Reducing Stress & Anxiety in Pupils

In the papers today there was an article on the mental impact of the new GCSE grading system and the effect it has had on pupils. As a result of this, schools are now having to offer help with anxiety and stress to their students.
I have worked for several schools, private and state schools, helping with stress and anxiety, and particularly at exam time. When I do Exam Success with them, it’s hugely enjoyable because I get to help students immediately with techniques mentally, physically and emotionally. I see their relief when realising they can do something to relieve their own anxiety, and regain their equilibrium.
If you are a teacher or a parent and would like help with this please get in touch with me to discover how to help these students as there is so much that can be done. I’m happy to provide an initial complimentary talk.

Self-Harm and Cyber-Bullying

Well it’s not particular news that bullying goes on in many ways, face to face and cyber, both in school and work! Just recently we heard that in the last year, reported cases of self-harm have increased 30% in young people under 17, which is probably greatly caused by bullying, and in particular, cyber-bullying. How does this happen and what can you do about it?

The real worry is that people begin to believe these bullies, who pathetically pick on someone, usually because they feel so bad about themselves that they need to project it on someone else. However, there can only be a bully if there is a victim.


You probably already know that you should tell someone from talks you may have had in school or perhaps discussing it with your parents. Do not become a victim of it. I’ve placed some links at the end of this article that will give you some help line numbers. If you feel threatened contact the authorities and tell them that you are frightened, there are many ways to deal with it, self harming, blaming yourself and becoming depressed is not dealing with it, that’s victim hood.


If you feel you could become a victim you MUST work on your self-esteem and your self-worth. It may be that you are the ‘quiet’ type and don’t really bother with others too much.  People may think because of this you are an easy target, well not if your self-worth is strong. This is something that you cannot work on  early enough in your life. Whatever people say or do YOU MUST ACCEPT YOURSELF as a VALUABLE HUMAN BEING who has RIGHTS and who exercises them.

Stand up for yourself, look them in the eye, even if it feels fearful, if you don’t NOW, when will you? People do not realise that talking about it to teachers, parents and decent friends, is the way forward.

Once you have unburdened what you are going through it already feels better, however, the really healthy thing here is that you have taken action, therefore, control in your life, this alone helps boost and reinforce self-worth. The bullies must STOP, if they stop targeting you, they will find someone else, unless that someone else also reports it.

If you are in that situation now and need some help, seek it, or please get in touch with me directly at (this will be private). Any comments/experiences that you may like to share on this post feel free to do so.  All posts are vetted before being published.

Whatever happens, NEVER take it out on yourself, it’s THEIR problem, don’t let them wear you down. Take action!

The following are some links you may find useful:


Strategies for Exam Success

Last time in Why is it harder to remember answers during an exam? we saw what happens in the body when we are stressed or scared. 

This time let’s find out some of the things you can do to reduce your anxiety and feel more in control and relaxed, yet alert.

Before and during the exam

  • Breathe, this is the quickest way in to bring down your nervous system from hyper-arousal. Breath in slowly through the nose for a count of 3, hold 3, exhale through the mouth for 5 (you change the count to what suits you) however, it’s very important that the exhalation is longer than the inhale and hold. As you do this it’s very important to keep your jaw completely relaxed (floppy) and your tongue very loose in your mouth. Continue reading

Why is it harder to remember answers during an exam?

I wished I had learnt how my brain worked when I was at school…

If the brain is so incredibly sophisticated and powerful, then why can it let us down when we need it the most?

Now imagine: It’s exam day… you’ve done all the revisions and prepared really well, but you feel stressed.

This is what happens:

  1. Your brain receives a stimulus (the exam is here).
  2. The exam is perceived as a ‘threat’.
  3. You get sweaty palms, your heart pounds
  4. You are struggling to remember the answers you knew so well
  5. You feel panicked

In Science you may have heard of Continue reading

Attitude and Impression on Open Day

This has to be one of the best kept secrets this side of the Thames!

Last Saturday, as part of Open House 2013, I went to an open day at Radnor House School in Twickenham.  It was fabulous, the school itself is a listed building adjoining Pope’s Grotto, however, it is the location, right by the river, that really wowed me, fantastic!

We started in the little café in the school with a cappuccino and a variety of wonderful cakes (made by the school chef ). This opened onto a lovely terrace right on the Thames with great views and where we could just sit, drinking coffee and watching the world go by. This is open to the students and parents as well as staff, aren’t they lucky?

We were shown around by the Head Master Mr Paton, who was accompanied by 2 students. I must mention Amy (I think that’s her name). I lost my husband somewhere along the way and she was incredibly helpful, escorting me  back to the grotto, “in case I got lost in this place”, I can definitely see her being terribly organised later in life, she was so lovely!

Her helpful attitude started me thinking  about what school children might consider as their strengths. I don’t just mean in school lessons, but as a person. You know, most people tend to put themselves down, telling themselves things like; “I’m not good/confident enough”, “No one likes me, I’m not popular”, “Classmates think I’m weird”, “I’m useless as sports”, etc..

This won’t help with confidence, will it? As a little exercise, right now, list all your good points and strengths, never mind about what others think, what do you think. So,for example, you might say: I’m polite, helpful to adults and schoolmates, I’m a good listener, I’m humorous, I don’t take myself too seriously, I enjoy my differences, I’m organised, I’m good at expressing  myself, I’m considerate, I think deeply before making decisions, I’m gentle, I’m happy, I’m enthusiastic, a trier, etc.

You may not realise it, but all of the above are ‘soft skills’, that is, ‘people’ skills that we all need in life. They are often underestimated but are very valuable both in life and the work place, after all, think how important it is to be able to ‘get on’ with people, anywhere. They matter as much as academic achievements.

So what are your ‘soft skills’ and what would you possibly like to strengthen?

Let us know.

Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.

Why you should listen to her:

Cameron Russell has spent the last decade modeling. A Victoria’s Secret favorite, she has appeared in multiple international editions of Vogue as well as in ads for brands like Ralph Lauren and Benetton. But she feels at her core that image isn’t everything.

Quotes by Cameron Russell

  • “Saying that you want to be a model when you grow up is akin to saying that you want to win the Powerball when you grow up. It’s out of your control and it’s awesome — and it’s not a career path.”
  • “[Models] have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes, and they’re the most physically insecure women probably on the planet.”

Dare To Be Different

Welcome to HappierAtSchool, the blog to help teenagers being more confident and achieve their true potential.

There’s a myriad of things to learn at school; Maths, English, Science, Art, IT, the list goes on.

But what about ‘being different’…maybe because you have some health problem, learning difficulty, stutter, very shy or just ‘don’t fit in?’

This can make you feel so awful, lowers confidence and self-esteem and can make you feel very lonely. These are just some of the things that happen when you are going through school/college years.  I know, I was one of them, incredibly shy, quiet and unconfident, except with my best friend (yes I did have one).  However, deep within myself I wanted to be Continue reading