Mindfulness v. Test Anxiety

TreesJust studying can be anxiety making.  'Cause you don't know the stuff yet.  'Cause the vignettes are all so grim.  Just because.

Test day?  The same, but more.  I've read accounts of people not sleeping, not eating, not breathing through the the last prep day and test day.

So here, some quick mindfulness meditations, courtesy of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center.  A very good way to chill out.  And then to use in sessions.  And then to use to shake off sessions.  And then to use on the ride home. And then...
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Remain Calm

Kabat-ZinnOne thing repeated in all the prep materials I've come across so far is a piece of pat advice: Don't get too stressed out. "Anxiety" neared #1 in the Top Ten Reasons People Don't Pass The Test list at a recent AATBS workshop. One of that company's CDs has a guided imagery--picture your resistance to the test as a ball in your chest; now bring it up and blow it out. (Go ahead, this will keep.)

Like you, probably, I had no hours in the day as it was. Now adding all this time studying (plus, ridiculously, blogging) has neatly removed most fun/calming/soothing/anxiety-reducing activity from each day. Didn't even get to my regular commute-easing political blogs last week (strong recs: Left, Right and Center; Slate Gabfest; The Bugle), instead dutifully filling my automotive hour with company prep discs and The Social Work Podcast. Helpful, but not exactly a lot of laffs.

What has worked in the past? Me, I like baths. Mindful ones--noticing the dry and the wet, the sloshing sounds, the drip of water traveling down the tile, etc. And here's why I got started with that: I read some Jon Kabat-Zinn, used his meditation CDs. Mindfulness. All good, all recommended for slowing down the day here in test-prep time and, since this will all be over some day, for those balmy LCSW days in the future. Can't hurt. (Titles go to Wherever You Go, There You Are (Jon Kabat-Zinn) Guided Mindfulness Meditation (Jon Kabat-Zinn), Other Mindfulness Stuff at Amazon

This is good self-care and works with clients, too. Five stars on the non-existent Social Work Test Prep Blog rating scale. Do check them out.

UPDATE: Just launched--a "Social Work Test Prep Book Store." Prep books are here. Relaxation books and CDs here

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