“Making it wane” sounds like a really immature way to describe a really immature act, but if you can get past that, you’ve got the only proper way to deal with stress. Obviously, when engaged in a high pressure task like standardized testing, we don’t want to allow stress to escalate, triggering a cascade of failure. We should also strive for more than the status quo when our status screams “Freaking out!”
The way to win is to reduce your response to stress in the moment until you’ve achieved the optimal level of performance. The trick, then, is mastering an arsenal of stress-management strategies. One effective method is to rate your anxiety, then see if you can get that number lower:
Anxiety is not an all–or–nothing condition; it exists on a continuum. When you’re feeling anxious, rate your anxiety on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being completely calm and 10 being a state of severe anxiety. For example, say to yourself, “Oh, I’m at a 7 now. I think I’ll take a few deep breaths and see what happens to my anxiety level.” After taking a few minutes to focus on your breathing, reassess your level. You’ll likely find that your anxiety has decreased, even if only by a point or 2…
Whatever ways to deal with in-the-moment anxiety you prefer, don’t wait until you’re in the moment to master them. Practice makes perfect! If you don’t know how to get started, contact us about Performance Coaching and learn how much of a difference the right stress-management strategies can make on the big tests and everywhere else in life.