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5 Tips to Help College Students Manage Anxiety
Going back to school can be a difficult transition. Many college students are juggling personal lives, professional jobs, and full course loads, and that kind of pressure will almost always come with a good deal of stress. As a college student, a lot of your work requires a calm, clear mind, and it is normal to need some help getting to that point. Use these 5 tips to keep your anxiety in check so that you can continue advancing your career.
1. Accept Your Anxiety
Before you can make any progress, you have to admit that there is a problem. Yes, it's cliché and sounds like something a hippy would say, but this is an essential first step. Everyone is stressed out. Everyone is dealing with anxiety in college, so you are far from alone in this. There is nothing wrong with you for feeling overworked and stressed out, because everyone around you feels the same way. While accepting this most likely won't make your anxiety go away, it is an excellent starting point.
2. Square Breathing
If you reach the point where anxiety is threatening to overtake you and you feel yourself about to have a breakdown, try a technique called square breathing. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold that breath for 4 seconds, exhale for 4 seconds, then hold for 4 seconds. Repeat this until you feel yourself calming down. Anxiety has a way of manifesting itself by making your breathing and pulse go faster, which only makes your body become more anxious. By slowing down and taking control of your breathing, you will be able to calm yourself down. Your anxiety may not dissipate entirely, but this will be enough to let you refocus and move forward.
3. Plan Everything
The biggest cause of anxiety is the feeling that you will not be able to get everything done. This makes perfect sense when you're balancing your work life, school life and home life, but there is almost always a way to manage your situation. Plan out everything that you will do in a given day and go hour by hour if you need to. If you can schedule out all of the things that you need to get done in a week, then you will know that you have enough time for each activity. This also makes it much easier to find free time and space out assignments. If you've been planning since Monday, then you won't find yourself with a mountain of work on Friday.
4. Say No
For many college students suffering from anxiety, the issue is that they simply have too many activities going on. If you are in 5 clubs and each of them is demanding a third of your time, you will quickly discover that you simply cannot fit all of them into your schedule. Don't be afraid to step back and focus on your self-care first. You will not do yourself or your friends any favors if you burn out in the middle of the semester because you made too many commitments.
5. Seek Professional Help
If it becomes clear that you are not simply suffering from stress, but a full-blown anxiety disorder, then seek out help. Many universities have free psychological care available to students, so look around and take advantage of your local resources. Anxiety can be a difficult battle to fight, but there is no reason that you should fight it alone. There are people in your area that want to help you, you just need to reach out to them.
College truly is an amazing part of your life, even when it doesn't feel like it. Use 5 tips to keep your anxiety in check so that you can continue working toward your degree. Some days it may feel like a struggle to keep your stress in check, but do not give up. Use your own strength and these tips to keep your anxiety under control.