Stressing for finals week? Here are some tips:

Anne Yoskoski

Final exam time is quickly approaching.   As we prepare our “minds” for upcoming tests, papers and presentations it is equally important that we think about how to best prepare ourselves for the stress that accompanies such a busy time of the semester.

Managing our stress during final exam time is critical to ensuring that we remain well physically, mentally and emotionally.   The following strategies, if practiced regularly, can make a big difference in your stress levels.  Dr. Christine Kiesinger, adjunct professor in the Department of Communication Studies, is also a yoga instructor.  In addition to the classes she teaches, she has led stress management workshops at universities and at corporate sites all over the country.   She wishes to offer the Wilkes community a simple stress management “tool kit” of sorts that we can call upon now as we plan for finals and a kit we can carry with us for life.

Yoga: the mind/body benefits of yoga are invaluable.  However, given our hectic schedules, many of us are unable to get to a yoga class.  Additionally, some of us might want to try yoga but feel intimidated and self-conscious.   A solid yoga practice invites us to move with ease and grace, fosters opportunities for deep, therapeutic breathing and creates a calm, peaceful state of mind.

The link below, offered by Yoga Journal offers us free yoga sessions that vary in experience from beginner to advanced; allow users to “choose” a teacher and also vary in length—anywhere from five to 35 minutes.   Also, users can choose the practice that best suits their needs.  This link is a wonderful way to begin practicing yoga or for yogi’s who wish to maintain their practice but can’t get to a class on a regular basis. c

Meditation/Mindfulness: nothing relaxes an active, chaotic and anxious mind like meditation.  However, many of us don’t consider meditation an option because of certain myths that surround it:  for example, “it takes too long,” or “I cannot sit still,” or “meditation is hard.”   Meditation, quite simply, requires very little time and effort.  If you can sit for just a few minutes in a quiet location, close your eyes and work to deepen your breath—you are meditating.

It is often useful to begin meditation through a “guided” format.  Guided meditations gently “guide” the mind into a focused and relaxed state and are easy to follow.  A regular meditation practice calms and clears the mind, strengthens our capacity for memorization, focus, and attention and most important, assists greatly in managing anxiety and panic.

The link below is offered by Tara Brach, Ph.D., founder of the Washington, DC Insight Meditation Center.   Brach is one of the leading meditation teachers in the country.  Her approach to meditation is user-friendly and practical.  If you click on the link below, you will be invited to choose from a number of different guided meditations that vary in length.   These guided meditations are free of charge and are top notch!   Find a quiet area, sit quietly and listen.  It’s that simple! branch

Therapeutic Sound: when organized in the right ways, certain sounds and rhythms have a therapeutic impact on the mind and body.   This is one of the reasons that our favorite music relaxes and/or uplifts us.  The therapeutic benefits of sound have been studied extensively—especially as these benefits relate to calming us down and restoring us back to a state of better help.

Omvana is a free app created by Mindvalley Academy.  When downloaded, the app offers users a variety of sound therapies that will help you to calm down and regain focus.  One favorite is the selection titled: Deep Rest.  If you wish to add “tracks” to your collection, you can visit the Omvana store and expand your library.  Omvana tracks are best listened to with headphones but can easily be used as background music while studying, writing, and researching.

Search for Omvana in your App Store.