M going to write one of the toughest exam in this world i.e. IITJEE after 20 days .

Actually I haven't prepared for it even a little, and m also not able to concentrate on studies. I can't even remember when was last time I actually studied with focus. I also feel sometimes little depressed and very very anxious about my situation. And most importantly, I just can't overcome overthinking or negative thoughts in my mind.
Asked by Annie

Hi,  You have a few things going on so I'm going to try to answer each one and hopefully relieve some of the stress that you are experiencing, especially right before your exam.


So if I understand the question correctly, you need to take a really difficult exam in about 20 days.  You are also experiencing depression and anxiety regarding this situation.  Finally, you find it difficult to overcome negative thoughts, or overthinking.  


When we have a potentially overwhelming situation looming (exam, project, job interview, etc). we can become easily overwhelmed by the enormity of it and not know where to start, or even to become motivated to start.  By avoiding or delaying taking steps to conquer this project we make the job even bigger and more overwhelming, knowing that we might fail, miss a deadline, etc.  


So first, breathe!  I know that sounds very simple, but when we do slow, deep, methodical/controlled breathing it is the ONE best thing we can do for ourselves to help conquer anxiety and stress.  There are many apps out there that can help with this if you're not sure how to start this type of breathing exercise.  My favorites are "insight timer" and "calm."  But you can find many videos on YouTube as well.  

Second, just take one step toward your goal, just do one thing.  Don't even think about, "well if I do this, I need to do that first."  That's a stop sign for us if we are overwhelmed or have low motivation.  Just pick one thing and DO.  It doesn't matter if it's a five-second task or a five-hour task, just pick it and do it.  It might mean reading a chapter, studying one page, take one practice exam.  Don't worry about all the other things that need to get done, just do that one thing.  

Third, I would find some kind of reward to give yourself after the completion of that one task-positive reinforcement.  "If I do this one thing, I'll take a five-minute break and surf the web. or I'll eat a snack, or I'll crank out thirty push-ups."  Whatever is most meaningful for you that will motivate you to keep going.

Fourth, when thinking about overthinking (no pun intended), or having persistent/intrusive negative thoughts, there are techniques that can help combat that type of thinking.  In the cognitive-behavioral world, it's called "stinking thinking."  We waste a lot of time thinking about the what if's and bad things that can happen when we don't know if that is actually going to happen.  It would be great if we had a crystal ball but we don't so we are just projecting negativity based on no facts to merit it.  In other words, that kind of thinking isn't serving you well.  Using Mindfulness techniques would be really great to help curb that kind of thinking by staying in the moment and only focusing on what's in front of you, the here and now.  

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and Mindfulness therapy are both good therapies/techniques that would greatly benefit you.  I strongly encourage you to continue seeking support and advice in this forum, whether it's through chat or engaging in sessions with your own counselor.  Some of these techniques take practice and a little more educational background than allows in this setting.  

But I hope that you found this information helpful to get you started for your exam.  The best of luck to you! 

Sincerely, Diana Sebzda