Anxiety is no joke.
It can be crippling, making you feel trapped, afraid and as though you have no control over your life. I have dealt with anxiety my entire life as it runs in my family. The smallest thing can make me anxious to the point where my heart starts pounding, I’m breathing heavily, my body becomes numb and my temperature rises. It feels as though you’re swimming against the strongest current or you are in a deep pit, clawing to get out.
If this sounds like you then I hope you find these tips helpful. I have spent years finding different methods to de-stress and put my mind at ease during stressful times. It’s important to remind yourself that you are in control of your own reality and that with time and practice, you can manage your anxiety.
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional – these are just things that have worked for me. If you are struggling with serious mental health issues, please seek professional help.
With all of that being said, here are my 10 tips to manage anxiety in college.
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Recognize what makes you nervous
It’s so much easier to treat your anxiety if you know the source of it. Are you more anxious around a certain person or in a certain class? Or in social situations, like parties, events, club meetings?
Dig deep and ask yourself what areas of your life your anxiety has peaked, then make a note of it. Test anxiety is pretty normal, but if your anxiety is impairing your life to the point where you’re anxious in most situations, then it’s likely a longer-lasting issue.
Find A Healthy Outlet
This is a big one.
My healthy outlet is walking, writing in my journal or organizing my room. I truly believe that keeping a clean, warm atmosphere that doesn’t induce anxiety will allow you to feel less stressed. Change things up a bit, add some new decor, rearrange your furniture – the less cluttered your atmosphere, the less cluttered your mind will be.
Change Your Perspective
This is the tip that changed how I saw myself and the world as a whole.
Your perspective is everything. It’s the lens to which you view the world, and since your reality is what you perceive it to be, you can change it by shifting your mindset.
I think that a big part of being anxious is feeling inferior to your situation, like you have no control over your life. However, if you shift that mindset to seeing yourself as the master of your life, you’ll feel a lot more empowered to take on whatever is making you anxious. View yourself as a strong warrior who defeats any obstacles in her way with fearlessness and confidence.
Only you can control the outcome of your life and only you can control your own reality, or at least, how you perceive it.
Exercise to De-stress
Exercising not only prevents serious diseases and health issues from arising, but it;s also be beneficial for your mental health. Exercising can be very therapeutic, causing your brain to release endorphins that give you a euphoric high. It helps clear your mind and shed the weight of the world off your shoulders, releasing any lingering negative energy. After I go on a walk around my neighborhood, my mood is lighter and I feel ready to take on the day.
Meditate to Clear Your Mind
There are so many scientifically-proven benefits of meditation that if I listed them all, we’d be here awhile. One of the most notable is its ability to help de-stress and curb anxiety.
A lot of times anxiety causes thoughts to run rampant in your brain to the point where shutting them off seems impossible. This is especially true for me around bed time. But, meditation is an amazing tool because it changes the structure in which anxiety manifests itself by shifting your focus to the present moment and clearing your mind. You could meditate on your bed, the couch, even the floor, wherever your favorite spot is.
Journal to Release Your Thoughts
I have journaled almost every day since second grade. It’s a healthy way for me to process my emotions and let go of toxic thoughts that run rampant inside my brain. It feels like a weight has lifted off my shoulders as my thoughts and feelings flow into the pages. As I am writing, I like to draw, write poetry and tape pictures into my journal as it’s a safe place to hold memories. And, once in a few years, I will look back at my old journals and laugh at my younger self.
These are all ways that journaling has helped me throughout very low points in my life. I truly believe that putting your feelings out into the universe is very healing, because you’re releasing negative energy that was bottled up inside for too long.
Travel to a New Destination
I wholeheartedly believe that traveling feeds your soul. There’s just something beautiful about venturing into an unknown space and being humbled by its vastness. It broadens your perspective in so many ways. It allows you to clear your mind, set aside your problems and open yourself up to new experiences.
When you’re feeling anxious, and don’t want to go on a large trip, I would suggest going on a staycation or traveling to new places in your city that you’ve never been to before. Sometimes just going somewhere new is enough to ease your mind.
Join a Club or Support Group
It’s no secret that humans are social creatures. We thrive best in a group environment, and although it is hard to be social sometimes, you can learn a lot from being around positive, like-minded people. Just talking to others about what you are going through can be very therapeutic. I know what it’s like to suffer from social anxiety though, so if being in large groups isn’t for you, then just talking to a counselor would be beneficial.
Listen to Inspirational Podcasts
I love listening to inspirational podcasts in the morning, on the way to school, or in-between classes. They make me feel as though my toughest problems are manageable, as if I can take on anything that life throws at me. My favorite types of podcasts are self-help podcasts because they empower me to grow as a person and become a better version of myself. They also help me stay productive, so if I’m ever feeling down, I just pop on a playlist and go about my day.
Develop A Self-Care Routine
Taking care of yourself makes you feel like you have some control over your life and it can be very therapeutic. Create a quick routine that’s easy to stick to that leaves you always feeling clean and fresh. Make sure to follow the basics like keeping up with good hygiene, eating healthy, and taking care of your skin. It’s also important to pamper yourself once in awhile like taking a nice bubble bath or planning a spa day. I find that taking time for myself to clear my head and de-stress has significantly brought down my daily levels of anxiety.
Anxiety is Hard
If you suffer from anxiety, just know that you’re not alone. Anxiety is actually the worst. Realize that it’s not your fault and that it’s not something to be embarrassed about. I think everyone suffers from it to a degree, but some worse than others. If it persists and gets worse, I would advise speaking to a counselor. I’m sure your college provides them for free. Whether the issue is big or small, I think anyone can benefit from speaking to someone who is there to listen.
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How do you deal with anxiety?
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