Have you ever noticed your palms getting a little sweaty when it is time to go to science class? Your body is letting you know that you are nervous. Your cortisol levels spike and your body and mind are ready to fight, flee or freeze. Not the perfect time to go into your science class and be prepared to learn. If this happens to you, you’re not the only one. I’m sure that almost half of the students in your science class experienced the exact same thing when they headed into class (it doesn’t matter whether your peers are male or female). It is very common for students to have anxiety about school but especially about science class. Here are 7 ways to reduce anxiety for science class and allow your brain to actually understand the science concepts being taught. No more feeling behind or lost.
Become a pro at deep breathing.
Practice breathing in deeply for 4 counts and slowly releasing that breath for 8 counts then do it again with 7 counts in and 11 counts out. Get in the habit of doing this as you enter the classroom and then again as the teacher is presenting a difficult problem.
Understand what mindfulness is and practice it in class and on a daily basis.
Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment with a non-judgmental attitude. This takes practice. I have a tendency to worry about future problems which can spiral out of control quickly, leaving me feeling worthless and out of control which leads to anxiety and depression. Wow, that was a little depressing to tell about, haha. I write that because it has become so powerful in my life to practice mindfulness. As soon as I begin to focus on what I am doing right now, in a non-judgmental way, my breathing calms and I feel a clarity of mind that helps me do anything.
Take care of you.
Get enough sleep, water, exercise and healthy food before you actually have to go to class. You would never start a marathon or even a 5K if you hadn’t had a good meal and plenty of water. Why would you think going to class doesn’t require the same care for your body? If you don’t take care of yourself there is no way you can do difficult things including learning. Running a marathon and learning science don’t require the same skills but they do require some of the same self care.
You need at least 8 hours of sleep (kids and teens need more).
You should be trying to drink close to a gallon of water a day (this is for teens and adults. Kids need plenty of water too. If they seem unusually tired, kids might just need more water).
You should try to exercise for 10-30 minutes a day and you should be eating food that is actually healthy for you. I always think that if it has good natural color then it is good for me. For example, spinach and broccoli are a nice dark green = healthy. Blueberries and strawberries are deep colors = healthy. Carrots and oranges are a nice orange color = healthy. Try some almonds or cashews, greek yogurt or black beans. Just take care of yourself before class so that you can keep cool in class.
Practice progressive muscle relaxation techniques while sitting in your desk.
Many times your body will tense up when anxious. Visualization and focus can help relax those muscles so that you can cope and move on with your learning and life. Be sure to practice before you get to class so that you can do it while in class. I like to begin with my face and move to my neck and shoulders. I visualize the muscles that make up that area of my body and I think of sending a brain signal to that area to tell the muscles to lengthen and release their tension. Then I visualize the muscles getting longer and laying flatter against my bones. Any knots or hard places need extra time and focus. I can feel myself relax and be more at ease.
Get organized and take notes.
If you don’t write it down then your brain has to just try and recall it. The more abstract something is the more difficult it is to recall and science fits well into that abstract category. Don’t do that to your brain; you are just stressing it out. Write stuff down and keep it organized.
Check out my free note-taking email course to get you started on taking better notes. This course helps you identify how you learn best and then incorporate that into your note-taking style. You will be taking better notes in less than a week.
Save a portion of your notebook to write down your worries before class starts and then doodle in the margins during class.
Writing out your worries and problems actually helps to cope with them thereby reducing your anxiety. Be sure to get to class a little early, 3 minutes is all you need, so that you can write down what you are worried about. Also, box out an area in your notebook for the day where you can make simple doodles when you start to feel that anxiety return. Small movements actually help your brain to cope and “reset” in a way that lets you overcome that bout of anxiety and get back to work.
After class take a break.
Walk and talk or do a word/mind puzzle, go for a jog or shoot some hoops. Reward yourself for making it through class and unwind for a minute.
Using these tips will combat the anxiety you have towards science class and will allow you to perform at your best. Don’t look at these tips as some sort of cure-all that will lead to you never having anxiety. Completely removing anxiety from our lives isn’t good for us and shouldn’t be our goal. What we want to do is name it and tame it. Name it by knowing that you are feeling anxiety and how it actually feels to you and then tame it by using these tips so that you can continue on with science class and really learn the concepts and excel in your classwork.
I hope these tips are useful to you and I would love to hear how you are doing. Comment below on what your go-to anxiety reducer is. And don’t forget to follow me on facebook and pinterest.