Test Anxiety

Dr. Amy Saltzman, a holistic physician and mindfulness expert, teaches students about something called “the Still Quiet Place.” This place can be found in the natural pause between breathing in and breathing out and may feel like a “warm smile in your body”(31). Saltzman says,

“The best thing about your Still Quiet Place is that it’s always inside you. And you can visit it whenever you like, just by paying attention to your breath. It is nice to visit your Still Quiet Place and feel the love that is there.

This is such an empowering thought. No matter what is going on around you, you are in control of your breath and you can access this calm comfort whenever you want.

Can you find it? Breathe in. Right before you breath out, do you notice the still, quiet place? When you find it, see if you can watch your thoughts come and go without judging them.

Many people use breathing and body awareness to help with test anxiety . When you are taking a test and feel the anxiety building, close your eyes, take a deep breath, find the peace and calm within you and then refocus on the question. This doesn’t mean that the anxiety will disappear, but it may help you unfreeze and finish the test to the best of your abilities.

Dr. Saltzman teaches children to use the acronym S.T.A.R. to remind themselves what to do in a test-taking situation.

“S is for stop. When you are face with a difficulty, like a question on the test that you don’t know the answer to, or any difficulty in life, stop.

T is for take a breath, usually, taking a few slow, deep breaths relaxes the mind and allows us to…

Accept.  is for accept. Accept that you’re having difficulty, that you don’t know the answer, and that you’re a bit stressed. (One third grader remembered the A as ‘All’s well’).

R is for restart or resume. When you’re ready, after you’ve taken some slow, deep breaths and accepted things, you can restart, trying the problem again or moving on to another problem (Saltzman 140-141).


Do you have any tests coming up this next week? Do you think you could try to find your quiet place and use the S.T.A.R. steps to help you during your test?

Practice finding your still, quiet place at night before you go to sleep.

Reference: A Still Quiet Place: A Mindfulness Program for Teaching Children and Adolescents to Ease Stress and Difficult Emotions. Amy Saltzman, MD

Author: Mini Gems for Kids

I live in Santa Barbara California with my husband and 3 kids. Reading is a favorite past-time and lifeline in my life. I feel giddy with excitement when I find valuable wisdom and inspiration in books. This is my space to share these life-changing lessons in bite-sized format for my kids. I believe with the right information, they can train their brains to think about life’s experiences in productive, positive and powerful ways.

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