Dealing with Anxiety
Feeling tense or overwhelmed is normal, especially for a student juggling a variety of responsibilities. However, if you constantly experience intense stress, fear of failure, and feelings of inadequacy, the problem may be deeper than you expect.
Anxiety is not something to be taken lightly: it is an important mental health issue that affects many individuals, and can have a virtually crippling effect on their lives. Students can be particularly susceptible to anxiety, given the often overwhelming post-secondary environment and other factors like economic pressures, family issues, or the challenge of finding a career.
If you experience constant anxiety, or if someone you know has trouble with anxiety, it is important to solve the problem before it gets worse. Anxiety can manifest itself through constant worrying, a severe lack of self-confidence, and panic attacks (bursts of fear and other troubling emotions), among other symptoms. Many individuals experience these things without being clinically diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, but if these symptoms become prevalent, know that there are ways to seek help.
Whether you feel personally affected or know someone who is, here are some tips for dealing with anxiety.
Be kind to yourself. Individuals with anxiety often beat themselves up for making small mistakes that seem trivial in hindsight. It may be difficult, but don’t be afraid of failure. There will always be something to worry about or something you can improve upon. The most important thing is that you did your best, and that you will learn from your mistakes in the future.
Take it one day at a time. Anxiety doesn’t appear out of the blue—oftentimes it is the product of long periods of intense stress, pressure, and hyperactivity. That being said, you cannot expect an anxiety issue to go away overnight, nor should you be disappointed or blame yourself when it takes you a while to recover. Take the process day by day, and be reflective about your own progress.
Find someone you trust. This can be a friend, family member, or virtually anyone who you can speak to in confidence. If you feel comfortable talking to them, and feel like they will support you, open up to them. If this individual gives you their permission, they can be a fantastic resource. Ask them to try and calm you down or seek the appropriate help or medical attention should you ever require it.
Know your options. University and college campuses should have mental health support services on campus, whether in the form of online counseling, one-on-one sessions, or group therapy. If these services do not prove adequate, speak to a doctor to find out the best ways you can deal with your mental health.
For more information and support, see your guidance counselor, find a mental health center on campus, or seek out professional medical counseling.