Overcome Anxiety, Increasing exam results, and helping wellbeing 

Stress is something that even as adults we can find hard to get a handle on

For young learners at school, stress can become overwhelming. With exams and tests often looming. New subjects to tackle and huge quantities of content to learn and that’s before we even consider navigating life at school as a whole to deal with. It’s easy to see how stress can start to slip in and affect any learner. Here at Performance Learning we have been helping learners to overcome overwhelm and teaching them the tools they need to strive on their academic journey.

What Can We Do?

Stress and overwhelm are things that we can all be equipped with the tools to deal with. There are a number of physical and mental processes that we can implement to help us be in control of our stress and make sure it doesn’t overwhelm us.

Let’s take Nikita and her journey with Performance Learning as an example. Nikita was doing really well academically, she was self-motivated, keen to learn and get on with her studies. But she would often feel overwhelmed. Her parents spotted this and provided some techniques that would help for a short period of time but then, the overwhelm would creep back in again. Her parents were understandably concerned especially as each year at school was going to get harder and more intense for her. They wanted to find a solution that would make sure Nikita wasn’t thrown off her academic course by not being able to manage this feeling of being overwhelmed.

So, with the help of Performance Learning Nikita started her journey to learn the tools to identify and tackle her feelings of overwhelm. As a first step, we taught Nikita to recognise how emotions were affecting her learning.

How do we do it?

Nikita needed to identify her emotions, but, before we could start this process, we needed to teach her a little about the science behind stress, anxiety and overwhelm to help her understand the process of what happens at that moment.

Once Nikita understood what was happening when she was feeling overwhelmed, the next step was for Nikita to start to identify her emotions – both the positive ones and the negative ones. Thinking about being in school and school work, we asked Nikita to answer a series of questions that gave her the opportunity to self reflect, the questions had no wrong or right answers leaving Nikita open to really understanding what the questions meant to her. First, we looked at positive emotions, then negative emotions.

Positive emotions
What is happiness, what does it mean to be happy?
What does it mean to be proud?
What does it mean to ‘love’ a subject or an activity?
What is gratitude?
What is intelligence and what does it mean?
Negative Emotions
What does anxiety mean?
What does panic mean?
What is stress, what does it mean to be stressed?
What is anger, what does it mean to be angry?
Identifying the emotions that Nikita was feeling was a huge step and it can be a challenging one. It was really important during this process that we made sure we took the time to go through the answers and start to really understand what they meant to Nikita. We also looked at different situations when these emotions were felt in school and at home.
When do I feel really happy in school?
When do I feel really calm and relaxed in school?
When do I feel really clever and smart in school?
When do I feel nervous or anxious in school?
When do I feel tired in school?
After talking through the answers together, the next step was to identify Trigger Points
Trigger points are a series of things or events that have to happen in order for you to feel a certain emotion. At times, trigger points can either make us feel really good about ourselves or make us feel really bad. More often than not, we are not in control of how we react to our trigger points although with the tools to identify them we can manage them.

Using this information Nikita moved on to understanding what her own trigger points were through answering a series of questions. During this step, the process of writing down her answers was really important as it gave her a moment to pause and really think about her answers.

Keeping positive
Now that Nikita could identify her own positive and negative emotions and she was able to see what her emotional triggers were, she needed a way to make sure she was able to stay positive and stay in control of them. Let’s move on to the final step in the process, in this step we introduced Nikita to her Power Emotions and her Powerless Emotions.

What do we mean by Power Emotions? These are the emotions that make us feel strong. What do we mean by Powerless Emotions? These are the emotions that we tend to not like feeling and often stop us from performing at our best.

With this knowledge, we asked Nikita to write down her Power Emotions and her Powerless Emotions and identify what they manifested as, what they were triggered by and importantly what action she could take to control them.

The Results

Through understanding the impact of emotions on her learning and identifying her own negative and positive emotions as well as the triggers they generated, Nikita was able to learn how she could take control and have a clear plan for what to do whenever something arose that initiated a trigger emotion.

After working with Performance Learning Nikitas parents have found that she has become able to conduct herself and situations she is faced with more calmly. At the end of the day, there is no disruption caused by emotional fluctuation and anxiety. Anxieties that were once internalised have been identified and Nikita has the tools to manage them herself.

To find out more, listen here: