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How can we harness affirmations to reduce student exam anxiety?

Updated: Mar 4


Positive affirmations are powerful statements that can help young people build confidence, improve their self-esteem, and achieve their goals. Affirmations involve repeating statements to yourself, with the intention of influencing your thoughts and behaviour in a certain way.

As teachers, we observe the variety of challenges young people face as they grow and develop - and affirmations can help them to overcome these obstacles with a positive outlook on life.

A lightbox sits next to an open laptop on a desk. The box displays an affirmation that reads: You got this!

There are many advantages to using affirmations in the classroom and beyond. One of the key benefits for young people is that these phrases can help to build confidence. Positive affirmations can help to counteract the negative self-talk traps that many young people fall into, whilst also reinforcing positive beliefs. By repeating positive statements to themselves, young people can begin to internalise these beliefs and feel more sure in their abilities.

Another benefit of positive affirmations for students is that they can help to improve mental health. It’s reported that five children in a classroom of thirty are likely to have a mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression. Whilst affirmations alone cannot wholly solve or treat mental health issues, positive statements can help young people to shift focus away from their negative thoughts and towards healthier ones. With affirmations, young people can start to feel more empowered and in control of their mental health.

Affirmations can also be helpful for young people who are dealing with stress or difficult situations, like exam season or study leave. By repeating optimistic statements like "I am enough" or "I can handle this," students can give themselves the mental fortitude they need to push through tough times. Affirmations can help them to develop the resilience and coping skills that will serve them well throughout their lives.

In addition to improving confidence, mental health, and resilience, positive self-affirmations can support pupils who are working towards specific values-based goals. Phrases such as "I can and I will achieve my goals” focus students on their objectives. Affirmations can help them to overcome barriers and achieve success in whatever they set out to do.

The simplicity of affirmations makes them versatile and easy to use in schools. Young people can use them in a variety of ways, such as writing them down, saying them out loud, or repeating them silently to themselves. Positive affirmations can be used at any time, whether it's in the morning to start the day off on a positive note, or during a difficult situation to help young people stay motivated. Students can create their own meaningful affirmations, or discover strength in the affirmations they find.

This is why we’ve created our new interactive exam stress poster.

Both mocks and exams are likely providing an increase in anxiety and stress for your students at the moment. We've created a free 'tear-away' poster for your form rooms and noticeboards. By downloading, printing and displaying the free PDF file, your students can interact with, read, and take away stress-relieving advice and affirmations.

Preview of sign-up form for the 'exam stress affirmations' poster download


This blog was written by Jez Belas, Sales and Engagement Director for youHQ and Life on Time Ltd. Jez has 16 years of teaching experience and until recently was Head of PE and Wellbeing at an independent school in Berkshire.

For more information about our school wellbeing platform and to sign up for a free demo, please click here.

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