5 Ways For The Anxiety-Ridden College Student To Keep Calm And Study On
Coping with anxiety is a process, and I'm finally at a point in my life where I feel I truly understand what that means. As much as I want it to, my anxiety won't just disappear by tomorrow, and I'm okay with that.
Mental health has become a huge epidemic on college campuses over the years, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 40 percent of students are not seeking help.
As a college student myself, I want to make sure I'm being as vocal as possible when it comes to this issue, so others don't feel alone.
Don't get me wrong; I've had a really hard time and am still learning. But understanding whatever process you have to go through is such an important and vital step. Here are some of the things I've learned:
1. Stop becoming frustrated with yourself.
On the days when my anxiety is at its absolute worst, I become extremely pissed off at myself. I can never understand why I find myself awake at all hours of the night, worrying why I have to deal with this every day. But what good does that do?
Finding ways to channel that frustration into something positive is better than beating yourself about your anxiety. I try to meditate for at least 10 minutes every morning to start my day on a good note. And during the day, writing helps me get everything out of my head and onto paper.
Maybe try joining a club that makes you happy. Figure out what keeps you on the right track, and work on doing it consistently.
2. Analyze your triggers.
What situations make you anxious? Is it the 30-minute commute to school? Is it that super competitive class where the professor is beyond critical?
Take note of these things so you can prepare yourself before, during and after the experience. Calming yourself down is easier said than done, but it's worth a try.
For me personally, the subway makes me anxious. So before I head on one, I need to prepare. Deep breathing in counts of four is how I practice releasing tension during the whole process. I remind myself, “I am okay and everything will be fine.”
Afterward, there's a release, like I've been holding my breath the whole time. I take that time to remember I got through it, and I should be proud of myself. Mantras are helpful as well.
Try coming up with one that brings you the most peace in nervous situations.
3. Hearing others talk about it makes me feel less alone.
When I first found out I had anxiety, I felt like I was the only one dealing with it. I'd never really heard any of my friends talk about it, and I never thought about it before. But I promise you are not alone.
Shoutout to the awesome celebs who talk about their anxiety (Lena Dunham and Zoe Sugg, just to name a few). It's so important for the stigma to be erased, and for an open dialogue to be encouraged when it comes to mental illness.
For people who don't have a personal connection to someone with anxiety, or who are afraid to talk about it, hearing YouTube personalities, actresses or singers talk about their anxiety offers an outlet.
4. Try exercising or talking to someone.
I know, I know. You're probably so tired of hearing about this, but I can't stress enough how helpful exercise is. It took me a while to finally do it, but I recently started taking cycling classes offered at my university. It has worked wonders for me.
I encourage you to find the form of exercise you enjoy the most and stick to it. It'll ease your mind in ways you could have never imagined.
Talking to someone is also another one that's constantly heard, but this also really helps. Therapy is a turnoff for some people, but having someone really listen to you, and help guide you through what you're experiencing, can take a huge load off your shoulders.
Schedule one appointment with your school's counseling services, and see how you like it.
5. Appreciate your supporters.
Not all people have the support they need. If you find yourself in a position where you are receiving love and care, make sure to let those people know how much you appreciate them. It's easy to become so wrapped up in your own problems that you forget how important of a role people around you play.
I have to give a special thanks to my family, especially my sister, for constantly being the wall I lean on when the world just seems to be too much for me to face. Sometimes, just thinking of these special people in anxious situations makes me feel 1,000 times better.
I hope that by reading this, you are encouraged to find ways to tackle your anxiety head-on. At first, I really wasn't sure if writing this article was something I wanted to do. But, we need to start conversations about mental health. Especially in college, where the small world you're in can seem so colossal and overwhelming.
Your journey is unique, and you will find your own tricks and tools. From one college student to another, you can do it! I believe in you.