As exam time rolls around there’s a huge chunk of the student population revising (or maybe procrastinating). How things go on the day depends on how well you’ve learned your content and how well you can relay that in a coherent and meaningful way. But another factor that affects your performance is your mood – a mixture of how you are feeling and what things you are thinking to yourself.
Many people go into exams in a state of tension, worry, stress or insecurity. None of which are helping you to do your very best.
Now, here at the SLI the word ‘hack’ is usually avoided. It has connotations of quick fixes that don’t really last. But today you are invited to ‘hack into’ your own way of thinking and feeling in order to put yourself in the best possible mood to perform well when revising or sitting exams.
[and if you aren’t a student studying for an exam, you can still use this process to hack your mood for your ‘thing’ – presentation, report, meeting with the in-laws!]
Our brains are incredibly sophisticated and give us the power of imagination – creating images, sounds and feelings that aren’t really there. This can work against us at times…
If we imagine failing our exam it can bring on a raised heartbeat, tension in our muscles, a sense of stress and self-talk that we are useless. Even though we only imagined it! What we create in our mind has real effects on our body.
But that means the same is true of positive imaginings – and this is where the hack comes in. When we know that the brain can simulate particular moods based on what we visualise, that means we can reverse engineer this phenomenon to put ourselves into a mood that will help us to perform well. This is well used in high performance coaching and neuro-linguistic programming.
This model is based on the work of Dr John Grinder, co-founder of NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming). A basic summary of the model is that there are four layers:
Though here at the SLI we also like to add in a fifth layer of:
These are arranged in a chain as follow:
Before jumping into the process, you first choose the mood or state that you would like to create. A few useful tips and rules here:
Give yourself a quiet 5-10 minutes where you can work through these reflective questions and fully engage in the visualisation process. It is sometimes easier to close your eyes and listen to the prompts so feel free to use the guided video in this blog.
This process is an excellent hack for an immediate change in mood – it helps you to unlock an emotional state that helps you to perform well. But you may find that it takes 5-10 minutes to do and that it feels a bit weird for you.
You may also notice that certain parts of the visualisation have more impact than others – for some it’s the colour, others the breathing. You can also adapt it to add in your own elements such as smelling a perfume to feel calm or visualising a memory of when you were confident. By practicing this process, you will learn to tailor it to suit your needs even better.
AND you might find that it becomes easier and easier to access the emotional state because you are more used to calling upon it. This can be really powerful when you find yourself in short notice situations where managing your mood would be of benefit.
So keep practicing and all the best for your exam performance.
If you want further support in the run up to exams (procrastination, motivation, time management or addressing negative thinking) then why not book in a coaching consultation to see how The SLI could help you.