Heartbeat, sweaty hands, sleepless nights and being nervous. Exam anxiety is a problem among students

Fight exam anxiety

Heartbeat, sweaty hands, sleepless nights and being nervous. Exam anxiety is a problem among students, but at Headspace, you can find someone to talk with and get advice on how you can handle it

Every day young people fight being afraid of enormous expectations and being nervous. Feelings are getting worse around exam periods. Being perfect and setting unreachable goals for yourself, makes the possibility for failure even bigger, which makes the fear even worse. Low self-esteem and lack of confident lays often hidden behind perfection and this is why is not only important to relate to the exam period but it is also important to relate to the way young people see them self in the environment they live in versus conditions they ask for them self. 


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Headspcae often experience that young people enter the room with exam anxiety and pressure towards performing perfect. They feel they have to do perfect in every subjects, read everything in the curriculum,  be social with their friends and besides of this have an existing student job. 

We see different types of young people from different levels in the education system who enter our centers with big anxiety and the feeling that they are giving up for pressure. Says Sif Thordis who is consular for young people in Headspace Roskilde

She has, like her collogues around Headspace offices, experienced that young people are under the pressure to perform and achieve goals regarding themselves, their friends and family.    

Mathias is one of the young people who experienced this. He was about to crash, because his thoughts were constantly on how he would perform to exams. “I had extremely difficult sleeping. I was just lying there and moving around in my bed and I had a wired feeling in my stomach. For a longer period I had fear for exams and when my girlfriend and I separated, everything crashed for me

He continuos:

“I was really sad and was feeling depressed. I started to feel that everything was hopeless. I didn’t know how to handle the situation and I was missing someone to talk to. It was difficult for me to open up for my family and friends and talk with them about it.    

Everything changed for Mathias, when a bus rolled by with a green poster saying: “someone to talk with”

“I felt I needed someone to share my thought with. When I got home I took contact to the local Headspace”

Right after, Mathias started to talk with a volunteer from Headspace on a weekly basis. For Mathias it was important to clear his mind and put what was going on in his mind on a piece of paper. Headspace had an important role in helping him in stressed situations. 

“It helped to open up and put things down in words. After some time I started feeling better and started to reflect about my problems, how I was feeling and what I could do to stop being stressed and get away with negative thoughts,” says Mathias

He experienced how advice made a positive impact on his life and the fact that he was feeling better and better after every consulting.  

“I’ve got some good tools to handle stress and avoid pressure when expectations were high. I know that I can always go back when new problems arrive or when I just need help and advice in a tough exam period”

Headspace ISIC DK

This is exactly what Headspace offers you. They try to understand what lies behind exams anxiety and which tools you can use to avoid those thoughts.

“Exam anxiety can be visible in many ways. It is not nervousness that’s the problem, this just shows, that something is happening. But it is a problem when nervousness gives you stomachache several weeks before your exam and when it overshadows everything”, says Nina Jürs central chef for headspace Rødovre

Both Nina Jürs and Sif Thorids experiences that young people often seeks help around exam periods. They want to get help on how to handle nervousness. “We talk a lot about how the body reacts, how it feels, when your body wants to tell you, that something is happening and when stress takes over. Then we talk about what you can do to control this”, Nina tells. 

Creating a free room, where young people can talk about their feelings and everything else is one of the main thoughts behind Headspace. Everybody needs, now and then, to talk about his or her frustrations. Many times, it just helps to talk about it, so you can get rid of your worries and frustrations, which many times can lay as a heavy burden on your shoulders.  

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Headspaces' four tips against exam anxiety

Talk about it

Tell someone how you feel. Say it loud and appreciative that you are nervous. Nervousness is a normal feeling and it is important that you take care of it and in the same time give space to other feelings. Breathing exercises and saying loud, that you are nervous and appreciative can help lowering nervousness.

Voters your expectations
It is okay not to excel in everything. It is important that you sit down and priorities what it is most important and relax on other stuff, if you want to focus on your exams. Remember – you are more worth than the grade you get.

Eat and sleep
If you are worried it can be difficult to fall asleep and it is important that you prioritize your sleep. It is essentiel for your relation to your learning. It is a good idea that you don’t go to sleep late, it might be a good idea to stop reading an hour before bedtime so your brain can slow down.

Get help at Headspace
Headspace is anonyms and free counselling for children and young in the age 12-25 years. Headspace is located in Copenhagen, Odense, Horsens, Esbjerg, Aalborg, Rødovre, Roskilde, Billund and Herning. Soon it will also open in Helsingør. No problem is to big or to small, so don’t hesitate to take contact to Headspace. There is no waiting time, you can just walk in from the street, chat with us or give us a call.   

You can read more about Headspace here www.headspace.dk or follow us at Facebook