Dr Alex debunks exam stress

This article was first published on 3 April 2019

Exams are just around the corner, and we know how you feel: stressed.

Dr Alex is no stranger to difficult situations, as his appearance of Love Island showed. So we've asked him to debunk some common myths about stress to help keep you calm.

Love Island's Dr Alex debunks exam stress
  • Not only does exercise “lift the mood hormones that make you feel good” – it can also take your mind off everything you’re worried about. So Dr Alex’s advice? Go for a run!
  • You may feel like you can’t function without caffeine, but Dr Alex recommends staying away from really high energy drinks. They can lift your energy, but you’ll “crash shortly after, and that’s really not helpful when you’re trying to revise.”
  • Don’t always view stress as necessarily a bad thing: “being stressed does help us focus, as long as we don’t let it take control”.
  • Forget a problem shared being a problem halved: according to Dr Alex, it’s more like a problem quartered. “Letting out what you’re feeling and what you’re worrying about is so powerful”, so don’t keep it all bottled up, he says.
  • What about stress balls? According to Alex, they can be a really good distraction when you can feel yourself getting stressed, as can throwing a tennis ball against the wall (do ask permission before trying this at home). So they do what they say on the tin, then!
  • While Dr Alex discourages punching walls or doors (you don’t want to ruin your writing hand), doing something like boxing or just getting a punching bag could help you de-stress, as well as keeping you fit. Win-win.
  • As for physical reactions to stress, like sweating, that’s all down to adrenaline. Alex says you produce more when you’re stressed, and it redirects blood to places like your stomach, which kicks-starts your ‘fight or flight’ mode.
  • Stress doesn’t give you grey hair. Alex would know - if that was the case, he says, his stint on Love Island should have turned him into a silver fox!
  • Wrinkles might stress you out, but it doesn’t work the other way round. Unfortunately, you can’t blame your exams for any crow’s feet you may develop.
  • Whether you like rocking out to heavy metal, or getting in the zone with some classical, music “does help you de-stress,” according to Alex. Just don’t try and unwind with something you hate, as it could end up having the opposite effect!
Dr Alex debunks health myths
Exams: how to deal with exam stress
Revision: how to get started