Almost three lakh students from disparate backgrounds, fields of education and age groups will appear for CAT 2009, and the only similarity is the stress factor that devours the mind. With the CAT merely three weeks away, it is less about preparation and more about revision and confidence-building exercises that will help break free from the shackles of stress.
Stress could be about performance, output, input, fulfillment of targets and meeting an unknown set of benchmarks. Stress is natural, yet it needs to be dealt and that is the art and science of stress management. All students must remember one important point -- regardless of how thorough your preparations are, if you have no confidence and have fallen easy prey to stress, it will lead to fumbles and mistakes. What you need to do is revise, remain confident and stay composed so that you don't lose focus.
Stress is in no way is proportional to the standard of performers. Sometimes even star performers buckle under pressure. Despite meticulous preparations students may be unable to deliver their best on the day. Reasons can be as silly as an unfavourable environment or as serious as a breakdown due to fatigue and pressure of preparations. And with the change in format this year, it is understandable that students will be more apprehensive.
The golden advice here is: Don't give in to any such reason, just concentrate, retain confidence and try to stay focussed.
An integral part of CAT is staying motivated, so as to battle against the mammoth stress factor. Beating stress and staying motivated go hand in hand. So some simple and effective steps to stay motivated and bust CAT stress are:
Avoid unnecessary stress
- Avoid people who stress you out
- Avoid hot-button topics
- Pare down your to-do list to only the most important activities
- Prepare well and don't look into others' preparations
Believe in being consistently positive about what's to arrive
- Remember past successes
- Realise possibilities
- Expect more out of yourself
- Get specific about your aims
- Allow yourself valuable introspection
Adapt to the stressor
If you can't change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude. Some of the simple things that you can do are:
- Reframe problems
- Look at the big picture
- Share your views
- Use a timeline to begin, and not just deadlines to meet
- Set aside at least 30 minutes each night to review your day and plan for the next
- Measure your progress
Involve yourself in light but meaningful activities
- Share your feelings with family or friends
- Be joyful and try to concentrate
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Spend quality time with dear ones
- Relax your senses with yoga
- Get sufficient sleep
Last but never the least: everyone needs a day off
Sometimes the best way to stay motivated, to achieve your goal is to take a break. When things don't seem to be going your way or you simply feel exhausted, put your goal out of your mind until the next day. Take a walk, a drive, or just sit and relax. This short break will allow you to return to the project with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
The writer is founder chairman, PT Universe.