I hope this post will inspire educators, researchers, students, and parents to be open-minded and cultivate a selfless spirit towards studying and education. This is important because students often face tremendous studying and exam stress without addressing and discussing their fears and learn possible solutions to correct attitude and view towards studying and life.
How to reduce study stress for students and adults?
- Right view, belief, and compare with altruism
- In accordance with your capability
- Pure interest
- Display beautiful or soothing pictures nearby like sunsets, flowers, and cats
- Time management training
I, too, faced studying and exam stress before so I understand the suffering and torment that a student may face. Severe studying and results stress may have extreme consequences if unaddressed and uncorrected; It is the hope of the author that this post will provide inspiration and help to alleviate the pain and anguish associated with studying or researching.
Right view, belief, and compare with altruism
Naturally, a correct view and belief of being a good person who wishes to benefit society and all are of utmost importance. What we do now and in this life will inevitably result in later consequences.
We have been taught to compare ourselves with others in terms of academic results and life achievements. While it is true that we can know what and where we lack by comparing with others and ourselves, we must also know that everyone’s disposition and talents are also different. For example, some people excel more than others in memory techniques, musical achievements, or certain sports given the same initial training. People (beings) are sophisticated and may vary greatly in various aspects, not just in terms of physical characteristics. Firstly, we have to accept this fact.
Next, if one must compare, my humble suggestion is to compare with an altruistic heart and exercise the exact opposite of what most worldly people preach. When we realize we do poorly in comparisons, we hope and wish we suffer and bear on behalf of others so no one will experience such and all misfortunes. We give our best to others, when they perform better than ourselves, we rejoice and feel genuine happiness for him or her.
When we have such a right attitude and goodwill towards others, why should we feel any negative stress while studying, researching, working, or in any comparisons in life?
In accordance with your capability
Know and recognize our own ability and work hard with what we have. The significance of this is that we know what we can handle, and set our actions on the right expectations, not that of others or an unrealistic goal. Once we took appropriate and sufficient steps towards our goal in accordance with what we know we can handle, then there is really no need to overthink or worry about the results because we have done what we can or at least put in enough effort towards our goal. Your conscience is clear. If you can score in your exams when you worked hard, then good and congratulations, otherwise you should also not feel dejected and anguished. Either way, do not be attached.
For example, a person has to learn a new and difficult language or memorize a group of ancient pronunciations. And he has tested and knows that he can learn at most one new phrase or ten words a day comfortably at a steady pace in the long run. He also knew that going far beyond this will add to his stress level, may be detrimental to his learning quality, and more importantly, may lose his interest or confidence in learning the language or pronunciations. So he kept adding or taking notes of a new phrase or some words each day or on most days, and on some days he may make allowances to just go through what he memorized without adding any. He may know that his memory may not be as sharp or unfailing as before or others so he accommodates accordingly. In doing so, he should not feel overwhelmed or incompetent because he just acts according to his own capability. In short, everyone is different so why stress over what we cannot control as long as we have acted with sufficient steps of action?
Another approach is to consider what we can do to manage our studying time. We may discipline ourselves to sit down and study daily at 8 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm consistently without fail except for emergencies. Or we may just ensure we sit in every single class, tutorials, practicals, and lectures. And make sure we pay full attention as best we can to understand the teachings and even finish up all the homework on the spot. The latter makes more effective use of our time in my humble opinion and is my recommendation.
We may or may not be good in certain aspects that we invested in, but our interest and belief in studying that particular subject or field also matter. A gifted person may spend a day studying a matter, but what are the chances he will learn more than an average person who invested a decade of his life into the same study? Interest can be cultivated when we first learn about the benefits of researching and studying that particular field first.
While monetary benefits and social standing may be factors for some, I humbly suggest for the person who undertakes that field of study to look for greater meaning and purpose for striving towards excellence. If possible, align the possible benefits with a greater good and a personal altruistic life goal. Take notes of the benefits of your current studies and your life goals if you need clarity; This can be a very important exercise because we ourselves are responsible for our actions and accounts for where we go and end up in the future; Do not wait till too late to realize we should have done better!
When we do something of interest to us, it is possible we do it purely for the sake of research and learning, not tainted or for other unrelated and impure reasons. One may wonder if this is important? Then I implore you to consider the following scenario if you feel unwell or sick for whatever reasons, would you prefer to be treated by a pure-hearted and kind doctor who believes in helping you rid of sicknesses with natural treatments even if it means without any returns or a greedy doctor who craves after your money more than your well-being even if it means knowingly let you take a chemical medicine with side-effects just to alleviate temporary symptoms that do not treat your root problem so you will return to pay for more consultations and medicine, and this selfish doctor only takes natural herbs and treatments to cure himself when afflicted by the same. However, please do not be mistaken and take this analogy in the right context as there are obvious values and benefits to the medicine of chemical compounds as well. The point is there are good and bad people in this world, their profession does not necessarily offer a hundred percent guarantee of their integrity and moral standings. Please take caution not to be lied to, scammed, and cheated by others in general, you may refer to a resource on how to spot deception in How To Take Notes For A Meeting / Resources.
Hence, we may strive to discover the wholesome benefits of a field of study and cultivate our own interests accordingly. For example, a person may love to help others as his life goal, and his research shows that healing and curing others of ailments, sickness, and diseases also aligns accordingly with his interest in naturopathy, in particular including chiropractic and herbalism. With this strong belief, he sets on this path and perseveres despite setbacks for years before becoming an accomplished naturopathist.
When we study with interest, we care more about learning for knowledge or fun and useful applications; Less about grades, monetary returns, or social status.
Listening to music may help some to alleviate the stress associated with studying for some, and appreciation for music genres may differ depending on individuals. Listening to the same music or song may be ineffective for long studying periods, so listening to a radio station or curated internet radio channel with different genres for selection such as RadioTunes may help. You may wish to consider channels of relaxing music genres or read Supercharge With More Than 20 Ways To Take Better Notes for more ideas under the second note-taking exercise.
Also, those who love nature sounds may also download and replay indefinitely for free these forest wild birds chirping recordings that I recorded personally:
- Forest Wild Birds Chirping About 30 seconds
- Forest Wild Birds Chirping About Two Minutes
- Forest Wild Birds Chirping About Five Minutes
Display beautiful or soothing pictures nearby like sunsets, flowers, and cats
I have compiled a Sunset, Sun & Sky Photobook, for viewing, and personal use. Hopefully, this will also bring some relief from study and work stress to anyone who needs it. Print it. Frame it. Enjoy it.
Please refer to How to Make An Ebook With Pictures For Free if you would like to know what software I used to create this PDF file (~2MB).
Time management training
It may be interesting to note that students’ stress can be reduced with time management training as tested according to this research study (Stock, Hafner, Oberst 2014) involving 23 students. We may tend to assume everyone can manage time effectively without learning from a course/someone or a given talent that comes naturally. However, this seemingly basic skill may prove to be an important quality to possess for success in life. I strongly urge the reader to take extra note in learning how to manage time. We may observe some geniuses and talented people are able to spend much time and focus on accomplishing their tasks without giving in to distractions. Can we train ourselves to be so? You may consider a Udemy course such as this: How To Manage Time Effectively And Increase Productivity (affiliate link). I would suggest everyone strive and discipline himself to keep track of taking appropriate action towards their goals with frequent mental reminders.
More tips for relieving stress?
A regular sport or exercise that involves more breathing or concentration may also help students as a form of study stress relief.
- Wiser Sport (USA WISER SPORT COMMITTEE; CA Wiser Ball League)
- Weightlifting (For beginners) – News report on weightlifting for mental health?
- Walking for good health and Running
Also, will you consider a vegetarian diet for less stress (news article)?
A good and simple fruit recipe I learned is the apple fruit tea; I peeled, cut up the apple, and put it in hot water for some time before consuming. Also, lime and plum fruits tea may help with food digestion. I am just sharing my personal experience.
According to this post: Chamomile tea, green tea, and passion flower tea among others can help to distress as well. Please choose to consume organic tea whenever possible. And valerian tea can improve one’s mood and is proven to reduce stress.
Recognizing the causes for student study stress
- Parents’ expectation
- Teachers and school expectation
- Peer and social media pressure
These external pressure from others can add to a student’s mental burden. We need to know what is right and wrong attitudes and handle these expectations accordingly. For example, the ‘kiasu’ (scared-of-losing) mentality is prevalent and widely accepted in a certain country or countries, while we should strive for excellence but it is definitely vain, wrong, selfish or even evil to value ourselves over others, this is planting the cause for a downward and endless path to future misery. Education should teach us to embrace and love others, and hold others dearer than ourselves. It is indeed sad there are people who received decades of education only to end up selfish and lost in their greedy pursuits of fame and external wealth at the expense of others in a limited human lifespan. Have they forgotten how much they were given: To be born, raised, studied, benefitted from the love, care, knowledge, and hard work of others? It really does not take a rocket science genius to figure out where such a person may go after this life.
Would you like to know how many students feel stressed out in the United States? Read here to find out. Please reach out to local care lines and support groups if you need serious help e.g. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We have to sympathize with students experiencing studying stress considering they may often be told and reprimanded over years to develop a selfish attitude, victory over others or they are useless and incompetent. Instead, they should be taught to be selfless and cherish others over themselves, just being diligent within their own limits is good enough, love them with encouraging words and shower them with positivities. After all, life is more than just studying and immeasurably more beyond.
While striving to be filial and dutiful sons and daughters, we also have to learn to reject incorrect and wrong views or beliefs and only follow and pursue the correct ones, in spite of obstacles. Be a good, honorable, and righteous person; Disregard what your friends may tell you and avoid placing any unnecessary pressure on yourself.
What can I do if I am burned out?
At times, we expect ourselves to deliver and be productive but feel simply too overwhelmed with the various pressures in life.
Everyone is different and that is a fact. We all have different backgrounds, talents, and interests. Is it fair to expect everyone to perform with outstanding results when no one faces the same situations and upbringing or propensities? That is not to say we should be lazy and not work hard though. Perhaps we should compare with ourselves and not others.
One way that may help with burning out is to only tackle and solve a small problem or study for a short while only for the day. We may continue on to do more if we feel like it.
Another way is to branch off to do a short but main topic-related side research of our interest. If we break down a difficult topic to study on its own, we may derive new insights and understanding of the subject matter.
Alternatively, we can just take a relaxing break till we are ready to slowly pick up the pace again.
Note: Flashcards can be an excellent way to help us digest bits of information at a time. 4 Ways To Study Better With Flashcards And More may help.
It is common or even inevitable to feel stressed out when studying/taking notes for exams. Therefore, it is essential we tackle the study-stress problem directly and beforehand, especially for students who felt overwhelmed by the excessive pressure or bullying to perform well from others.
When we develop a habit to learn or act a little at a time every day, it is quite amazing how much it can add up and surmount. Speaking, reading, and writing a language are splendid examples to illustrate this point. We start from being repeatedly taught to recognize and pronounce the word for someone or an object, and gradually expand over the years to build a mental language storehouse for everyday expressions, communications, and literary purposes. We can naturally express long expressions and complex sentences with ease without laboring over grasping each difficult word anymore. The point is to form a habit to learn what we can at a time consistently. Do not worry incessantly about how others will perceive us or its results as long as we are working hard towards the right cause in the correct way.
I wish any class or school of students will not have to compete directly with each other for the number one spot with only one student emerging on top and the rest are disregarded. Perhaps the answers lie in homeschooling and a change of perception and developing an altruistic attitude.
Be kind to others. Work hard. And best of successes to your pure endeavors!
Is there any inspiring story for developing altruism and aspiring doctors?
In my years of watching drama series, there is one educational and moral one that stands out. I still remember this good and meaningful Korean series: Hur Jun, The legendary Doctor, it’s hard to beat this in various aspects, at least it got the moral intention part right, that is more than what I can say for most shows I have seen. If I recall correctly, this drama had the highest viewing percentage compared to others at the time of broadcast, as one of the product reviewers noted as well.
Are there any other posts that may better benefit studying students in general?
- Master This Targeted Studying Approach To Take notes In College
- One Sensible Way To Take Notes Effectively!
- 10 Ideas When To Take Notes