Where Does Pressure Really Come From ?
What is Exam Stress?
For many young people, exams are seen as the first big ‘life challenge’ they will face.
Where a result or outcome, success or the possibility of failure, might be judged to have consequences for the rest of their lives.
Often this challenge is accompanied by feelings of anxiety, nervousness or stress, both during revision time and on the day.
It is commonly believed that these feelings can have an impact on quality of life leading up to the exams, and performance during them.
This workshop is designed to help students explore these feelings and perceptions.
We will clarify where they really come from and offer an understanding of how stress and pressure can be overcome, allowing young people to enjoy the challenge and realise their true potential.
What’s The Story?
In exploring the nature of thought, we see our tendency to drift into the past and future.
We create stories based on limiting beliefs from the past, and worry over what the future may hold.
When we begin to understand the nature of thought, we stop getting caught up in the stories. We come back into the moment where clarity of mind and productivity always reside.
Recognising that these projections are made up can allow them to dissolve. We will offer some examples from our experiences of sport and life.
Students may wish to discuss a time where they have realised this to be true, and also a time where they have struggled to see past the illusion created by their thinking.
We can respond to this feedback and help make sense of these experiences.
Who Am I?
We will identify the labels we give ourselves and to others based on past experiences or achievements.
Could some of these labels be limiting? Where do they come from?
For example, we might describe ourselves as smart, stupid, lazy, hardworking, relaxed, successful etc.
Are these labels permanent and definitive, or do they last only for as long as we believe them?
Have you ever had a label which might have been appropriate once, but is no longer relevant?
How might a misunderstanding about labels cause us to feel insecure or stressed ?
What Is Pressure?
It’s normal to feel nervous, excited or a little apprehensive at exam time.
But what causes these feelings to turn into pressure, anxiety and overwhelm?
Can you still perform at your best when you feel nervous or anxious? We will share examples from our sporting and coaching experience when this was very much the case.
Most people can recall occasions when they felt unmotivated, stressed or anxious but still managed to show up and perform well.
These examples allow us to explore the big question: Where does pressure really come from?
Does attachment to outcomes get in the way of clarity of mind in the present moment?
Uncovering the answers to these questions allows students to come up with their own insights into how they might prepare best for the upcoming challenges.
Do We Need to Have Goals?
It is commonly believed that happiness and contentment in life come from achieving goals.
If this is true, why are some successful people unhappy and stressed?
It’s natural to have dreams and to want to do well, but in order to express your true potential it’s helpful to see that outcomes do not directly cause happiness
Have you ever achieved an outcome and become confused when it didn’t bring the lasting fulfilment that you believed it would?
Have you ever had a bad result and thought it was ‘the end of the world’ yet as time went by new possibilities and solutions seemed to arise?
How could seeing this in the moment help relieve stress and suffering?
Human beings have a natural capacity to give their best to the task at hand when they see past the belief that their value is related to the outcome.
When Are You At Your Best?
In the work we do with high performers, we often hear that they are most productive when they feel free and are in the moment.
It is impossible to be present when we have attachment to outcomes, to something in the future.
The present moment is where our innate traits of clarity of mind, resilience and productivity naturally arise.
Are we more likely to perform to our potential when we are feeling free and in the moment, or when we are worrying about the past or the future?
Understanding the true nature of the present moment, and what takes us out of it is the key to realising your potential in any circumstances.
Success and Failure
Is ‘failure’ definitive?
It might be hard to see at the time, but it’s important to know that when things don’t pan out as intended, there is always a way forwards.
Your well-being, your true nature can never be diminished by an outcome.
It is inevitable that we will face challenges. When we start to understand the nature of our own experience more clearly, we can see that during difficult times and in the midst of emotions, underneath it all we are OK.
It’s great to do well. But it is essential to understand that your value and well-being aren’t defined by circumstances.
Seeing this clearly allows detachment from those outcomes. If we believe our happiness depends on results, insecurity will arise.
KEEPING THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Do we need all the answers now?
It may seem that to be a ‘success’ we need to have everything clearly mapped out.
But it’s absolutely normal to not really know, and for the plan to change.
All we can do is what makes sense in the moment and give our best to the tasks at hand.
What if you knew you have everything you need to live a great life?
That you didn’t need to ‘become’ someone or something in order to be happy?
What if you already have the capacity to naturally express your talent, creativity and love into the world?
What if right here, right now, was always the best place to show up from, to let your potential shine?
Please Get In Touch
This program is designed to help teachers and school staff to help students learn more about the thoughts and feelings which often appear as exam time approaches.
These ideas can be discussed in a one-off session or workshop with our facilitators and coaches, or in more detail as a mini-curriculum delivered over several weeks.
Please get in touch using the contact form to discuss your requirements or ask a question.