I don’t know about you, but when I was knee deep in LSAT prep, I was chin deep in self-induced stress. I hope that you LSAT takers are calm and peachy, but coming from a few years of LSAT tutoring and many months of my own LSAT preparation, I know that’s probably and unfortunately not true.
Hindsight is twenty-twenty, but when I look back on it, I always wish I stopped and breathed a bit more. There’s always a point, and we all know it too well, where you hit a wall of understanding and you really can’t take any more information in. If you continue to try and push through that wall, you will see diminishing returns for way too much mental exertion. Those are the times you need to remove yourself from your study space and try out a stress reliving activity. If you can, get outside, catch some sun. Sunlight can really do wonders for a stressed out soul. I thought I’d help with a few suggestions of my own.
First, try out some simple yoga. Yoga helps you hone your breathing and meditation skills while incorporating light exercise. Through consistent practice it will also strengthen your resiliency to stress. You mean doing yoga can actually help me do better on the LSAT? Yep! So go on, grab a mat and start your sun salutations!
If yoga isn’t quite your jam, try hiking. Most of us know of some place around us where we could get a nice uphill climb in nature. Getting out of your stuffy study setting and surrounding yourself with nature is calming in itself. Combine that with light physical exertion and you have yourself a really easy and enjoyable way to relieve some built up stress.
Okay so this exercise thing really doesn’t strike a chord with you? Not a problem. Something my Dad always taught me was that a really great way to relive stress is to garden. I know it sounds odd, but planting a small garden or tending to an already existing garden gives you a sense of control that is calming. You help nurture the plants and not only will you feel a sense of peace during and after, but you have yourself a healthy organic option to nourish your studying mind and tummy!
There’s really something to the whole “control” thing. While I was studying, one thing that made me really stressed was a feeling of chaos I had with my studies. Even though I knew I was doing everything in my power to get a good score on the LSAT, there was an ebbing fear in me that I just didn’t have control. First, that thought is wrong. Sure, to a point you may not have 100% control of your score due to variables outside your physical and mental limits, BUT this exam is controlled through practice and THAT is in your control. Second, I know that sometimes when you’re in an LSAT sweaty panic, even real world logic may not get through. So, a sure-fire way I’ve learned to control stress of feeling like the things around me are chaotic is baking. It sounds weird, but baking is a science. It is very, very precise. You must follow a list of rules and if you follow them exactly you will end up with a really yummy sugary treat! It’s a win-win. You gain a sense of control through following a set structure and you get your endorphin rush through eating a deliciously sugar rich dessert!
Don’t fret, my little LSAT takers. I believe in you. Just remember to breathe!