EXAMS: HELP FOR THE PERFECTIONIST

This is a chapter from my new book: ‘Freedom from Exam Stress’

CHAPTER 10

HELP FOR THE PERFECTIONIST

 “The greatest mistake a man can make is to be afraid of making one.” Elbert Hubbard

Examinations can be stressful for many people due to the combination of months of preparation along with the task of relaying this wealth of knowledge in a two hour examination. If you are a perfectionist however, this is just the beginning. The combination of beliefs that everything must be done to perfection, not feeling good enough and that it’s unacceptable to make a mistake, can all add to the initial pressure of the exam process. Not only will this impact on yourself, but will also effect your loved ones as they only wish for you to do your best.

I would like to help you adopt a new approach by helping you becoming more accepting of yourself, more patient and have an opportunity to perform to the best of your ability.

When studying for and taking exams, what is the strongest negative emotion? What frustrates you the most? Scale how you feel (0-10). 0 would show you feel calm, confident. 8, 9 or 10 would reflect a high level of stress.

 We’ll now start to tap on the body’s acupressure points to help release the pressure 

I’ll use feeling anxious about making mistakes and not feeling good enough as examples.

 Using your index and middle finger, lightly tap your karate chop point and repeat all the phrases below.

 “Even though I have this anxiety about making mistakes, I accept myself.”

 “Even though I feel disappointed and angry with myself and feel a failure if I make even one mistake, I accept myself.”

 “Even though I never feel good enough because my expectations are so high, I accept myself.”

Repeat the reminder phrase below as you tap on the body’s acupressure points. Start with the top of your head and follow me through. Lightly tap about five times on point. This is a very forgiving process, don’t worry about getting it wrong, just focus on the words and you should experience your worries fade away. We’ do the sequence twice.

“I find it difficult to accept making mistakes and I feel a failure if I do something wrong. I never have the opportunity to feel good enough because my expectations are so high.”

Take a deep breath, scale how you feel. Is the number the same or has it changed?

Tapping the karate chop point, repeat all the phrases below- introduce ‘still’.

Even though I still find it difficult to accept making mistakes, I accept myself.”

 “Even though I still feel a failure if I make a mistake, I accept myself.”

 “Even though I still never feel good enough because my expectations of myself are so high, I accept myself.”

 Repeat the reminder phrase below as you tap on the body’s acupressure points.  Do the sequence twice.

“I still find it difficult to accept making mistakes, still feel a failure and never feel good enough.”

Take a deep breath, scale yourself again. It’s common after a few rounds of tapping to feel the pressure shift. As you feel more relaxed we’ll introduce some positive- ‘What if’.

 Tapping the karate chop point, repeat all the phrases below.

“Even though I have always been disappointed and angry with myself for making a mistake. What if I allowed myself to be more forgiving and find a way to be patient and more accepting?”

 “Even though I have always had this underlying fear of failure. What if I viewed learning to drive as an opportunity to change the way I feel about myself?”

 “Even though my expectations always put me under pressure as they set me up for failure. What if I was able to set more realistic goals and reward myself for the progress I am making?”

 Repeat all the reminder phrases below as you tap on the body’s acupressure points.  Do the sequence twice.

What if I allowed myself to be more forgiving and find a way to be more patient and accepting?”

 “What if I view preparing for my exams as an opportunity to change how I feel about myself?”

 “What if I was able to set more realistic goals and reward myself for the progress I am making?”

Take a deep breath. Scale how you feel. At this stage you should feel lighter, calmer and less worried.  If however your negative emotions are still quite strong, tap another few rounds focusing on the negative.

As your mind feels clearer and you feel more confident, we will now tap focusing just on the positive, using ‘I choose’.

 Tapping the karate chop point, repeat the phrase below three times.

“I choose to be open to the possibility I can be more patient, forgiving, I realise that if I get frustrated and angry I am only hurting myself. I am open to change. I choose to find a way to help me enjoy the challenge of studying for my exams.” 

 Repeat the reminder phrase below as you tap on the body’s acupressure points.  Do the sequence twice.

 “I choose to be open to the possibility that I can be more patient, forgiving and realise that if I get frustrated and angry I am only hurting myself. I am open to change. I choose to find a way to help me enjoy the challenge of studying for my exams.” 

 Take a deep breath and scale how you feel. At this stage it is common to feel  positive, and more open to the possibility of change.

In my work helping free students/performers from whatever barriers are getting in the way of their success, I have found being a perfectionist, whilst playing a major part in their development can often hinder them achieving their potential and perhaps more important, enjoying their life.

If this sounds familiar, I would like to help you adopt a new approach by helping you becoming more accepting of yourself, more patient and to experience the joy of doing your best work.

Leave a comment or if you would like a free consultation email me at sean@confidenceontap.com 

If you’d like to buy or sample my new ebook which includes chapters on feeling overwhelmed, the inner critic and pre-test anxiety, click here: ‘Freedom from Exam Stress’

 

 

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