NDA, CDS, AFCAT & more: Stress management strategies for students preparing for defence exams | Competitive Exams - Hindustan Times

NDA, CDS, AFCAT & more: Stress management strategies for students preparing for defence exams

ByShishir Dixit
May 23, 2024 12:02 PM IST

Anticipating outcomes, lacking concentration, and overthinking are major factors contributing to stress.

Students preparing for defence exams such as NDA, CDS, AFCAT, MNS and SSB Interview often undergo stress. Feeling stressed is a natural process and in a literal manner, it evokes a sense of motivation within us to persevere for our goals. Everyone experiences stress. But in a fast-paced competitive world, students are the most affected ones who often get overwhelmed with physical, emotional, and psychological strains. It is completely natural for defence aspirants to experience stress. It indicates that they are putting in extra effort to achieve something they want or trying to cope with a difficult situation. There can be various reasons for a student being stressed. Anticipating outcomes, lacking concentration, and overthinking are major factors contributing to stress.

Stress management strategies for students preparing for defence exams like NDA, CDS, MNS, AFCAT
Stress management strategies for students preparing for defence exams like NDA, CDS, MNS, AFCAT

Read: UPSC NDA Exam Preparation: A detailed look at syllabus, pattern, selection process

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Research shows that overly stressed students are more likely to develop low immunity and weaken their cognitive and emotional functioning. In fact, prolonged stress can even lead to other mental illnesses like depression. In such cases, adhering to stress management strategies can help overcome stress and lead a balanced life. During my SSB Interview sessions at Centurion Defence Academy, I counsel my students and teach them to follow the below strategies to prevail over stress. These stress management tips may take time to develop but they are helpful in the long run.






1. Engage in creative hobbies and interests:

When studying for a long time, you may feel overburdened. It's important to take breaks and engage in activities that you enjoy. You can take up some creative hobbies like painting, writing, playing a musical instrument, or even gardening to relax your mind and body. Here effective time management skills become imperative to make the best use of your leisure time. For a defence aspirant aiming to become an officer in the Indian Armed Forces, hobbies and interests are part of the questioning during the personal interview by the Services Selection Board (SSB). Hence, these activities are not only helpful in stress management but also in getting ready for the SSB interview.

2. Spiritual growth:

Engaging in practices that promote spiritual growth, such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness, can be beneficial for managing stress. Spiritual growth is not merely confined to developing a closer relationship with God. It is a gradual process of developing self-identity, recognizing your purpose in life, connecting with your inner self and finding peace. When you practice spiritual growth, you become more conscious of learning who you are and how much potential you have. These practices shed light on what's most meaningful in your life. This way, you can develop goal clarity, focus less on the non-essential things and do away with stress.

3. Goal clarity:

It's essential to have clear goals and a sense of purpose when preparing for defence exams. Knowing what you're working towards can help you stay motivated and focused. Take the time to clarify your goals and know what you want and why you want it. Having a clear roadmap will help minimize uncertainty and ambiguity, reduce stress and increase your chances of success. Goal clarity also helps overcome constant questioning and doubt and boosts your confidence.

4. Decluttering the mind:

Decluttering the mind means getting rid of a disordered, unpleasant and complicated state. In simple words, it is a process of clearing your mind of extraneous and overwhelming thoughts, anticipations, distractions and worries. It's about filtering your thoughts to create a sense of calm and clarity in your mind. A cluttered mind can make it difficult to concentrate on goals and increase feelings of stress and anxiety. To declutter your mind, try practicing mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing to eliminate negative thoughts and worries. Following this process, you can approach your defence exam preparation with a clear and focused mind.

5. Trust the process:

It's important to trust in yourself and the process of preparation. Understand that while you can control your efforts and actions, you can't always control the outcome. Focus on doing your best in the present moment and trust that your hard work will pay off in the long run. Always keep in mind that setbacks and failures are a natural part of your exam preparation journey. Thus, you should have the adeptness to use them as opportunities for growth and learning. By giving up excessive worry about the outcome, concentrating your energy on the present moment, and trusting in the process, you can overcome stress and achieve success.

Author Shishir Dixit, an Air Force veteran and an eminent scholar in psychology, is the Founder-Director and Chief SSB Mentor at Centurion Defence Academy. Views are personal

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