It was only today that I found the inspiration to write this. As I mentioned in my earlier post, my sister is applying for various universities and on 11th July, she took the FAST Entrance test. Because I was the chauffeur for the day I had to drive her home after the test. As soon as I saw her, I knew something was wrong, I preferred not to mess with the beehive. It was only after reaching home that she burst into tears. Still, she was unable to explain what had happened. What I established from this episode, she couldn’t handle the pressure.
So how do we handle pressure? I know most of you are reading this expecting me to share a solution or some sort of self-experimented technique to handle pressure. Well I’m no Dr. Phil nor am I Zubeda Apa that I might have some sort of solution for this problem. In my opinion there is no running from it. No shortcut, whatsoever. That’s why they are called “under pressure” situations.
So we know now that we can’t avoid pressure. But what we can do is to keep our nerve under such situations, by that I mean controlling our self so that the brain functioning does not deviate from its normal path. To control yourself in such situations, you must first observe how pressure hits you. It’s never a sudden shock. It mounts slowly and steadily. Let’s proceed with the example of the entrance tests.
Suppose your test is on 16th July and today is 1st July. At this point, it’s probably something in the back of your head. Something you know exists but its way down the priority list right now. As the days pass by, it moves up the priority list. The effect of this, you start thinking about it more, you spend a greater part of the day preparing for it and most importantly, the thought if it occupies a larger portion of your brain. Then finally, it’s the night before the event, and all you can think of is tomorrow’s entrance test. You try to get the thought out of your mind but you fail. You can’t sleep, can’t study anymore and astonishingly, don’t want to do any other thing as well. It’s the way our brain works. Isn’t it a beautiful scheduler?
What I gather from this is that this situation can be caused in only two conditions. Either my brain is trying its best to scare me and my body is on a mission to self-destruct causing death by insanity or my brain is just scheduling the tasks like a computer and my mixed emotions and fears attached with that task are giving it a whole new meaning. I think the latter condition applies on all of us. Simply, our brain is only telling us what we have to do and we transform it into what we can’t do.
To control your pressure, control your fear. Now fear, again, is a natural phenomenon and all things natural, are inevitable. So the best attempt we can make at not being afraid is to try and not think about it. This applies for only the night before the test. Erasing it from your mind beforehand could prove hazardous.
There can be lots of ways to get you mind off something. Listen to music, not depressing music, the music you like, the music that makes you listen to it. Everybody knows what genre that is for them. You can also head to the kitchen. Eating does the trick for many people. It has its side effects, agreed, but insanity or calories, you choose. It’s better if you cook what you eat. It kills more time that way and takes your mind off things better. Jogging! I know this seems a bit too much now but exercise can help calm your nerve and take you mind off things in the best and healthiest possible way in my opinion. A tired body sleeps better and you feel fresher the next day unless you were out running after a very long time. In which case, you will only feel the cramps in your thighs. Do what suits you and go to bed with a clear head.
“Conquer you fear and I promise you shall conquer the world” I heard this in some movie, probably in Alexander. But in order to get through the day without dropping or raising you blood pressure, you have to work by this quote. You have to have full command of yourself. If you ask me, I would say it’s not pressure to begin with, its anxiety, just a bad feeling that you generate for yourself. Relax! Otherwise, anxiety has the tendency to turn into depression and depressed youth is simply unacceptable.
One more thing, try not to stare at people too much when you’re there for the test. Confident faces will just add to your mental torture. If none of this works, try putting your hand on your chest and say aloud “AAL IS WELL”. That might do the trick!