams. Junk food makes the body feel lethargic and creates negatives hormones. Give balanced diet add lots of fresh fruits, juices.
  • Do not Yell at Your Child:  Support your child as much as you can so that the exam stress does not affect the performance in other papers.
  • Try to Keep Family Problems Away: Do not fight in front of your child at least during exams. Such things can increase stress level of your child and make it difficult for him to cope with exam stress.
  • Avoid Questioning and Putting Pressure: Avoid bombarding with questions as soon as your child arrives after writing the exam. Give time for relaxation.  However, do not stop motivating your child to study hard. Do not forget that there is huge difference between motivating and pressurizing the child.
  • Celebrate After the Exams:  Go out for a vacation or arrange a small get together for your child with his or her friends. If you do not have time you can just take your child out for dinner or movie. Such things will help to release exam stress and your child will get motivated to work harder for next exams.
  • Reward  your child when he or she performs well and scores good marks. Remember, nothing is as important as your love, care and support for your child.

Exam Stress Busters.

You fear going absolutely blank during an exam?----Well that's all in the mind..No need to fear coz exam is here…: Some of the following tips will help reduction of stress related to exams…
1. Take care for your good preparation.
2. Create a schedule-organize your time.
3. Do your exam revisions .
4. Test your skills and knowledge
5. Set realistic goals.
6. Meet with other friends and try to ask each other question
7. Try to explain what you have understood from studying, if you can explain to others, then you have
   understood otherwise, you need further iterations.
8. Take time for your mind and body to relax.
9. Chatting with friends, meditation, yoga or just watching a bit of television can take the edge off.
10.Take time to exercise. Regular and frequent exercise is a good stress reducer.
11. Eat well - skipping meals will deplete your energy and leave you drained.
12. Talk to your family and friends. Make time to see your mates will help you unwind and let you unburden any  problems.
 13. Keep telling yourself -'I will do well'
14. Start the day well with prayers and some exercises Sleep and eat well during exams Laugh, scream, and joke to release tension Avoid anxious people Wish your friends, that boosts your confidence too.
15. A week before the exam don't talk to people who are negative and also don't talk to people who are too  positive.

Factors and Symptoms of Exam Stress

Let us see the factors that contribute to exam stress
1. Unreasonably high expectations from parents, teachers, institution and society in general. Higher level of competitiveness among the youth, brought on by pushy parents teaching kids to outperform their contemporaries, are the causes for stress and hypertension in today's youth.
2.  The need to get high grades to get on track for the career one really wants.
3.  Institutions these days indulge in high physical pressure on students to do well for the sake of reputation of their institutions and this terrible stress becomes unbearable.
4.  Uncertainty about what to do next - "There are so many options, what if I make the wrong choice? "The feeling of everything changing in your life - you might be moving away to different going to college for example.
5. Negative Thinking: Negative thoughts that occur during exams are important factor that causes exam stress.
6. Lack of Self Confidence: Student doesn’t perceive his skills and capabilities good enough to be able to pass the exam. Low Self Confidence comes from the subjective belief of person about who they are, this belief is usually result of fear that student has about the inability of doing well in  the exam because the lack of knowledge.

Symptoms students suffer when they are stressed due to exams
·         Difficulty getting to sleep or difficulty waking up in the morning
·         Constant fatigue.
·         Forgetfulness
·         Aches and pains for no apparent reason
·         Poor appetite
·         Social withdrawal
·         Loss of interest in activities
·         Increased anxiety and irritability
·         "Flying off the handle"
·         Migraines/headaches
·         Blurred vision
·         Dizziness
Everyone has bad days, but if students you notice that three or more of the above symptoms you’ve
experienced them for some weeks you may need to do something about your stress levels.  If the stress and
depression, the student is going through is met and taken care of at the right time, the symptoms suffered from
can definitely be avoided.

Exam stress

Thought of running away from home crosses Ravi's mind every year before the exam. He is in class IX and is  14 year’s old, this has been goung on since last few years. He becomes so tensed that he cannor concentrate in studies. The pressure of doing well, expectations of  parents, peers pressure are too much to handle..   Recently he is often caught in class day dreaming. During interaction Ravi stated that he dreamt most of the time that he is doing well, teachers are very happy and his parents too are very happy..and as  a result most of study time went off and at the end of the day he felt more guilty upset. He was not able to cope with this sitaution.  As a result he started developing exam phobia and slowly his performance in exams started deteriorating.

In one of our stress management session with student in a school we came to know about this issue. The question arises why students like Ravi suffer so much from this syndrome called Exam Stress. After he received the required counseling he is doing well now and lot of his exam phobia has reduced.
This brought us to think as exams are round the corner to drop a few lines on this issue…..
Exams themselves are a compelling experience that causes stress, because the stakes are high: the dreams that students make for their lives, the beginning of a career, the expectations that they have for themselves, the expectations parents have for their children.

The exam stress is usually associated with the fear that students will disappoint their parents by their performance, and with the expectations they have from themselves.  Also, through the negative thoughts created in our mind when we feel fear for something and unconsciously  we "prepare" the way for our failure, because we think and behave in such a way as to fail!
Stress is dangerous and can have negative effects on our health when we it gets out of control. In such cases like exam stress it can:
·         Limit the ability of  actual performance and
·         Makes us suffer, both physically and mentally
                So students be careful