Facing MBA Application stress? For most people, even the thought of GMAT preparation especially while managing their careers is a tough proposition to handle. After putting in long hours at work, you’d feel swamped just thinking about studying. Add essays and business school applications to the mix and soon you start generating waves of thoughts questioning your ability to scale this peak.

Here are 7 ways you can gain control over your thoughts and stay inspired –

Avoid MBA application stress – Don’t give in to negativity

Every now and then a tiny voice in your head will question everything – your dreams, your capabilities, your experience. If you continue to listen to it, the voice will feed on your fears and grow. Instead, keep your mind occupied with studies and/or work to avoid negative thoughts from popping up. We all have moments of self-doubt. But it’s important to remind yourself about how far you’ve come simply because you didn’t give up.

Make a start

Overcome paralysis by analysis by doing things that scare you. Quant not exactly your strength? Verbal seems difficult? Learn the concepts and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Take online courses or enroll in a class. Break down your study agenda. Master the simple steps before you move on to more complex topics. Take one step at a time but remind yourself that you’ve got to start somewhere.

Find and cherish those who positively influence you

It’s not always easy to stay motivated by yourself. Surround yourself with friends, family and mentors, people who believe in you and support your dreams. Talk to them when you feel low. Every now and then you’ll need external validation of your ability. Your network will provide you with much needed encouragement.

Stop comparing yourself to others

It’s tempting to compare your profile with that of your colleague, batch mate, friend of a friend or neighbour. Your achievements and experience are unique. Comparing with others is unlikely to yield anything except unwarranted anxiety. Instead focus on discovering and communicating your uniqueness.

Practice mindfulness

The past is gone, the future is yet to come. It’s only the present that you have so make the most of it. Take time to meditate for at least 5-10 minutes daily (you must try it out to see how much this will help). Detach yourself from worries about failure, pending activities or the future. Instead turn your focus inwards, towards yourself.

Manage your time well

Remember that you don’t have forever to get that B-school seat you so desire. Create a schedule for completing your goals such as understanding an algebra concept or writing first draft of your essays. Pomodoro Technique is a useful time management method. Break down your goals into biteable chunks. Set a timer for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn off distractions such as mobile and TV. Resist the urge to check your emails or messages in between. During this period, focus intensely on just one activity. Your concentration will improve drastically and you’ll find yourself achieving your goals sooner – all this without feeling stressed out.

Planned breaks

Plan your downtime well. Listen to your favourite songs, watch a nice movie, read a book or go for a walk. It’s important to take breaks so that you feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to your preparation.

Always remember that every step forward brings you one step closer to your dream.

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