Making it through exam time – stress free!

Making it through exam time – stress free!


We’re moving quickly into exam season – not only GCSEs and A Levels and University exams but also our 10 and 11 year olds are facing their first set of national tests – their SATs.

My three children are taking finals, first year university exams and SATs this year, so it is fair to say things are not always calm in our house! I have been working with a year 6 class, talking to them all about why they become anxious, and how they can control their anxiety, especially when they are sitting in the middle of an exam, because we all understand that we can’t perform at our best when we are anxious.  

They have been really receptive to it, and have really understood their own emotions. If they can understand at this young age why they are anxious and how to control their anxiety, it can save them a whole world of pain when they get to secondary school! It has been lovely working with them, teaching them breathing techniques and colour anchoring. Each session ends with a guided relaxation session, and a lovely motivational story, to help them to understand how special each and every one of them is. It has become the highlight of my Friday afternoons, and it is so lovely when they see me outside the school and tell me how they have been controlling their “chimp” and using my relaxation techniques to help them sleep. This is something I am hoping to roll this out across other schools, and maybe to the older children in our communities.

One of the things that we have been doing is learning how to “Train Our Chimp”. So here are the top tips for training your own chimp:

  • TALK NICELY to you Chimp – be kind to yourself, and tell yourself all the good things that have been going on in your life, rather than focusing on the negative.
  • PLAY with your chimp – lots of activity, games, sports or trampolining!
  • Surround your chimp with KIND, LOVING, CARING people – lots of friends who will also be kind to you and your chimp, and you’ll be kind to theirs (because everyone has one).
  • Make sure your chimp gets plenty of SLEEP! Sleep is so important for good mental health, so make sure you turn all screens off at least half an hour before bedtime.
  • Feed your chimp HEALTHY food – plenty of fruit and veg, not too
    many sugary foods and fizzy drinks.
  • Let your chimp have a SAFE PLACE – sometimes it is good to be able to go somewhere quiet if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Teach your chimp TRICKS! Controlling your breathing, closing your eyes and counting to 10 – whatever helps you just slow everything down is a great tactic to have in your tool box.

Lesley Leach Hypnotherapy – providing hypnotherapy services to Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Ledbury, Leominster, Ross on Wye and the surrounding areas.