Our brains only process positives.  If I tell you, "Don't think about pink elephants" immediately you think of pink elephants.  If I tell a young baseball player to lay off the high pitches, he will swing at the next high pitch.  The brain is now focused on high pitches.  
Performance Stress
Have you ever watched a player shooting free throws with the game on the line?  There is pressure...and pressure can make your muscles tighten.  How many times have you seen someone shoot and not even hit the rim because their muscles became so tight?  
Some deal with the stress by mentally focusing on a routine.  Bending one's knees helps loosen tightening muscles as does stretching and/or taking deep breaths.  Success depends on being able to calm and focus your conscious mind so that the unconscious can do what it has done successfully many times, without the restriction of thinking too much.

The Unconscious
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Body/Mind Connection

Many understand that negative thoughts can affect our mood and consequently how we carry our bodies.  But did you know that how you carry your body can affect your mood?  Feeling down?  Force yourself to smile! See how it makes you feel...
Feeling a lack of confidence? Notice your body language and posture, the position of your head.  Now change it.  Hold your head up high, eyes straight ahead, shoulders back, chest out. 
Change your state, change your results... 
Mental Toughness 
This is one of the great sports cliche's.  Top performance is achieved when one is able to be completely present.  A top athlete may block negative thoughts, pump himself up with positive thoughts or simply breathe deeply to distract himself from thoughts and outside distractions.  He is focused.  He is beyond thoughts. His muscles are oxygenated and flexible and his body responds by instinct.  This is a ready state, ready for success.  It should be called Mental Readiness!
Test Anxiety 
Some people prepare well for an exam, but at the exam, get so nervous that they do poorly.  What is at work here?  
Our fears of not doing well or focusing on the consequences of not passing, triggers our fight/flight mechanism.  This function is governed by our primitive part of the brain called the reptilian brain.
Our frontal lobes are responsible for our "working memory" (what we are currently working on and studying).  
By stressing out, our reptilian brain takes over and greatly reduces the blood flow to other parts of our brain, especially our frontal lobes. This puts us in a mode of preparing to fight or run and restricts access to the information we have gathered and stored in our frontal lobes. So despite all that studying and learning, our fear state limits our access to all that information.  

We have all had the experience of trying to remember something that seems right at the front of our brain, but we just can't seem to remember what it was.  The harder we try to remember, the more blocked we feel.  Then when we give up and move on to other things, suddenly the piece of information comes to us.  

Well when we relax, the Reptilian part of our brain once again allows normal blood flow to the other parts of our brain.  The part of the brain storing the information you were after is now up and running again, so it can provide you access to the information.

So for better test taking:
1. Relax!  Because you have studied, the information is in you.  Trust your ability.
2. Get good rest the night before the exam. Having a rested brain is more important than trying to cram additional facts in your head the last minute.  It won't do you any good if you can't access the information in your brain.
3. Eat some protein before the exam, so you are not dealing with a drop in blood sugar during the exam. 
4. Remember to breathe!  Not only will it relax you but it will help oxygenate your brain!
5. Drink water...it will help you stay alert and helps good blood flow.
6. Have fun!  Testing is a part of the learning process.  It helps you to become a master of your area of expertise!

Hypnosis and Visualization can greatly assist you by helping you relax and by freeing you from previous negative test taking patterns and associations that have developed.  

Leave doubts behind. 
Take on new challenges with confidence!

Contact me to learn self-hypnosis!
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