How to keep positive vibes around results day
Your mind is a powerful tool. Over the last few months it has helped you to remember everything you’ve needed to get through your exams – from equations to dates, from quotes to remembering to bring a spare pen. Your brain is your best friend… but it can also be your worst enemy.
As results day creeps closer, you might find your thoughts turning less sunny than they were at the start of the summer. Maybe negative thoughts are creeping in: “What if I don’t get the grades? What if I missed a question? What if I forgot to put my name on the paper? What if I failed EVERYTHING?!”
Stop right there!
Your thoughts can have a huge impact on your physical and mental wellbeing so it’s really important to keep tabs on what’s going on in your head, keep things in perspective and, most importantly, keep positive.
As psychologist M. Wallace explains, "Positive thinking can really work to reduce stress and interrupt or override negative thoughts. When stress levels are lower, it has a positive effect on our immune system, sleep, appetite, mood, learning and relationships."
One way to be more positive is to practice gratitude. This is simply the practice of being thankful for what you have – especially the small things. As Lots Holloway explains in this clip, consciously making time to be thankful is a great first step towards keeping a positive mindset.
Lots’ focus on gratitude, on being thankful for what she has right here and now, is a mindfulness technique.
Mindfulness is a tool that some people use to help manage their thoughts and their wellbeing. It involves focusing on the present – what is happening right now in your thoughts, physical body and surroundings. "Is is," says M. Wallace, "a wonderful way to promote calm, be in the moment and encourage acceptance."
M. Wallace goes on to explain some of the benefits of mindfulness: it "encourages us to be present, to breathe, to accept how things are. It helps to let go of worries or negative thoughts and just be with things in that moment, however they are."
Sounds like just what is needed around results season, right? So, to get you started, here are three mindfulness practises you could try:
List the things that you are grateful for right now, in this moment. If it helps, write them down.
Get outside. Go for a walk or a run and really notice what's around you. What can you see, hear, smell and feel?
Try meditating. Sit quietly, somewhere you won't be disturbed, and focus on your breathing. If your thoughts wander, that's ok, just bring them back to the present moment again.
Obviously, being mindful now isn’t going to magically change your grades come results day (if we could wave that magic wand for you, we would!), but cultivating a more positive mindset can help you to be more resilient and deal problems and setbacks if they do arise.
Mindfulness and gratitude techniques "aren’t about telling ourselves we’re amazing or that everything is wonderful", reinforces M. Wallace, "they’re about recognising our own strengths, however big or small, and seeing the good things around us instead of focusing on the negative."
Where to find support
If you feel like you're having negative thoughts that are causing you anxiety or low mood, and it's impacting on your daily life, we strongly advise having a chat with your GP or health professional as they can put you in contact with the right people who can help. You can also visit Young Minds for more information about mental health and how to get support, or the NHS.
Talking about the way you feel is always the best thing to do, no matter how big or small the issues are that you’re facing. Although it can be hard opening up about mental health, it’s something that affects every one of us. If you are experiencing difficulties, never feel ashamed or different or like you need to keep it to yourself. Talk to someone or find some support.