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Across Gloucestershire and Herefordshire, students are anxiously awaiting their exam results.  Whether it is for GCSEs, A-levels or higher education, it can be an anxious and stressful time both for the students and their families.

While it isn’t possible to change the outcome of the exam results, it is possible to take steps to reduce the amount of anxiety or stress that people are feeling.

Elaine Davies, Clinical Lead for IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) in Herefordshire, said: “When we are anxious, we are likely to predict, catastrophise or exaggerate outcomes before knowing the facts.

“When we think of those waiting for exam results, they place a high value on their results, so that in itself puts pressure on them.

“With any anxiety, thoughts can often snowball into what we call the problem approach, moving from ‘what if I don’t get the results I want or need’ to ‘I’m useless’ and ‘my parents will be disappointed’. This can then lead to physical symptoms, such as belly ache, a racing heart and nausea, to name but a few. It can even lead to changes in behaviour, such as not even wanting to pick up the results or leaving them unopened.

“When students experience the problem approach, they can often forget that there are other alternatives available to them, and their parents can help them work through a plan B.”

Elaine suggests the following tips to help reduce stress and anxiety:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Distraction, such as a family meal or board game
  • Exercise – stress can produce toxins which exercise helps reduce
  • Less coffee or other sources of caffeine
  • Less alcohol

If stress or anxiety persists, or becomes a concern, then our free Let’s Talk courses could help. You can access them here.