Exam Results – the strain on young people’s mental health!


With A-level results day taking place last week across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and GCSE results day today, there may be some of you who are well on your way to pursuing whatever you wish to in the future. However, for others, you may find yourselves rethinking those plans that you had in mind. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it always helps to take some time out and reflect on your future goals.

Most of us will have heard about ‘The Secret’ by Rhonda Byrne, a bestselling self-help book of 2006. Byrne based the book on the Law of Attraction – quite simply, the idea that thinking about certain things can make them appear in your life – be it good or bad. She also talks about the importance of visualisation in helping you to imagine your goals and attract what you want.

However, what Byrne doesn’t explain is that we all have our own inner guidance system which helps us to do this. I recently attended a Fusion Therapeutic Life Coaching Diploma course led by BACP accredited, expert psychotherapist Frances Masters. As part of this course, she taught us about the ‘Reticular Activating System’ or ‘RAS.’ Our brains must process millions of pieces of information at once, however RAS acts as a sorting office to evaluate and determine what needs prioritising. Our brains would not be able to cope with all the information being thrown at them if it wasn’t for RAS.

For example, if you were in a busy room full of people, your brain would find it too difficult to process all the other conversations at once and you would hear them as background noise. However, if someone said your name, RAS will allow this through as it has tagged your name as important.

RAS can therefore be very useful in goal setting. By reflecting on what your ideal life would be and putting pen to paper, this can help to engage all your senses and see it as a reality. If you go one step further and visualise yourself in that future life, that is even more powerful in helping to programme your inner sat nav and allow RAS to filter in whatever you desire.

So, if exam results have left you feeling slightly unsure and anxious about your future plans, why not try reflecting on what your ideal future would involve? Write down your ideas – these could be for different parts of your life such as work, education, family, money or friends. Then try visualising yourself achieving success and feeling happy and content in your future life. The future is yours to choose!

By Neena Agravat

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