Do you remember with horror school formulas and equations? You are not alone – even the famous popularize of mathematical knowledge suffered from a similar phobia.
Each of us has experienced a feeling of anxiety, the symptoms of which can often cause unpleasant physical sensations. Anxiety before an important event in life, such as a math exam, is normal. But it is also important to be able to cope with this state and take timely measures so that it does not develop into fear or even panic that overshadows the mind.
In this write-up, we explain in detail the simple steps of dealing with math anxiety. So, let’s get started!
Table of Content:
- What is Mathematics Anxiety?
- What Not To Do In Case of Anxiety?
- How to Psychologically Prepare Yourself for the Exam?
- Advice for Teachers and Parents
What is Mathematics Anxiety?
Mathematical anxiety is a condition in which anxiety symptoms appear exclusively in mathematics. It occurs when children and adults begin to work with numerical information and its processing. It manifests itself as a feeling of fear, discomfort, anxiety, and an inability to think while completing math tasks, from solving problems and equations to counting change in the store.
Anxiety is an undefined source of danger. When we are anxious, we exaggerate, it seems to us that everything will be bad and there will be no opportunity to change the situation. It is important to understand what is hidden behind anxiety, what are you really afraid of?
It can be fear of punishment, judgment, loneliness, etc. Admitting your fear is already a big step towards healing anxiety!
That’s why it’s important to understand exactly what’s going on with you, and how you can handle it. We give some valuable tips in this guide on how to cope with anxiety in mathematics
What Not To Do In Case of Anxiety?
- Ignore anxiety.
- Avoid your feelings.
- Hide anxiety from loved ones.
- Be self-confident.
- Let everything take its course.
- Scold, blame the source of anxiety (exam, parents, teachers, etc.).
- Introduce yourself to even more stress (not eating, not sleeping, not relaxing).
- To indulge in all heavy addictions – alcohol, overeating, long sleep, games, TV shows, etc.
How to Psychologically Prepare Yourself for the Exam?
- Admit to yourself honestly that you feel anxiety and fear, that you are afraid.
- Turn uncertainty into certainty. Find fears within yourself and acknowledge it.
- Act in Advance: Live in advance your experiences of failure, reveal fear. Prepare yourself and your body for the exam.
- To Plan: Identify frightening scenarios in advance and come up with a real plan of action for each.
- To do everything that can really be influenced. And to accept what is impossible to influence.
- Keep in touch with reality, ground. Anxiety and fears take us to virtual reality in our head. It is important to learn how to ground, connect with the body.
- Include Critical Thinking: It is important to learn to ask yourself the right questions and remove illusions. Strong anxiety can only be at the moment of a real threat to life! Everything else is an illusion, not true. The exam itself is not a threat to life.
- Relax: Any anxiety is a tension of the whole organism. Mobilization is needed at the moment, and to strain in advance and expose yourself to stress is to weaken yourself and your psyche, to incapacitate yourself in advance. Learn to relax your body first.
- Find someone who will listen to your worries and fears without judgment – someone you trust.
- Build new neural circuits. Create an exam-like environment for yourself.
Advice for Teachers and Parents
The thing parents can do is to help the child separate school mathematics and attitudes towards it and attitude towards mathematics in general. The school curriculum is often designed in such a way that some children are easy in math lessons, while others get bored and find it difficult. Children in elementary school often get used to the fact that mathematics is the art of telepathy, the ability to guess the correct answer by the teacher’s face.
Many programs are designed in such a way that adults do not always understand what the author of the textbook wanted. Mathematics at school often comes down to tons of boring tasks of the same type, endless columns of examples, memorizing, writing with numbers.
During this period, heart support for your children and students is very important, helping in dispelling illusions, relieving pressure and tension. Surround them with care. Seeing and feeling your confidence, children will feel more confident too. Show that your love doesn’t depend on passing the exam!
What is important to do for yourself after the exam (regardless of its result):
- Thank yourself!
- Give rest to the mind and body (sleep, distraction).
- Analyze the experience (what worked, what didn’t).
- Anchor the completed stage (this is over, behind!).
- Do not scold for unwanted results;
In the fight against anxiety, it is important to take into account its nature, reasons and type. Along with this, personality traits and the capabilities of the environment play an important role.
Please remember the main principle of anxiety. The more you worry, the more the quality of the activity suffers. From this, anxiety develops even more. Yes, it’s a vicious circle. It literally needs to be torn apart.