Another major issue for me is, I have no patience. If I begin to study now, my mind starts whispering ' you have to do it all by the end of the day' ; but it's not possible for any individual. Maybe it comes from my inner false ego.
Funny side is that my brain knows what is wrong and what is right for me. But my mind is telling me to do all the WRONG things always and my brain loses.
So, I need to be patient, peaceful, distraction-free, realistic, goal-oriented, consistent, depression-less, fearless, attentive and mindful.
I have like 6 more months in hand; what should be the plan?
In this counseling answer:
- If your standards are too high, you may end up feeling depressed and anxious.
- Set realistic expectations, make a plan and organize your tasks.
- If you fail, you are not a failure. See things through a more positive lens.
Salam alaikom brother,
You have set significant goals, masallah. You would like to gain more patience, peace, focus (not being distracted), goal-orientation, consistency, less depression, fearlessness, being attentive and mindful. You are looking for a plan that finally leads you, in sha Allah, to success in your exams.
You mentioned frequently in your letter a battle between your mind and brain. This reminds me of the battle with Satan, who always whispers to us to do things that are not right or that cause us trouble.
The weapons of Satan are exactly the following: they create laziness, doubts, and distractions that keep you from doing the right thing.
What you need to do, brother, is to combat these whispers and not let Satan win the battle!
On the other hand, your reactions are somehow understandable. You expect a “big” test, something that is important for you to accomplish.
It seems that you have high expectations. You say that you are a perfectionist, and this can explain why you set high standards for yourself.
So, what happens when we are setting very high expectations is that we do not want (or cannot) deal with a possible failure. If your standards are too high, you may end up feeling depressed and anxious because you will be unable to meet them.
Examine your thoughts. See if there are any underlying unrealistic or irrational beliefs that can cause you to be fearful and depressed.
Here an article about cognitive distortions. Check and see whether you can identify some of them.
What can you do?
Realistic Expectations and Organization
Brother, set realistic expectations regarding your exams and the preparation for them.
It may require a lot of effort. Recognize it, be honest with yourself. Accept the possibility that either you make it or not.
The important thing is that you try to make the best of what you can. And leave the rest to Allah.
Try to make a plan and organize your tasks: what is it that you have to study and how many times do you have to do that? Divide this leaving time for your studies but also for entertainment and fun. It should not be all or nothing.
If you do this on time, you will see that maybe with a couple of hours a day – with consistency – you can make it.
Set a Daily Routine
Set a daily routine, not only for studies but for other things as well. Give yourself time and space for your friends, for relaxation, for whatever diversion, unless, of course, it is not haram.
Start with your duties and reward yourself with some positive activity once you have accomplished that daily plan.
Make sure that you do during a certain time slot what is meant to be done. When it is time to relax, do not check anything related to your studies. When it’s time to study, turn off all emails and social media apps and concentrate solely on your studies for a couple of hours.
Imagine the Worst-Case Scenario
Brother, imagine: What is the worst that can happen? What if you fail this exam for any reason?
Try to imagine the worst-case scenario, step by step. You may realize that there is “life” after failing an exam and there are alternative solutions.
You call it a “do or die” situation, but I would say that it is a bit extreme, as you most likely won’t die if you, for some reason, fail. There is a middle path. Try to see things in a less “catastrophic” and extreme way to avoid further anxiety.
If You Fail, You Are Not a Failure
Do not identify yourself with your accomplishments. It is about your efforts, not about you.
You will make it by the will of Allah and by putting your efforts into it.
And you might not, also by the will of Allah. It does not mean that you are a failure. Not at all! See things through a more positive lens.
Even if it is an online school, you might know someone who can help you with your studies. If you do not understand something, seek support and ask for explanations.
Join a study group only if it motivates you and does not distract you more. You can share notes or check each other’s progress. Find extra material online and pretest your knowledge.
So, to conclude, let’s see your goals in points:
Patience and peace
If you are not relaxed and at peace, you won’t be able to have patience and understanding of the study material.
Start with bismillah, with a dua and with a pure intention—you do it for the sake of Allah. If you cannot comprehend something, try to read it again, paraphrase it with your own words, or seek other explanations.
Focus on one thing at a time and plan your day so that you have time for both studies and fun. Maintain boundaries within your routine.
When it is time to study, find a quiet place and close other apps and phones for those hours.
To have enough energy, sleep well, eat healthy, and do exercise. If you are tired, hungry, and in the middle of a family gathering, you cannot focus on your studies.
Set realistic goals based on your abilities. Expect no more from yourself than you are capable of, but make the intention to do your best.
Organize yourself and break down your goals into smaller achievements, like daily or weekly ones. Reward yourself if you accomplish them.
You can gain consistency if you do not overload yourself. Again, it is a question of being realistic according to your capacities. The less is more: study less, but every day to avoid burn out. Maintain balance in your daily routine.
Depression and fearlessness
These fears and mood swings can result from your expectations and high standards related to your worth and capability. Remember, this exam is not to test how valuable or capable you are.
You can try to identify the thoughts that lead you to feeling unwell and check them to see whether they are realistic enough. If these fears are too intense, please seek professional help. You can try our life-coaching as well.
Attentive and mindful
If you manage to focus on fewer things and organize yourself, you might be more attentive and mindful.
Pay attention to fewer things at once, and reduce social media use as the constant scrolling, image overload, and short videos and chats stress us with too much information and our nervous system gets tired.
I hope these tips will help you. May Allah bring you success in your exam!
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