The Exam Season #1 Connect with Nature

This series started as A Parents’ Guide to the Exam Season. By popular demand, I am now addressing students directly; parents and guardians may still learn how best they can support teens and young adults from this series.

I am a Solution Focused Hypnotherapist, Solution Focused Brief Therapist, NLP Practitioner and a qualified KS2/3 teacher. These tips are based on the neuroscience of learning and anxiety management.


Yes. Connecting with nature to reduce stress does sound obvious and you really don’t need to be told that getting out in the country is good for your health. We all know that connecting with nature has a huge impact on our wellbeing.

But when you are in the midst of heavy duty revising getting out into the countryside might be a bit of a challenge. But it is common sense.

Just a short walk outside, maybe to the local shops, biking through the woods or even hanging out in a garden will help ease anxiety and help you to feel more grounded and at peace.

You may be able to combine socialising with friends and family with being out in the country, a park or a green space. That may mean you need to help create the opportunities.

Walking and sitting outdoors actively helps you relax and helps you to absorb more facts and formulae.

And the good thing about the exam season is the weather improves, so you can revise outside, with or without friends. Learning quotes, the periodic table, key facts and formulae can be done on your own or with friend anywhere. So make revising fun, relaxing and memorable in all sorts of outdoor places: parks, fields, public gardens or even a balcony. Being in an unusual place will embed the learning, and the more pleasant and relaxing that place is, the more relaxed you will be in the exam hall when you need to recall the information. As you remember the place where you studied, you will more easily recall what you learnt in that place.

Some of you will be in sports teams and don’t need encouraging to take part in exercise. Others of you may be a little reluctant. But we know exercise has a positive effect on our wellbeing in so many ways, including reducing stress.

If you are less sporty, or naturally studious, you might find other ways to keep moving whether that’s yoga, swimming or that relaxed stroll in the countryside.

Many university students will be in study leave now, or still at school. When and if you are at home, arrange a time with friends and family to take a walk, hike or ramble every few days. You needn’t go out for long periods. Half an hour to an hour a day outside, in one capacity or another, will really help you unwind and let go, and help those feel-good endorphins and serotonin kick in, easing stress and anxiety. And it will give you time to assimilate what you have learnt and embed it.

Even putting plants and flowers in study rooms, or oil diffusers with smells like lavender and sandalwood can help soothe nerves, and even act as triggers for learning. A quick whiff of sandalwood before the exam can help you retrieve the learning associated with the smell – our most evocative sense.

So make as many opportunities as you can to get outdoors - alone, with friends or with family.


A considerable percentage of my clients are teenagers and young adults and I know that easing anxiety is not always as easy as a walk in the park!

I have developed my six week one-on-one courses (6 for the price of 5) focusing on managing and reducing anxiety through the exam season. I can also offer one off relaxation sessions, Solution Focused Brief Therapy and Hypnotherapy, NLP and study skills sessions at The Wellbeing Clinic, Headington. Student rates are £45 an hour.

My first consulation is always free, so if you are suffering from anxiety, during the exam season or in general, I can help. The results with your young plastic minds can be dramatic!

I am now offering Skype sessions within normal UK hours on Mondays and Thursdays, or by arrangement, and I work out of the The Wellbeing Clinic in Headington on Wednesdays. I also have a Clinic, by arrangement, in Wheatley, Oxford.



Jane Pendry