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1. Set realistic expectations

It's rare for anyone to jump three grades higher overnight, so students should try not to set unrealistic goals. It is much better to plan grade improvement over a realistic time period. When expectations become more reasonable, we gain a sense of control in our lives and are able to plan and prepare ourselves both physically and psychologically.

2. Get physical

Exercise releases endorphins, which are the body's natural stress-relieving hormones. They help to dissipate much of the excess energy we build up through a heavy workload. Students should choose a form of exercise they enjoy in order to maintain motivation.

3. Prepare ahead

Advanced preparation will help students deal with exams much more effectively than being unprepared. We feel much better approaching an unfamiliar situation when we have done a bit of background research, so it is time well spent.

4. Take a break

Obvious, perhaps, but it's surprising how many people forget how important this is. Students should pace themselves during revision and take a breather every once in a while. Making time to recharge physical and emotional batteries increases productivity and reduces stress levels.

5. Relax

Any conscious effort to relax, both mentally and physically, will reduce stress. Simple activities, from curling up with a good book to singing in the shower, can bring about a state of relaxation, which is important in counterbalancing the body's response to stress.

6. Cut back on caffeine

Most of our caffeine intake comes from coffee or coke and, in small amounts, can help to keep us awake and focused. However, we only have a certain level of caffeine tolerance, so when our intake becomes excessive, we can become irritable and distracted. Similarly, alcohol or cigarettes are not the answer as they make our stress symptoms worse.

7. Get enough sleep

Sufficient sleep is essential for normal brain development. Adrenaline rushes brought about by stress can make it difficult to sleep at night and, over time, can lead to fatigue and low productivity. The average student needs about seven to eight hours sleep.

8. Balance work and leisure

"All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy," so the saying goes. But in today's world, you could add that it makes him stressed and unbalanced too. If we are to maintain a healthy perspective at school and at home, it is essential that we devote a good portion of our time to family and friends as well as individual pursuits.

9. Have a laugh

Humor can reduce stress. It puts uncomfortable feelings into perspective, giving us greater distance from them and releasing emotional discomfort and pain through the pleasure of laughter. So, the pressure



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