PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL-- It's less than 24 hours until the FCAT.
Indian Ridge 10th grader Monica is usually a nervous wreck by now.
"I just used to get real panicky all the time," she said.
But thanks to school therapist Fran Sherman, Monica is learning to take control of her anxiety and refocus.
"I am calm right now," she said after listening to Sherman. "I feel like I could accomplish anything right now.
In addition to breathing techniques, Sherman has been working with students like Monica, showing them quick and easy ways to rid their minds of negative thinking.
"Think, feel, act," Sherman said. "You need to think positively. That's more than half the battle."
If a student is stuck on a question, Sherman teaches them to begin counting.
"Counting helps you think about something with no emotional connection," Sherman said.
9th grader Jesse has also been working on FCAT stress relief.
In just a few sessions with Dr. Sherman, he says he has built confidence.
"I have learned to stop and take a break before I get too stressed out," he said.
Stopping is the third technique Sherman teaches students to practice.
Bottom line- if you feel yourself getting stressed- literally stop taking the test at least for a few moments Sherman says. "Just visualize a stop sign and say 'stop' over and over," Sherman said.
For students the techniques are making all the difference.
Sherman encourages parents to teach these techniques at home too.
"Most importantly is for parents is to give that positive reinforcement," she said.
Sherman can be reached at 561-312-5570.
Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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