Setbacks and failures are a part of life and a crucial part of the personal development and growth process. Any kind of failure triggers an immediate stress response.
Stress is a necessary evolutionary process as an adaptive response to some kind of threat. Failure and the ensuing stress get processed in the brain as a threat because the human brain adapted so our distant ancestors could survive in the African savannah. The same brain that triggered a crucial stress response when confronting a lion in the wild or a snake can overreact when faced with stress in corporate boardrooms or examination halls.
Disappointing exam results can be a period of high stress for both students and parents. The stress that gets manifested operates at three different levels: psychological, physiological, and social. An effective strategy for managing the disappointment of exam results needs to cater to all three stress pathways.
Support from family and friends
A strong support network is crucial for overcoming disappointment. For students who are experiencing stress, it is important to remember that they are not alone. Collect advice and help from people who know you well and have your best interests at heart. It is also very important for parents and adults to be vigilant and proactive about the emotional health of children after a disappointing exam result.
Bad exam results also lead to anxiety and stress at a physiological level. In some cases, there is the danger that it can also cause depression. A number of high-grade medical trials have shown that physical activity is 1.5 times more effective at reducing mild-to-moderate symptoms of depression, psychological stress, and anxiety than medication or cognitive behaviour therapy.
While the value of physical activity for people with depression and anxiety is widely recognized, it is not often spoken about when thinking of managing stress induced by poor exam results. Running, playing sports, doing yoga, or going to the gym are all effective methods of mitigating stress and disappointment.