Watching my daughter go through her Highers is enough evidence of the stress young people feel under. But it is also shown by the increase in calls to Childline.
The article says: One 15-year-old boy told counsellors: "All I can think about is exams and I can't deal with it any more.
"I revise all night because I'm so worried I'll fail and I feel so tired all the time. I can't really concentrate on other things and I'm not really eating properly either.
"These exams are only my mocks, and I don't know what I will be like for the real exams if I can't even deal with the mocks."
That's the thing about worry. Once it's wormed its way into your mind, it's very difficult to dislodge. Yoga can be very helpful in tackling worry because it teaches you techniques to quieten the mind down and let you take the reins and learn to control your thoughts.
Here is a lovely story about an elephant and his wayward trunk as recounted by Eknath Easwaran.
There is a Hindu story comparing the mind to the trunk of an elephant – restless, inquisitive, always straying. In our villages in India, elephants are sometimes taken in religious processions through the streets to the temple. The streets are crooked and narrow, lined on either side with fruit and vegetable stalls. Along comes the elephant with his restless trunk, and in one sinuous motion, he grabs a whole bunch of bananas. He opens his cavernous mouth, and tosses the bananas in – stalk and all. From the next stall he picks up a coconut and tosses it in after the bananas. No threats or promises can make this restless trunk settle down. But the wise elephant trainer will give that trunk a short bamboo stick to hold. Then the elephant will walk along proudly, holding the bamboo stick in front like a drum major with a baton. He doesn’t steal bananas and coconuts now, because his trunk has something to hold onto.
That trunk is like the mind. You need to give it something to hold onto to keep it from wandering around. Eknath suggests a mantram that you repeat over and over again is like the bamboo stick. Check out all his advice on this wonderful website.
Caroline practises and teaches yoga in Glasgow Scotland and runs The Publishing Cupboard. She is the creator of the Nod off Series (where yoga meets grammar learning). If you want to get to grips with French, Spanish, Italian or Portuguese grammar, in a pain-free yogic way, visit www.nodoff.co.uk
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