The Art and Techniques of Managing Test Anxiety
In recent years many holistic, alternative, and eastern healing pathways have gone mainstream in our secular society demonstrating that some of the techniques known to mankind for 5,000 years within the context of Yoga, Ayurveda Medicine, Chinese Medicine, and Buddhist traditions, are indeed a significant benefit to people of all ages, genders, belief systems, and cultures, unifying the universal human task of struggling to manage juggling the multi-tasking demands of daily life and stressful events.
In this article, we will be presenting quite succinctly, a brief outline and application of some of these exercise modalities to manage events that frequently students encounter, such as a sudden onset of significant test anxiety resulting in performance that is short of the student’s knowledge base and potential.
The purpose of this article is to assist students through my classroom experience. I have received additional training in the wellness industry alongside my traditional medical background. I also have had firsthand knowledge of performance anxiety many moons ago, having been a competitive athlete, as well as experiencing the rigors of medical school training with additional three years of residency.
Most students exhibit signs of having successfully completed the task of putting in the study time, and the knowledge base, but like my experience as a competitive gymnast, the fear of “psyching myself out” takes over and a complete domino effect in the form of a meltdown occurs. First reaction is the body response, then the mind racing and consequently shutting down, followed by the inner drive and spirit broken and dejected leaving one with bad feelings and judgments on the loss of self-control and self-empowerment. Sounds familiar? Let us stop this cycle!
The new Mind-Body paradigm is alive and flourishing not only in the integrative medicine arena, but also within more conservative faith based institutions of healing that often works with the secular and traditional Allopathic western medicine models which serve our country’s health care needs.
The three methods that can be found in Yoga will be discussed in this article:
Physical exercises, Breathing Techniques, Meditation and Affirmation (also known as mantras).
Here are some easy Mindfulness steps to follow before pursuing the three methods taught in Yoga:
Here is the method to counteract and reverse the negative applications of the above three observations: Awareness, Listening, and Feeling through an anxiety event, and reversing it into a positive expansive mind. Null the effects of the negative protective mind with Body Breath and Meditation.
The benefits of the classic three methods of stress management and test anxiety are too numerous to list here. I will mention the physiological and psychological benefits of the magical three components Body Exercise, Breathe Work and Meditation as the recipe for conquering negative self-talk anxiety and stress.
Body movement release physical tension built up in the muscles and also balances the internal energy system known in in Acupuncture as the Meridian system. Doing one of the above mentioned techniques of meridian point tapping through emotional freedom technique is very much acupressure vs. acupuncture with needles. (See EFT explanation and technique).
Breathe work applies the physical forces of muscles like the rectus abdominis, external/internal oblique and transverse abdominis to increase the blood volume through the venous system back to the heart.
The lower extremity muscle pump such as the gastrocnemius-soleus complex also works in much the same way, increasing blood volume and thereby reducing peripheral resistance. The diaphragm also does this thereby improving blood volume and decreasing ventricular residual volume, decreasing peripheral resistance, and reducing blood pressure simply through deep breathing and physical movement of muscles.
Breath work shuts down the sympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system “fight or flight” released during anxiety, in turn it activates the parasympathetic nervous system and the “relaxation response” which in turn releases endorphins and shuts down the “stress loop” activating the state of calmness, while simultaneously stimulating the cardio inhibitory response in the respiratory center such as medulla and the cortex of a brain releasing responding with interpretation and judgment of a peaceful state.
Meditation also turns on the parasympathetic nervous system inducing a relaxed state that leads us from alert states of Beta brain wave patterns measured on ECG, to alpha and theta brain wave patterns seen in deep meditation where time and sense of self is lost in a very peaceful but awakened state.
We can heighten our sense of peace, life fulfillment, affirmations, learning capacity, and concentration all through meditation that leads to alpha waves. This can be easily achieved through light mental visualization done through guided meditation.
Theta brain waves can be induced in deep meditation and light sleep. This is where one can experience the “peace that surpasses all understanding” pure bliss, religious experiences, profound insight, great inspiration, and the unity of the “self” with the “Higher Self”. It may also be interpreted as unity with the Divine Source of All that is was and ever shall be.
In the end, we start our journey to reduce stress and anxieties such as test taking by initially addressing the physical, eventually like Alice in Wonderland, we fall down the rabbit hole finding ourselves delving into the metaphysical aspects of humanity that unify all of us through Philosophy, Ritual, and Religions, all seeking to understand that Peace and the little “Kingdom Of Heaven Within Us All” with our true selves facing the source of it all in the universe: controlling and wielding the energy, bringing back balance or homeostasis.
May the Force be with you!
Dr. Dacia Milescu DPM FACFAS RYT
Associate Professor General Education-Science
Founder/Owner/Yoga Teacher at Serenity Now Yoga Holistic Health & Wellness Center
Ph.D student in Holistic Life Counseling and Metaphysics
A chant to release negativity. Repeat the chant after smudging with sage and in a warm salt bath light a white candle and perhaps an object from nature, a special crystal, or a corresponding deity image of your choice.
1. Begin by imagining and manifesting a glowing white light around your skin, and then see it expand out into your aura. Repeat as you look into the light and intuitively stop only when the body mind and spirit feels free lighter and pain free.
" I see only pu...re reflected light.
I am ridding all bad luck and negative energy
O Blessed Be"
Suggested crystals: Jet, Black Tourmaline, Rainbow Obsidian, Smoky Quartz, Hematite. All clear negative energy and protect from less then desirable negative vibes.
Sharing with you my most personal thoughts. My homework assignment for Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training! I hope you all enjoy it and feel free to ask me any questions and send me insight. I created this forum as a safe space of discussing all things spiritual!
A short Essay on the journey in my Kundalini Training HW for January Saturday 1/18/14 weekend training
Before starting my Kundalini training, I already had pretty established spiritual practice. The journey was for me unchartered territory. I had chosen from 2010 until now, exactly 4 years later to start exploring diverse spiritual paths with my home base religion: Orthodox Christianity, an already very old Eastern European Christian tradition embedded in symbolism, meditation, and ritual. I never was indoctrinated to fear meditation, and as such I was encouraged to seek a personal "mystical" experience with the Divine. I am not from a fundamental Christian Protestant background from which most Americans derive from. I had an open mind and open heart to esoteric and occult mystical practices. After all Mircea Eliade was my inspiration, a noted famous Romanian Historian who did extensive studies and a thesis on Yoga, Shamanism, Spirituality and animism and polytheistic non-duality thought.
I did my Integral Influence Hatha Teacher Training as guided by the Founder and Father of Integral Yoga Swami Satchidananda. I studied and practiced Yoga and taught it very intensely from 2008-2012. I opened Serenity Now Yoga Holistic Health and Wellness Center four years ago 1/11/10.
My medical practice floundering, physical injuries from overworking, too much yoga teaching, family life, running a business, and needing a solid form of income took me away from teaching 12 classes per week down to only 2-3 by 2012. Eventually by the end of 2013 I was teaching 2.
So in 2013.....this was my opportune time to seek another path with the Yoga traditions.
I sought Raja Yoga the royal path, the householders Yoga, known to be Kundalini Yoga.
Prior to this since 2010, I was floundering in a sea of vast information having sought formal studies with the University of Metaphysical Sciences in which I am currently enrolled and earning very slowly my Ph.D in Metaphysical Science. The courses and tests I took involved all facets within New Age Spirituality, Hindu, Yoga, Buddhist, Zen, Pagan, Shamanism, and Celtic Wiccan spiritual paths, and even more recently studying the Pre-Christian Polytheistic animistic Pagan traditions of the Dacian Tribe the land of my ancestors who were named the "wolf warriors" and succumbed to Rome.... the land mass by the Black Sea called Romania.
I am fascinated to learn Kundalini Yoga which is ancient and unaltered. This is what I respect. Too many traditions and spiritual practices have become a mixed bag and make up as you go along type of practice that is less effective. Tradition and proven technology is essential.
I am as much an observer as well as a practitioner, so I often find myself watching the practice and then visualizing it, followed by actual physical practice which can be grueling for me due to my hectic work and family life schedule.
In essence, I learning a million ways to seek self realization. I had already chosen a spiritual name appropriate to honoring my ancestors and ironically chosen 3 months before starting Kundalini Yoga Teacher Training. It was based on the birth chart within the Old Ways of the "Craft" along the EuroPagan Shamanistic Path.
Going back to how I got to the present and where I am now within my spiritual and physical training of yoga.
While I was practicing Yoga, back in 2010, I also sought certification through Reiki up to level 2 and further trained in energy medicine within the field of Pranic Healing. This is now an intricate part of my practice: Yoga, Reiki, Meditation, Ritual circle casting and creating sacred space for prayer, healing, divination, and Magick- the art of energy raising and intentional manifestation through chanting sacred names and ritual.
All paths lead to the same mountain. Union with the Divine, and within the Divine spark found within our soul. We are all children of the Light, if we choose the light, and so I feel that Kundalini Yoga has shed light on the best path to seek for self realization, health, and vitality within the body mind and soul.
Results of this training are quite visible. I am more grounded, more focused, more clear on what path to take, and where I want to go within myself and within this life as valid goals within the realms of spiritual growth. Even with doing less Hatha Yoga, I now have a stronger core and have cleared a lot of negativity within my sacral and power chakra. The kundalini energy was releasing by the end of the year, therefore some past pain and trauma going back to even childhood was exposed as an open scab.... this lead me to seek Reiki, and counseling privately by the end of December 2013.
Because of my physical injuries, I only practice Hatha Yoga once a week and seek a kriya that is new each week. I do the kriya and experiment. I choose to continue to study and practice Kundalini Yoga. I choose to seek the academic path and eventually become a teacher trainer very much part time for enjoyment and sharing my knowledge in all things spiritual including teaching and training for Kundalini Yoga teacher trainings. I no longer wish to teach group classes in a yoga center. The training has giving me insight as to what I do want to do the next 10 years.
1. Earn Ph.D Metaphysical Counseling and become a Spiritual Life Counselor in my own private practice.
2. Continue to grow my private practice of private clients only interested in medical yoga therapy, Kundalini Yoga and Energy Medicine.
3. Go on Yoga retreats and travel the world by 2018.
4. Continue in Academia as Professor of Science
5. Eventually retire and write a book for Integrative Medicine to include Eastern and Western holistic practice which will include and honor all spiritual paths including all forms of yoga outlined and historically researched.
This book shall be available to medical doctors which will provide them the vast knowledge that I have personally compiled over the last 12 years.
I am hoping that Kundalini Yoga will become part of my daily ritual, but not to the point of excluding other paths and being like religions: rigid. I dislike anything that forces the river and becoming dogmatic to the point in which divining and worshipping a master and no other is the one "true" path to self realization. I love reading about Yogananda and Satchidananda....no human as elevated as they have become should ever be worshipped as a god or having a supernatural presence over one's life.
There are many masters including Yogi Bhajan, and many other prophets that have all given a treasure so to speak: a little ounce of truth of the Divine Peace that surpasses all understanding.
"I am I am" is my mantra I am using. The 4 am meditation is getting easier. I keep starting over since I do work late some nights. I am still on Sa Ta Na Ma. But that is ok. I go at my own pace and have learned to take things at my own pace all in resonance with Divine timing.
Dacia Milescu B.A. Bio, D.P.M. RYT
Associate Professor- Herzing University
General Education: Anatomy & Physiology
Serenity Now Yoga