A few months ago, my very confident son came to me and told me that he was feeling really panicky. I was quite shocked. He was always so self- assured. When I asked him some questions about what was going on, it came out that he was starting to stress about his Christmas Exams. He could not imagine performing well in all 7 exam subjects that he would be tested on, and he was putting himself under pressure.
I was completely taken aback. It was early November and at that point he had always done well in school. In fact, school came quite easily for him. He was genuinely curious, interested and engaged. So, to be stressing out 6 weeks in advance over tests that only contributed 20% to his final mark seemed to me to be illogical. However, it was very real for him and he was feeling overwhelmed.
As a mindfulness teacher, I was able to spend some time exploring his moment to moment experience with him and really encourage him to take one day at a time in his preparations for what felt like to him as a 7 subject assault. We also practiced mindful breathing techniques and I encouraged him to use my meditation space as much as he felt called to.
I am happy to say that together we got through THIS exam period in one piece.
However, not everyone has a mother who is trained in mindfulness. And if my son, who is generally a confident student, is struggling, how many others are grappling with this stress?
Thankfully, our very own member, Heather Mackenzie, who is enrolled in the Msc in Mindfulness Studies PhD program at the University of Aberdeen, which is run in conjunction with the Mindfulness Association, is currently working on research and developing a version of our Mindfulness Based Living Course (MBLC) for Secondary school students. It is exciting times…and there is much to be hopeful for!
Watch this space, as we will also be offering a training to teach this MBLC for Secondary students!
In the meantime, have a look at this inspirational BBC report of how students from Connaught school took measures into their own hands at testing and implementing mindfulness and meditation into their exam time chaos!