Empower Yourself

Trust your mind when you study

During my school and university studies I never quite believed I could trust my mind. I thought  I could probably retain some of the material I had studied, but I never cottoned on to the realization that my brain had actually absorbed, just like a sponge, the information I had focused on.  Further that my mind could quite easily produce the required material.

It was only after a period of illness with cancer, that I discovered the wonderful phenomenon of trust. The discovery happened while I was studying for my professional board exam in psychometrics.

So what had changed?

  • I was a lot older (really a lot)
  • I was approaching the material from a different vantage point; I wasn’t competing with anyone else.
  • I had read and thought a lot about the brain and mindfulness (during my recovery from cancer)
  • I knew a lot more about how the brain functioned.

The problem of exam anxiety is well documented. Many people, including myself, have suffered from exam anxiety.  Apart from preparing really well in advance there was little chance of escaping the pressure of anxiety.  Now I know you’re probably saying but surely anxiety is good, if you’re not anxious you won’t succeed. Yes a little anxiety is necessary to give the adrenalin rush that’s needed.  But honestly preparing for the exam and writing the exam is so much easier when anxiety is not an issue.

If you want to keep your anxiety at bay when you study:

  • Your mind needs to be in control of your brain.
  • Ensure that you utilize all your senses while you study – include reading, writing, thinking, questioning, rehearsing either loudly or silently.
  • Determine what works best for you (music on or off, reading aloud or silently, and sitting in a library or in your home); there is no one way to study for everyone.
  • Your brain will need repetition for the information to stay in place for the required period.
  • So rehearsing the information at least three times over a period of time is usually adequate.
  • Stay totally focussed on the information at hand.
  • If you’re not interested in the subject matter it can be a problem.  This is when your reptilian brain (anxiety, self-doubt) will function.
  • Try to study only those subjects that interest you, or else find a creative way to focus on the subject if it’s boring,

Remember to keep repeating the mantra: “ I trust that I’ve learnt the work and that it will be available when I need it.”

In essence you are applying mindfulness to your studies.

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