Wouldn't it be great to be able to conquer testing-anxiety by implementing three simple-steps? If not addressed early on in LVN or LPN schools, unmanaged test-anxiety can lead to failure from a LVN or LPN program. A simple, yet powerful technique that can make the difference between failing or passing is practicing the word "no. Recently I heard someone say that they couldn't say "no. If you wanted to play the piano would you just go ahead saying "I can't play the piano, or would you start practicing? Saying "no to anxiety-provoking thoughts takes practice, whereas thoughts of "can't lead to defeat. The first suggestion toward managing anxiety is to start your day by saying "no to what you don't want to think about and saying "yes to the needs that you want to be connected to.
This morning practice will set the stage for your day and bring you closer to your goal of managing fears associated with becoming a LVN LPN. Using the word "no by itself without following up with "yes, can lead to even more repetition of the negative thoughts. Think of an anxious-thought as someone who is knocking at your front door. As soon as you hear the rapid knock, give yourself the choice to open the door or not. If you do open the door immediately, your ability to decide if you want to let the visitor in becomes much more difficult than if you had first looked through the peep hole. It is both the boundary of the door and distance from the visitor that increases your ability to make a decision from a place of observation, instead of automatic reaction.
The image of taking the time to peer through the peep hole takes us to the second step: slowing down your response. Giving yourself permission to slow down your breath and movement, instead of making decisions within the hectic-pace of life provides time to process and make decisions that support your needs. When you are taking a test and your intrusive thoughts are stimulating your heart to beat faster, it's not too late to turn things around with a slow, deep exhalation. In Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia's article Heart Rate Variability (HRV), Dr. Robert Nolan states, "The rhythm of the heart is primarily under the control of the vagus nerve, which inhibits heart rate and the force of [heart] contraction. When we inhale, the vagus nerve activity is impeded and heart rate begins to increase. When we exhale this pattern is reversed.
Observe what happens to your anxiety when you take your next test with slow, deep exhalations, move your pencil at the pace of a snail, and slow your thoughts down to the rate of a slow-motion recording. Hopefully your anxious thoughts will exit out the back door, and you might start laughing at yourself. Your laughter will take you naturally into the third step of managing your anxiety. According to Pragito Dove's article Three Tips for Reducing Anxiety on www.intent.com, "Laughter acts as a bridge to bring you down from the head into your heart and deeper into your inner silence and wisdom. To shift toward freedom from test-anxiety remember to practice these natural steps:
1) say "no to what you don't want, "yes to what you need; 2) slow down your breathing, movement, & thoughts; and, most importantly, 3) laugh a lot.