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 Post subject: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 2:37 pm 
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Hi all, I'm reposting this because I haven't gotten any responses from the other forum, which is further on down the list and I could really really use some feedback. Thanks!

Okay, so here's the issue: I need to brush up on skills and techniques for managing anxiety.Does anyone have any specific skills/techniques, etc. that you can use in the moment. My GRE test is in 7 days and I'm having major anxiety. I plan on using the untwisting skill the day before the test. My other specific one for during the test is "I can handle a little anxiety knowing it will pass", and stay in the moment. And my T told me take a xanax before the test so that hopefully will help as well.

But, if anyone knows of any more helpful anxiety skills for now and also for during the test, I would really appreciate hearing them.

Thanks for the feedback.

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"I can lose my hard-earned freedom if my fear defines my world. I declare my independence from the critics and the stones. I declare my revolution, I can learn to stand alone."


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:02 pm 
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Awww Pipster...
I never had test anxiety but I have heard from others who did that it is important to make sure you set aside blocks of time for each section. Give yourself a certain amount of time to spend on each part of the test, and monitor yourself. For example, if you allow yourself 30 min. to finish Section 1, then time yourself and when the 30 min. is up, move on to the next section - even if you are not finished with Section 1. You can always go back at the end if you finish everything else early. Maybe use the same technique for your studying. Set aside a block of time to study. And that's it. That is all the time you have. So then maybe it will force you to "buckle down" and use that time productively.
I just did some quick internet research for you and came up with a few links for you to check out :) Obviously, some of the stuff is not relevant to your situation but you will get the idea:
http://www.grehq.com/mental-game/overco ... xiety.html
http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/?page_id=114
http://www.ets.org/Media/Tests/PRAXIS/p ... nxiety.pdf
One common piece of advice they all seem to have is to make yourself familiar with the test. Learn about the GRE - what to expect, what kind of questions, level of difficulty, etc. Take practice tests. That way you won't be "surprised" the day of the test. Taking practice tests would also be a great way to study - especially if you are feeling a lot of anxiety. The practice tests have a definite beginning and end so it will give you a goal to focus on - getting through all the questions!
I hope some of this helps. I know that Harmonium once posted some breathing exercises for me on here... I will dig up that post for you too :)

Chai
f/k/a NAM


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:11 pm 
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Breathing exercise:
I think it helps to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down and begin by taking a few really deep breaths (try to count how high you can while you inhale through your nose, pause before letting it out, then let the air out very slowly through your mouth).

Not sure if this is the one I was thinking of but anyway I think it will help to relax you...


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:04 pm 
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Thank you thank you thank you!

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"I can lose my hard-earned freedom if my fear defines my world. I declare my independence from the critics and the stones. I declare my revolution, I can learn to stand alone."


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 12:18 pm 
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Hey Pip -

I've never taken the GRE, but I did take two horrendously difficult exams (nursing boards and a certification test) and I can relate to the anxiety. Especially with the licensing boards -- I'd just invested a good part of 4 years in study, and if I failed the exam it would all be of no use. So I definitely had a lot of anxiety.

I think Chai gave you some great advice, both with the specifics of managing the test itself and with the breathing exercises. Hopefully if you can do practice exams to familiarize yourself with the format of the test and then also try practicing the breathing and centering stuff, you'll do OK. If you do start to feel panicky during the exam, don't freak. It's a normal reaction to stress, and the test is definitely stressful. So take a minute to center yourself, so you're in the moment and not anticipating a million "what if's" that might face you if you don't do as well as you would like. You just don't want to go there yet, especially in the middle of the test. The panic will pass, your heart rate will slow down, and you'll be OK if you keep taking nice easy breaths and try to relax any muscles that have tensed way up.

Good luck!!

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I made some studies, and reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.
I can take it in small doses, but as a lifestyle I found it too confining. -- Jane Wagner


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:55 pm 
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Thank you Sari - all great ideas!

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"I can lose my hard-earned freedom if my fear defines my world. I declare my independence from the critics and the stones. I declare my revolution, I can learn to stand alone."


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Thu Nov 19, 2009 1:00 pm 
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Thanks Chai for posting that breathing exercise! The only thing I would add to what you've already said is that you want to try to have your lower abdomen (the belly) rise as you inhale before your upper chest rises. When we're stressed, our breathing tends to become shallow. It help to fully inflate the lungs (the reason for counting too). You can even place a book or something with a little weight to it on top of your stomach (upper) so that you can visually see it rise and fall.

Another thing that helps me is any kind of mindfulness. Really pay attention to the moment you are in Right NOW. The next moment is the future and the last moment is now in the past so I have to let the outcome of those go. But, this moment alone I can choose how to feel, how I want to be. I try to not only see what my head feels in that moment, but how my body reacts to the thoughts and feelings I have. Such as: my jaw clenches when I feel the need to say something not said. Or, my tummy muscles get tight when I'm afraid. Or, when I'm angry I can feel it in my low back. I find that if I can actively choose to relax the muscle in question, my emotion surrounding the issue somehow changes too.

You can also do some grounding exercises. Go to a quiet room with maybe some soft feel-good music or a lit candle. You can even go sit in the yard to feel the grass-- it's somehow better for me if I can feel the earth. Sit in a regular chair with both of your feet planted firmly on the floor (or outside on the ground). Close your eyes and picture your legs turing into tree roots, extending beneath the floor. Feel what it would feel like to you to be a tree. BE the tree; feel it flowing through you. Feel that connection with the ground beneath you. I think this would be a great one to do right as you sit down in the testing area. If you can ground yourself not only to that place but in that moment, you will feel more 'supported' and thus less anxious. At least, I do.

I also like to counter my anxiety with fact. For everything I seem to be nervous about, there is a rational argument that I can say to myself. Even if it's as simple as no one knows the future, it's an argument to my fixation that I 'won't' do well on something. Truth is usually when I give something my all; I succeed. For me it can become about trusting in myself to do my best.

Good luck on the test Pip! I'm rooting for you!

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"Pain is resistance to change."
--Ida Rolf

BRING IT ON!! -- personal mantra


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 Post subject: Re: please provide feedback
PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 1:48 pm 
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Well, I wrote a whole post but it didn't go through so I'll just say thank you all for the wonderful advice, support and encouragement.

The test is tomorrow at 8. I can do this, and I will. I will not let my emotions get in the way of succeeding. I definitely plan on using the breathing exercises and grounding exercises right before and during the test. Thank you all again.

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"I can lose my hard-earned freedom if my fear defines my world. I declare my independence from the critics and the stones. I declare my revolution, I can learn to stand alone."


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