That time has come again for end of semester final exams and the competition to earn high grades is fierce. After all, there are only so many top grades that professors can distribute when working with the ‘curve!’ The hope is that everyone does well so that the curve is set higher. But what if most people, including yourself, don’t perform as well as you wanted to? At that point, what happens for you? Do you feel like a failure; do you say “I gave it my best shot,” do you walk away feeling glad that you didn’t get lower than a C,” or do you have a hard time sleeping at night because that grade negatively impacted your GPA – and in your mind, your chances of getting a decent job?”
Regardless of what your response is, are you able to consistently keep cool under pressure? How does a person know what ‘keeping cool’ means for them? Well, as described in The College De-Stress Handbook recently published by the Institute of Heart Math…
“You first experience stress in your feeling world. This is the space within you where you register feelings and moods. If you don’t know how to read them, your feelings of tension, irritation and worry can escalate into stronger emotions of frustration, anxiety or anger. You end up overloaded and exhausted, and you accumulate stress when you carry around distressing feelings without resolving them.”
To me, this means that in order to keep cool under pressure, I have to be able to interpret my feelings and emotions as quickly as possible so that I can feel better. So, the next time you say to yourself “I’m so tired I need another nap,” it just might be a result of those stressful feelings from the pressures of grades that haven’t been resolved.
Here are 3 Key Tips to Understanding Stress
- Know that you first experience stress in your feeling world. You will not see it.
- Know how to read your feelings. (For example, when you feel anxious, how does that affect your mood, body, and thoughts? Does your heart race? Do you dive into doing more things or do you procrastinate?)
- Know that you accumulate stress when you carry around distressing feelings without resolving them. Accumulated stress can turn into lots of negative judgments, irritation, blaming others for the smallest things, stomach aches, eating junk food, or even having to take medication in order to function day-today.
Don’t allow yourself to get to that point! There is a simple two-step technique available to help you transform stress and keep your cool under pressure. It was created by Heart Math and it’s called the Quick Coherence® Technique. Here are the steps:
Quick Coherence® Technique
Step I: Heart Focused Breathing – imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart area to help you calm down and reduce the intensity of your reaction to the stressor. Take slow, deep breaths; inhale for 5 seconds and exhale for 5 seconds. This helps to balance the two branches of your nervous system while interpreting your body’s stress response.
Step II: Activate a Positive Feeling – think about what you are grateful for or what you have a great appreciation for, like your pet, a special person, or special place you visited that resulted in a good feeling inside.
SOURCE: The College De-Stress Handbook
That’s it! It takes less than 5 minutes to practice these techniques which help you keep your cool. So, try them out now and let me know how you feel. I bet you will begin to feel more self- control and a sense of calmness. By engaging in this Quick Coherence® Technique, you will already be practicing self care, which is one of the key steps to living a Growth in Motion lifestyle!
I wish I had these techniques when I was in college! Oh well, I’m using them now and my life is calmer as a result of it.
Take Care of Yourself,
“Living a Growth in Motion™ Lifestyle!”
Felicia Harlow, the Heart Ecologist, Life Coach, & College Speaker, teaches women and students how to empower themselves through self care, heart awareness, and self direction. She encourages students to embrace her 4 step Growth in Motion Process™, starting with the Growth in Motion Oath™ and applying it by living a Growth in Motion lifestyle! Felicia is available to speak at campus events year round to help BRING BALANCE TO YOUR STUDENTS LIVES.