People wonder why they do all of this practice but end up freaking out right before or during a test.
"I've done all of the preparation I could possibly do, why am I nervous?"
The truth is, it's a completely natural phenomenon.
Until as recently as 100-200 years ago, the world was pretty dangerous, and still is in a lot of places.
Between hunting for food, exploring new territories, and battling other tribes and countries for land, there were a lot of things that could kill us.
As a result of this, our bodies adapted what's called a "fight-or-flight" response. This response is created by our Sympathetic Nervous System, which energizes us and floods our body with cortisol(the stress hormone) and adrenaline when activated.
Whenever a human of the past was walking through the jungle or the mountains and came across an animal like a lion, tiger, bear, or other animal that can easily kill us, our body kicks into gear by activating this fight-or-flight response. When this happens, our bodies are flooded with energizing hormones and chemicals, our heart rate skyrockets, and all of this works together to make sure our bodies and minds are able to do whatever it takes to survive.
Said more simply, the fight-or-flight response is our bodies way of saying to us:
"Hey! Something important is happening! You better pay attention and get in gear!"
Fast forward hundreds of years to present day society, where the majority of the population has never had to hunt or kill their own food, and most kids have never gotten in a fight.
I'm not saying this is a good or a bad thing, it's just what is. The comforts we have like air conditioning, cars, smartphones, tv's and laptops means we have access to things that even the richest kings couldn't acquire a thousand years ago.
As a result, we don't have as much of a need for this fight-or-flight response. But because this access to comfort and safety is so new, and the fight-or-flight response is so old and ingrained in our physiology, this energizing response finds a way to express itself in circumstances that are stressful relative to our current experience.
Keeping this in mind, some of the most stressful situations we encounter involve traffic jams, fighting with parents or friends, and taking tests. What was once used to escape, kill, and hunt wild animals is now being activated in other "important" areas of our lives like test taking.
So the next time you are taking a test and you start to notice your heart racing, hands shaking, and tension in your body, know that this is normal. It's just your body's way of telling you that something important is happening. Once you accept this, you can actually use this surge of energy to your advantage and access all of your mind and body with clarity and focus.
The key is learning to use our body to embrace this response, instead of fighting it, which can easily lead to test-anxiety and even panic.
Check out some of the articles on this blog, or our Test-Prep products to learn how you can access your full potential both physically and mentally.