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Dealing with Anxiety in College

I’ve always been an anxious person, and college just seems to exacerbate my natural tendency to freak out a lot. Luckily, I know I’m not alone in this struggle. Every college student faces anxiety at one point or another in their college career. However, when it becomes a regular occurrence, it can be debilitating. Here’s my tips for dealing with anxiety in college!

Recognize what makes you anxious

Is it your Advanced Statistics class? Your roommate? Target the source of your anxiety in order to figure out how to treat it. If it’s caused by something like an upcoming test, then that’s a pretty temporary anxiety. But, if you find you’re always nervous and uncomfortable entering a certain class or being around a certain person, than it’s likely a much longer lasting issue.

Find an outlet

The most important thing you can do when dealing with anxiety is to find a healthy outlet. In college, it’s easy to use alcohol as a way to feel better, but that kind of thing is temporary and not substantial. The best options are creative outlets or athletic outlets. I personally enjoy writing, painting, and running. Here’s some other ideas:

Creative:

  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Coloring
  • Playing an instrument/singing
  • DIY creations

Athletic

  • Running
  • Yoga
  • Walking
  • Stretching
  • Kickboxing
  • Zumba
  • Dancing

Whenever you feel overwhelmed, turn to your outlet for relief. Doing creative or athletic endeavors releases calming chemicals in your brain which will help you feel better.

Get organized

If you frequently get stressed out by homework and activities (who doesn’t?) then you might benefit from taking the time to organize your life. Invest in a planner you’ll actually use and write down everything you need to get done in order of importance. Having things written out sometimes lessens the burden in your mind because you can visually see how much you still need to do. Tip: write down things you’ve already done when you create to-do lists, because you will feel more motivated and accomplished.

Be healthy

Eating bad foods only will add to your anxiety. Treat your body with kindness. I don’t mean you need to completely devote yourself to a perfect diet, but do be conscious with what you eat. When you’re anxious, your body will likely crave sugar, but try to resist. Brain food will keep your mind and body sharp. Try substituting an unhealthy snack with fruit, yogurt, or grains.

Sleep

Things always seem the worst right before bed, but much clearer in the morning after a good nights sleep. It might be super hard to throw in the towel and go to sleep, but it does wonders for your mental state. Have trouble sleeping when anxious? Drink some nighttime tea at night, like chamomile. Dim the lights around your house to trick your body into thinking it’s time to go to bed. Put away your electronics and pick up a book to read in bed. Sleep will come.

Anxiety is hard

Realize that anxiety is the worst. You aren’t in this alone, though it may seem that way at the time. Realize that anxiety sucks and it isn’t your fault. Be kind to yourself. If it persists and gets worse, it might be beneficial to speak to a counselor. Your college probably provides several for free, and I highly recommend making an appointment, even if you think you’re dealing with something petty and small. I had a friend who used to go to talk to a counselor on a monthly basis even if nothing pressing was happening in her life, sometimes it’s just nice to talk to someone for an hour.

How do you deal with anxiety?

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  • Great tips for any situation!!

  • Great advice here! I agree that finding an outlet is one of the most helpful things that can relieve stress. Just knowing that you’ve has some me-time can go a long way.

  • These are some great tips! Have a wonderful week!

  • Julia

    These are great ways to escape anxiety, even if the problems are bigger.

    This month it’s one year since the worst stage of my anxiety issues and i want to share this with you, because you need to know are not alone.

    I had some serious problems with anxiety in my second year of college, i broke up with my 5 years boyfriend, my parents separeted in a messy way and the notion of home dissapeared, i had health issues, studying was getting worse (i am in law school… ), i started to be very afraid regarding the future, my chances, kindness in the world, friendship, love, i felt so so so lonely, and desperate and unbalanced, and all this got worse and worse with each day that passed. I didn’t think i could ever get out of this state and that added even more to my anxiety.

    But i got out of there and if there are people who read this and are in the place i used to be, please, don’t despair, the world is not ending and you have the power to surpass this, it’s in you, even if you don’t realise it at the moment.

    How I dealt with my anxiety? First, i realised i had it, and it’s normal, i am not crazy, just stressed out and everything will be ok. I started listening to music that gave me the feeling of strenght (Eminem-Not afraid, or lose yourself or till i collapse worked for me) and when the fear was too powerful i got dressed fast and went running in the park listening to that music untill was too tired to be afraid. I started drawing the first thing that popped in my mind, when i felt like sharing my feelings i wrote them in a diary, i started eating more healthy (not some major changes, i did quit sugar, coffee and i started eating more fruits. Still, itI was a change =D ). I tried to be more open to new people, i tried new things (for eg. i joined a group with unknown people to go for a hike. And it was awesome.)

    Personally, i went to a counselor 2 or 3 times, i didn’t instantly solve my problem but it gave me just a few directions on how to deal by myself with this, but each person is different, so GO TO A COUNSELOR, at least once. You will gain a new perspective on the matter.

    Wow, i wrote a lot :). Thank you for reading my story and be positive! Everything will turn out great!

    • Samantha

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I can relate to this a lot, I’m glad everything has improved for you 🙂

    • Sarah

      Thanks a lot for sharing your experience it’s giving me hope that my anxiety will be okay one day 🙂

  • Great read! Thank you for sharing 🙂