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Exams, tests, performances and assessments naturally bring about some degree of anxiety and stress. It’s the body’s way of preparing you, but too much over a long period of time, has a detrimental effect on our minds and bodies. When we are not confident, we tend to be overly self-critical and therefore prone to additional stress and anxiety. The stress hormone, cortisol, is public enemy number one because it interferes with learning and memory.

Cortisol is released in response by the adrenal gland and is part of our fight, flight and freeze mechanism. Let’s look at some ways we can help ourselves reduce the cortisol overly running riot in our bodies.


Have a well-balanced diet. It’s very easy to snack on comfort foods but poor nutrition increases anxiety.


- Keep well hydrated

- Magnesium rich foods – Whole, Leafy Greens, Quinoa, Nuts, DARK chocolate, Avocados, Tofu

- Zinc rich foods – Meat, Shellfish, Legumes, Seeds, Nuts, Dairy





If you’re well prepared, it’ll keep nerves at a reasonable level and help you perform at your best.


  • Learn about the format for the exam
  • Keep a study schedule
  • Take notes
  • Focus on success
  • Be honest with yourself about expectations
  • Practise
  • Study in short bursts

Get enough sleep

Sleep is not just a requirement for success but also necessary for good health. A lack of sleep can cause nervousness, depression, anxiety, memory problems, diminished critical thinking skills.      

Bathing with Epsom Salt

Warm baths, rather than a shower, lightens daily stresses. Mixed with Epsom Salt is great for pre-exam nerves.


Aromatherapy can be used through a number of applications such as inhalation, topical and even oral. The If you get nervous about exams and want to reduce stress and anxiety, aromatherapy is a natural way of achieving greater calm.

Practise deep, abdominal breathing

Stress affects our breathing patterns and we tend to breathe shallow and quick from the upper part of the body.

Stretching to relax

Stretching can help reduce stress and anxiety. Take time to move around and get that breath going. Check your body isn’t scrunched up over your computer. Stand regularly to lengthen out those tight sitting muscles.

Time for tea

A warm cup of herbal tea may help you settle nerves frazzled by study and exam anxiety.

Think and speak positively

Before going to sleep, project your thoughts into the future seeing yourself after your exam and performance, see yourself celebrating your achievements. 

Our lives and beliefs are shaped by our mind so if you think of success, the mind will work to attain that. If you believe you can do something, it’s true.  Always believe in yourself and if your results and outcomes aren’t what you expected, give yourself feedback, reassess and put different strategies in place for a more positive outcome.  There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.


Be empowered. Voice your Mind with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. www.voiceyourmindtherapy.com

Author Amanda Hagan Complementary Therapist and Professional Voice Practitioner 5th January 2022

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