Test anxiety is not fun, especially when you feel like you've worked really hard to prepare for your test.
It seems like you've done all the studying in the world, but you show up to take the test and it's like somebody vacuumed all of that preparation out of your head.
When I was in college I studied a lot for my tests, did all of the recommended study guides and really made sure that I went the extra mile to understand the subject matter and prove to myself that I could do just about anything that the textbook threw at me.
But when it came time to take the test I experienced a lot of sweating, shaky hands, shallow breathing, and a much faster heart rate.
This lead to the mental side of test anxiety which meant my thoughts were racing, I was easily distracted, and I forgot the answers to a lot of questions that were a piece of cake while I was studying.
I decided to investigate this, because I knew I was prepared, it was just my physical and mental state that were holding me back.
After a while, I did some research into the "fight-or-flight" response, and learned that test anxiety is normal. The key was managing this surge of energy and anxiety and channeling it into clarity and focus, and accessing the parasympathetic nervous system is the way to do it.
I won't get too crazy technical with the science lingo, but we have two nervous systems in our body.
1. Sympathetic Nervous System ("Fight-or-Flight")
2. Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)("Rest-and-Digest")
The sympathetic nervous system energizes and excites us when activated, and the parasympathetic nervous system calms and relaxes us when activated.
Most people have heard of the fight-or-flight response, but not rest-and-digest.
The rest-and-digest response is the feeling you get after you eat a big meal, wake up from a deep and relaxing sleep, and also when we eliminate waste from our bodies.(Sorry but its true).
This can also be activated consciously and on purpose through multiple techniques like breathing, visualization, affirmations, and using body language hacks. Once you learn to access your PNS on command, it unlocks some truly amazing abilities that you can use to remain calm and relax in high pressure situations.
If you aren't familiar with this blog, check out some of the other posts where I give some pointers on how you can intentionally activate your Parasympathetic Nervous System, or you can check out our Test-Prep Products if you want to go really in depth and develop some mastery over your nervous system and your ability to relax on command.