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My Experience With Test Anxiety
We schedule the things that we write about quarterly. This quarter when the three of us (Brandy, Cara, and myself) were planning out our blog schedule and looking at potential topics to help people learn more about CBD, the topic “CBD & test anxiety” came up, and I knew this was my time to shine. Currently, I am in my senior year at Grand Valley State University as a Health Communications major and I feel intimately acquainted with my foe: test anxiety.
At this point in my life, I have been a student for 17 years of my 21 years of life and there has yet to be a year that I do not struggle managing my test anxiety. As a young child, I used to get so stressed about tests that I would spend hours doing the math to figure out how different test scores would affect my grades. I would memorize every study guide from top to bottom, and if the test was hard I would pull on my hair and pick at my scalp for the entire duration of the test. I used to have this weird test ritual, (especially for chemistry,) where I would take a deep breath, crack all of my joints (to my classmates’ horror), and chew gum in an attempt to avoid my anxious hair pulling. What was arguably even worse than taking the test, was the anxiety I experienced when tests were being handed back. As soon as I turned a test in, I would check my grades daily, religiously, in hopes that my grade would be entered into the grade book. If a teacher hand graded, I was always desperate while I waited for the teacher to pass the tests back. I would feel like I was waiting for the Grim Reaper.
I feel the need to note that I’m a good student who gets good grades, but my track record never guaranteed that sacred “A” grade. So much of my young years were centered around school and grades, it became a measure of my own self-worth. This pattern of extreme stress and worry for each test continued until I graduated high school. I had a 4.3 GPA, but I look back with nothing but regret over the hours lost to anxiety and the stress I put myself through. Test anxiety was unavoidable for me then, but that is no way the case now.
Deep Breathes Actually Matter
One of the very first things that others told me to do with regards to my test anxiety was to take a deep breath. If you’ve ever been a person in a state of panic, you know how in=credibly hard it is to “just take a deep breath.” I used to scoff that comment off as something people say when they don’t know how to help. How do you help a good student to stop being terrified of tests, an essential part of being a student? Well…it turns out that taking a deep breath is actually really good advice. I read an article on PubMed, my favorite database for medical journals/research, that discussed the effects of deep breathing on attention and stress. People much smarter than I am have done research on the effects of deep breathing and there is a clear correlation between breathing deeply and the reduction of negative affects. I have since included a few deep breathing exercises to calm and center myself before any test. I will breathe in while counting to 4, in my head of course. and breathe out while counting to 8. I will repeat this 4 times and then depending on if my hear still feels like there’s a mini earthquake in my chest, I may continue by breathing in to the count of 8 and out to the count of 8. I will also repeat that 4 times or until my heartbeat slows. Once I have quieted the typically frantic drum pumping blood in my chest, I also typically like to do a few stretches in my chair. If I am uncomfortable, I will fixate on how my back is bothersome instead of the test questions in front of me. Just a simple back twist while holding on to the back of the chair while turning to stretch/crack my lower back often does the trick. I’ll bring one leg up to my chest in the chair and pull it in and then stretch my other leg similarly. I may look like I am preparing for some sort of physical activity for a very stationary task of taking a test, but the mental gymnastics required to get the right answer, for me, requires physical preparations. Sometimes that routine just isn’t enough though.
Tests And CBD – Introduced to CBD
Since going to college, I learned about CBD through one of GWL’s staff members, Cara. I have known Cara a long time. Before I came on staff at GWL, Cara introduced me originally to Green Wellness Life, and my academic career was irrevocably changed. Cara had sent me a few of GWL’s blogs to read when I was a freshman at the University of Arizona. I was struggling with stress and anxiety in my journalism class (it was an advanced class known for some of the hardest journalism tests in the whole department). I did not know this when I signed up for the class, but quickly learned it was going to be harder than ever for me to be able to take this class without pulling my hair out. Literally. I needed a new plan and Green Wellness offered some assistance. Below are two of the blogs Cara sent me regarding stress and some possible insight.
Dealing With Stress – Now what?
After reading both of the above articles, I picked out a few products to try out to help me manage my test anxiety. I ended up choosing a water soluble CBD drink mix and CBD gum as a booster. I wanted something I could take the morning of that would act quickly to help calm any shakiness or worry that would cloud my ability to study and focus. The drink mix that we carry is from cbdMD and comes in either lemonade or fruit punch. Each packet is 25mgs of broad spectrum CBD to help me relax without any THC. The gum that I used in Arizona was the MedCBDX gum that is 10mgs of isolate CBD per piece of gum. Now I prefer to chew the Medterra gum which has 20mgs of CBD per piece with added ingredients like B6, L-Theanine, and L-Tyrosine to further aid in calm and clarity.
I use both products before every test I take today, as my own personal “it’s gonna be okay” cocktail. I genuinely feel that both the gum and drink mix have assisted me in my quality of life as a student and improved my performance in my academic career.
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to stoichiometry, while simultaneously fixating on the fact that if more than 3 questions are wrong your grade will drop a letter. It’s stressful. Trust me. Sometimes I find myself thinking about what my life would have been like as a younger student had I known what I know now. Hindsight is 20/20 and now so are my test scores (I’m very much kidding). If you struggle with test anxiety like I do or if you are curious about CBD boosters, we are always here to help guide you. Give us a call at 866-244-4223 (Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm EST), or fill out our online contact form. You can also click the “live chat” button at any time!
While writing this, it is currently midterms week at GVSU and I cannot emphasize enough how stressed I have been. I mean nightmares about failing college type stress, and I am more thankful than ever for my test anxiety go-to’s. My senior level health care management class has a 7 page long study guide of questions. Wish me luck!