How to conquer exam nerves naturally

Anxiety and nerves in the house due to upcoming exams, presentations or interviews? Is revision making your head hurt? If you or your teenage is panicking about exams and study, or grumpy, weepy, silent, angry, having perfectionist tendencies are just can’t focus or get started then you might want to review and stock up on a few of the remedies that suit the best! 

It’s totally normal to feel some degree of nerves on the run up to a test, exam, assessment or interview but too many nerves can cause great stress and impede our performance. If we calm the nerves, we can make good decisions, think clearly, recall information and find our courage for the big day to give it our best shot. 

Whether it’s mental strain from over studying, lack of concentration or anxiety and anticipation of the day of the exam then we have a remedy or tip to help you be in top condition for the big day. 

Anxiety & Fear Remedies for exam nerves

Gelsemium is a key remedy for anticipatory anxiety, fear and dread. You may withdraw, shut down, mind goes blank, you can’t think, cannot concentrate or focus as you are consumed by fear and dread. Particularly for intense performance anxiety, stage fright – where the mind goes blank during revisions or the exam/performance, you can feel ‘paralysed’ by fear or anxiety and can feel very weak. Physically, you may need to urinate frequently or have diarrhoea due to nerves, lots of nervous trembling/shaking, feel weak and dizzy, restless, fitful sleep, may suffer with muscle weakness or paralysis, headaches with drowsiness, heavy, droopy eyes. A chill might run up and down your spine. 

Argentum nitricum is a remedy that is for worry about upcoming events, performance anxiety for any reason including before exams or tests or appearing in front of an audience. This can be a brilliant remedy for intense states of anxiety, panic attacks and relieving fears (heights, flying, dentists are common fears for this remedy). People needing Arg Nit often feel very hurried, nervous, very talkative, excitable, impulsive, you can’t sit still, you pace the room, very restless. You may have lots of stomach symptoms such as anxiety felt in the stomach, belching, flatulence, prone to diarrhoea when feeling anxious. You can crave sweet stuff. 

Lycopodium can be a great remedy if you lack confidence in your ability to perform or do the test, and you may have a strong fear of failing and feel overwhelmed and have anxiety about the upcoming event. You may give the impression of being confident about your exams and an even be full of bravado however deep down there is a fear that you will fail, not get everything right and won’t be able to cope with the exam/performance. Often your performance is great but the nerves and anxiety on the lead up can be awful for you to experience. You tend to suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation or tummy ache, butterflies in stomach, oh and lots of wind! With the worst time of day being 4-8pm or missing a meal which can cause a low blood sugar and a headache. You can have bad moods, be irritable, sarcastic, bossy/dictatorial behaviour at home but not necessarily like this elsewhere. You tend to like warm drinks. 

Aconite is great for fear of the future, of what might happen, fearing the worst, anxiety often worsening around midnight. You can have great restlessness, agitation, dizziness, numb, difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, wide eyes, alert, panicky, freeze response ‘rabbit in headlights’ type feeling. If your fear of an event has temporarily put you in a state like this then Aconite could be very useful to clear the fear and allow you to continue on with your studies or exam. 

Arsenicum Album is useful for someone who is a perfectionist, fastidious, fussy, they want everything just right, and put high expectations on themselves and others! You may have great restlessness, fear the worse, irritable, struggle to relax and have great apprehension about the future. Lots of fear and anxiety so much so that sleep becomes affected and you can struggle with digestive disturbances (cramps, diarrhea, burning). 

Nux vomica is for when you feel irritable, impatient, jittery, anxious and are oversensitive to noise, lights and smells. You may struggle to sleep, waking around 3am and cannot get back to sleep for a couple of hours. Digestive upsets can come along with the exam stress such as cramps and nausea. This remedy also likes to overindulge in stimulants (coffee etc) which can also cause the digestive upsets. You are ambitious, driven and impatient. 

Remedies for affects of Overstudying – headaches, eye strain, mental fatigue

Nat Mur helps hammering, bursting headaches with misty vision, from reading, writing too much. Sun exposure will make it worse. Often headaches are worse in the morning and you can get eyestrain that is like a bruised feeling and your eyes may feel weak. You may have a tendency to dwell or stew over things or be pessimistic. 

Calcarea phosphorica can be very useful for headaches, inability to think and fatigue from too much study. You can be whiny, complaining, have stomach ache and growing type pains in legs (if younger). 

Picricum acidum is a fabulous remedy if you are suffering from headaches, eye pain and brain fog (concentration and focus problems) from mental strain and overstudying. 

Ruta Grav is a number one remedy for eyestrain and tiredness from the computer and reading. 

Silica is a remedy that will help if you feel like you are lacking the mental or/and physical stamina to continue your studies or go through with your exams. You are organised and diligent but are struggling to remember everything and have difficulty concentrating. You are feeling overwhelmed and have a big fear of failure. 

Kali-phos remedy can help calm the nerves where there has been a lot of overworking, exhaustion from doing too much, a tired but wired type feeling where the mind is in overdrive and sleep can be affected. Headaches, buzzing in the ears and eye straining can be part of the picture too. 

How to take the remedies

Select the remedy that matches your symptoms the closest, then please take 1 pill every hour for 3 doses in total. If you feel complete relief then stop taking as the job is done! If you feel an improvement but have some symptoms left then continue taking for 2 more doses. And if you feel your symptoms coming back then re-take the remedy. If there is no change to your symptoms at all then try the next remedy that is closest to your symptoms. 

Top tips to stay in the STUDY zone

  • FLOWER ESSENCES – These can help put you in a state of calm and clarity to either relax ater over studying, to unwind and reduce nerves or to bring focus and concentration. Bach flower ‘Rescue Remedy’ is available to buy from most health food stores, pharmacies, supermarkets and online stores now so super accessible, it is an all round calming affect when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Choose how you like to take it, from sprays, to liquid to pastilles. Australian Bush Flower essences is also great – their Calm and Clear, Emergency Essence, Cognis and Focus essence are just a few that they have that will help you lower your nerves and focus on studying and exam prowess! No nasties in these, just great natural flower blends to help you achieve your goals. 
  • BREAK AWAY – looking at books or screens for too long can cause eye strain, headaches, lethargy. Taking a step away from the room/books/computer even for 5 minutes to readjust your eyes, hydrate and take in different scenery can help you re-focus when you return to your work. 
  • FRESH AIR – just taking a breath of fresh air can get the mental cobwebs away and give our brains a refresh. Taking in the sounds and colours of nature can help calm our nervous system down so we can get back to focus.
  • MOVEMENT– whether you go to the gym or prefer walks in nature, making sure you move your body will help concentration by bringing energy to your cells. Regular stretching and deep breathing can help too. 
  • FOOD/SNACKS – eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy protein and fats will nourish your body and brain to keep your blood sugar balanced to avoid feeling tired, increasingly lethargic and irritable, allowing you to be in the right zone for studying. Snack on nuts and seeds rather than sugary or processed snacks to maintain a balanced blood sugar. Avoid consuming too many stimulants like alcohol, caffeine or sugars, they may seem to help you power through but this benefit is short lived and then results in a crash of blood sugar, leaving us more anxious and jittery about exams and our studying. 
  • HYDRATION – drink lots of water and mix it up by adding in herbal teas that calm and relax or help concentration. 
  • MAGNESIUM & ZINC – these are depleted/used up by the body rapidly during times of stress yet they both have been shown to lower anxiety so we need to add more in! Take a high quality supplement or eat foods rich in these critical minerals – Magnesium rich foods include avocado, nuts, dark leafy greens, legumes and dark chocolate.  Zinc rich foods include eggs, cashew nuts and legumes. An Epsom salt bath is a great way of both allowing magnesium to be absorbed through the skin and a nice way to relax. 
  • SLEEP– the easiest answer may seem to stay up half the night to cram in more study time, however this is going to affect your performance the next day and the lack of sleep will lower your immune response leaving you more prone to pick up a virus….a virus will definitely get in the way of studying so best to be strict on your sleep routine. For more information on good Sleep practices and remedies to help you nod off even when you have too much on your mind then please see my blog here.
  • AROMATHERAPY OILS –Add Basil, Rosemary and Lemon oils in a diffuser/burner to help with focus and concentration. Add Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium to help with frazzled, overworked and overwhelmed nerves. 
  • Also, unfortunately Hay fever season coincides with the exam season which can add in more challenges to contend with. If you or your child is suffering with Hay fever then please see here for tips on how to help yourself at home

I’ve focused a lot on exam stress here but these remedies are also great for any event, presentation, interview, show, interview – anything where you are expected to perform. They can be used for similar feelings arising even where the situation is different.

That’s it for now, wishing you and your families a calm and stress free exam season. As always, if you’d like individualised care to help you or your teen then please contact me for a 15 minute free discovery call to discuss.

Cheryl x