Stress has a hugely negative effect on your mental performance. If you’re suffering from stress, you need to learn how to keep it under control so that you give yourself the best chance of revising well for your RO4 exam and doing yourself justice.
You are, of course, supposed to have a stress response. It comes in very handy from time to time! If you’re in the middle of crossing the road and begin to detect that the oncoming vehicle is going to arrive more quickly than you originally thought, it’s your stress response that gets you onto the pavement safely, and without you consciously making the decision to move faster.
Once you’ve reached safety, you might notice your a pounding heart and sweaty palms! Your stress response did a good job.
You’ve heard me say before, that physiologically with pretty much the same as we were 10,000 years ago we lived in caves. Our stress response then allowed enough of our ancestors to survive and pass on their successful genes. If you think about it, the stress mechanism allowed them to respond appropriately to threats to their survival, such as the proverbial sabre tooth tiger.
However, having thrown a rock at it, or simply running away, our ancestors would have continued peacefully with their day. Not us though, eh? We career from one apparent stressful situation into the next and into the next. We often don’t give our bodies time to metabolise the stress hormones which have made our hearts pump faster, made us breathe quicker and have made our visual focus narrow on to the apparent source of danger.
Not only that, but when we’re in a state of stress we become stupid! And by that I mean we can’t think straight. We’re not supposed to think straight. We are simply supposed to focus on the threat to our life and take action to survive it. We’re not supposed to stand around scratching our heads, searching our brains for interesting trivia associated with it.
So you’re not going to find your RO4 revision very easy in a less than relaxed and focused state of mind. But the situation is worse than that.
Long-term stress can have dire and permanent consequences on our neurology. It makes us permanently stupid!
Ultimately, stress will kill us, so don’t ignore the signs.
So how would you know if you’re stressed? Sometimes it’s difficult to spot in other people never mind in ourselves, but if you regularly do any of the following it might be an indication of stress.
- Do you put things off? Are you procrastinating about anything?
- Do you lie awake worrying?
- Do you feel guilty when you’re not working?
- Are you easily frustrated?
- Do you notice your heart pounding, do you get palpitations, sweaty hands, a dry mouth?
- Do you grind your teeth?
- Do you get riled easily?
- Do you eat on the trot, or binge-eat?
- Do you smoke or drink and tell yourself it’s the only way you can relax?
- Are you clumsy and bump into things or drop things?
If you think you might be suffering from stress, then consider taking up yoga or meditation – both superb for lowering stress levels. Talk to someone you trust about your worries. Get a different perspective on it. Take some gentle exercise. Stop watching telly and instead read a book.
If you’re relying on your brain working well for the RO4 exams, or indeed, any exams, you can’t afford to ignore stress.
Do something about it while you can, or you might not live to regret it!