Anxiety is an emotion that can be characterized as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. An individual struggling with anxiety can frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. They can have repeated episodes of sudden feelings of intense anxiety and fear or terror that reach a peak within minutes also known as panic attacks. To the average college student, anxiety is a common emotion felt at some point during the college experience. Anxiety can occur due to the adjustment to college life, exams, grades, new responsibilities, deadlines and a new environment-just to name a few.
1.Force Yourself to Slow Down and Take a Breath-Deep breathing is a helpful exercise that can be done at anytime of the day. Practicing deep breathing before a big exam or project presentation can be a helpful way to de-stress. Take some time out today to take a deep inhale through your nose and then counting down from 5 while exhaling through your mouth. Make sure to count down slowly while exhaling. Practice this a few times everyday and take note of how your body feels before and after this exercise. A common misconception with deep breathing is thinking that you only need to do it when you are in stressful situations or are feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. This is not true. You should be practicing deep breathing even when you’re not feeling anxious, frustrated, or overwhelmed because then it will come naturally once you find yourself in a stressful situation.
2.Be a planner-I have found through working with my clients that a successful way in helping them cope with their anxiety is helping them to develop some sort of structure and stability in their life. Particularly with organizing their daily lives. This can be done through using a planner whether it be a planner notebook, a planner on their computer or phone. As a student in college, you will find that throughout the semester your to-do list can become extremely long and overwhelming at times. Before long those due dates and exam dates can start to pile up on each other. To alleviate becoming overwhelmed or even getting behind on your work, make an effort to keep yourself organized. Having a schedule or planner can help you not only keep track of everything you have going on, but also help you to actually finish things on your to-do list.
3.Self-Care-I cannot stress enough how important self-care is. If you are not scheduling time for yourself to engage in entertaining activities or calming activities to balance out the stressors that you have, you may ultimately find yourself spiraling out of control. It is to your benefit to find things that you like to do and create a self care plan where you consistently take time for yourself to do the things that you love and that can relax you. This can be anything from catching up on show you missed on Netflix or Hulu, going to the gym, scheduling a relaxing spa day, taking a hot bath, or going for walk. Find what what works for you, fits into your schedule, and make sure that it is something that is fun for you that you can commit to consistently.
4.Find Support-Sometimes managing your anxiety can’t be done alone. Sometimes more help is needed. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety and nothing you try is working or if it seems that your anxiety is crippling you, it may be time to seek professional help. Talking with a counselor, your doctor, or finding a support group can provide great, additional assistance in helping you to manage your anxiety. It can also give you the support you need within your community. College campuses tend to incorporate a lot of student support groups for different things including anxiety. Most college campuses have their own student counseling centers that can provide the mental health care needed. Do not be afraid to find someone to talk to and share your struggles. Remember you don’t have to struggle with your anxiety alone.
Anxiety like any of our emotions left unattended to can increase in severity and can become a problem that is crippling to an individual’s everyday life. With these top 4 tips, you can stay in control of your anxiety even while away at college. Don’t forget to reach out to others for support and help if things start to get out of control and you are struggling with managing your anxiety. We hope this blog can help you to manage your anxiety. We’d love to hear from you as well! Let us know about your successes and challenges when managing your anxiety here.