- PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS TO LESSEN IN STUDENTS DURING BREAKS
Winter break may stave off the "exam ka bhoot" syndrome & provide the much needed respite from exam stress.
Stress may take a backseat and health revived, if students spend their winters creatively and meaningfully, so feel experts. Upcoming winter breaks and the spirit of the new season can ease out the stress factor significantly before they face the all important end-of-school examinations.
The New Year resolutions, extra hours of sleep, new movie releases and seeing family and friends will together help students to relax by lowering blood pressure and stress hormone levels and releasing enough endorphins and boosting the immune system
All the signs of Exam Ka Bhoot stress syndrome – irritability, jitteriness, headaches, insomnia, indigestion and not so apparent signs such as increased heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones that over time, increase the risk of depression and heart disease can be detrimental for a student, if unchecked.
The holiday season is ideal for self-reflection. A lot of students are not motivated when they are pressurized, so a long break can act as a re-fueler before they gear up for the final countdown.
With less than few months left for most examinations, (CBSE, ICSE AND X STD) many students find themselves weighed down by expectations, especially the ‘exam ka bhoot’ syndrome. Comparisons and peer pressure are major concerns for students attempting their board exams. These concerns bog students down, leading to severe examination stress and cases of suicide.
Competition has never been fiercer – some say the pressure is far greater than it used to be. It cannot be healthy when stress affects concentration, ability to study, even sleep. Exam stress may not be a disease in itself but all studies have shown high levels of stress are counterproductive. Says Dr. Supriya Hegde Consultant Psychiatrisrt( MDDS, MD.) KMC Hospital (Unit of Manipal Hospital) Mangalore, "Stress in students is largely due to parental pressures and expectations. Over-zealous and over-involved parents are often the real culprits. This stress compounds as exams approach. Equally important causes include- child’s temperament, peer pressure, stressors at home, change in school or medium of instruction and unrealistic expectations from self."
An estimated 4,000 students commit suicide in India annually because of exam failure or fear of failure in a society where there is intense pressure to succeed academically.
Just like exams, stress too can be quantified on a scale and measured. It is found that levels of stress during holidays fall under the ‘optimum’ category’ and best suits the pschological requirements of that time. Short-term stress before exam is good. However, stress beyond 20 on the stress response checklist can let students under-perform. Excessive stress hormones make score lower on the memory tests. What suffers most is their ability to remember things that they have already learned.
Most parents are realizing the fact that holiday parties need to have an educational purpose so as to create a cooperative learning activity that can provide some structure, yet ample opportunity for creativity. Practicing to write answers under exam conditions, taking yoga classes, mind building exercises, sketching, solving puzzlers and eating right will help the body clock sharpen and adjust for the examination time and conditions. Explains Dr Shilpa Thakur, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis Escorts Hospital & Research Centre, Faridabad, "The type of food is also important and helps in addressing the stress problem better. Wholesome, small and regular meals are important as imbalance-too much or too little can affect the glucose level which affects concentration level and make one sluggish. Thus food can be a contributor or aggravator of stress."
She also advises that, "It is also important to take a protein rich diet and to supplement your diet with nutrients rich food like fortified beverages (as Horlicks) particularly, which have been proven to improve the concentration levels of children preparing for exams. Student’s palatability and tastes should also be kept in mind along with balanced diet. Last but not the least sum exercise is very significant."
Breaks actually helps to sleep on something after you have done some work, and that it helps engrain the information in your brain and make the memory a little more permanent and a little more solid, that’s really interesting.
Student Tips to relax and prevent Exam Ka Bhoot
- 30 mins exercise at least 3 times a week followed by deep breathing exercise and meditation
- Quality Time management with self and hobby
- Effective Time for academics
- Play mind teasers e.g. indoor games such as puzzles, riddles, sudokos, number charts etc
- Don?t avoid multi-nutrient fortified health drinks like Horlicks.
- Diet must include plenty of water, nuts, citric juices
Things to avoid for Students
- Intake of coffee, tea and junk food
- Video games
- Minimize watching television, attending phone calls, reading junk mails
–Dr Bhavna Burmi, Child Psychologist, Escorts Heart and Research Institute
Author: Dr Bhavna Burmi