Woman demonstrating yoga to promote mindfulness

Managing Exam Anxiety, Stress and Panic Through Meditation

We all encounter stress at various ages and stages of our lives, and as we can’t always avoid these stresses, it’s important to know how to manage our reaction to them. In this article, our latest guest blogger, Peter Karinsson, of Karinsson Holistics, explains how changing your breathing pattern during meditation can help you to relax and manage stress levels during the exam season.

meditation expert Peter Karinsson

“Breathing is all it takes…”

by Peter Karinsson

Suffering from exam anxiety, stress and panic? You are not alone – there are thousands of pupils and students (as well as parents and teachers) out there experiencing exactly the same thing as you are now.


Your mind goes blank when you look at the revision content. You wonder if it’s the same course work you’ve been studying these past few months. You begin to lose the power of speech in that you forget words and sometimes you don’t make sense at all. You start to feel hyper and either want to run away from it all or begin to feel aggressive. You break out into a sweat, your heart begins to race and your breathing is shallow. It’s the breathing that’s important here. Why?

As you feel more stress, your body gears itself up to protect itself. It’s a reaction that dates back to when humans first began to roam the earth. The body will start to demand more oxygen for its muscles so you’re ready either to face and fight the danger or to run away as fast as you can. This means it’ll start to reduce oxygen to non-essential organs and focus on muscle. The upper brain is a non-essential organ, and as the oxygen depletes it begins to shut down until the danger is over. That’s why, when you experience stress, you can’t think clearly. Not ideal if you’ve study or exams to do!


One solution to manage stress is through meditation. The word “meditation” comes from the Latin word “meditare” which means “to ponder”.  Meditation has been used by people around the world since around 1500 B.C. and is now a commonly accepted practice.


Those who practise meditation have been shown to benefit from a significant decrease in: heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen consumption and muscle tension.

It also generates a sense of calmness and peacefulness, greater clarity of thought, better sleeping pattern and feelings of increased motivation.

Meditation can help us to achieve balance both mentally and physically, and it is now routinely used to treat a range of conditions which include, depression, stress and anxiety, anger management and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as sleep disorders, self-esteem and a range of mental and emotional issues. It is also widely used to assist us in controlling and reducing addictions to smoking, drugs and alcohol, and to reduce blood pressure.

girl sitting meditating outside

There are a wide range of methods of meditation. Some involve silence, others music. Some are guided in that someone will talk you through the process each time, whereas others need you to sit in silence. Experiment with different meditation methods until you find the best one for you.

You don’t have to meditate for hours on end, by yourself up a mountain chanting “Ohmmmm”. Spending 15 minutes meditating each day can bring huge rewards.

I’ve included some mp3s and other resources for you here to help get you started: Meditation resources.


Find somewhere that you will not be disturbed for 15–20 minutes. Sit or lie down and get yourself comfortable. Sitting may be better, as you may fall asleep lying down. Close your eyes and take in a deep breath through your nose. Exhale by blowing hard through your mouth. From now on, silently in your head say the word ‘breathe’ on the inhale and exhale. Repeat five or six times.

You will begin to feel calmer at this time. You will find thoughts coming to mind – let them pass and concentrate on ‘breathe’. Now take another deep breath and, as you do, count to six and then hold your breath for a count of three. Then breathe out for a count of seven and hold for a count of three. Do this eight to nine times. Then let your breathing find its own pace. Continue to use the word ‘breathe’ until the end of the meditation. You can continue for longer if you wish.

If you are short on time, or need to relax quickly before an exam, presentation, interview, etc. then simply close your eyes and take several deep breaths, remembering to say the word ‘breathe’ internally. Do this for five minutes if you can.


If you need more information or want to discuss further options on managing stress and anxiety, please email Peter Karinsson of Karinsson Holistics on peter@karinsson.com or phone him on 07881598671. Peter is a qualified holistic practitioner with many years of experience of helping people deal with a range of issues. Please visit www.karinsson.com to find out more about his work.



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