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Coping with Anxiety in College

Some people are just naturally more anxious than others, but it’s not uncommon for school to bring out that nagging voice in the back of your head even if you’ve never considered yourself an anxious person before.

 

  1. Yoga: This is one of the simplest things you can do for yourself as a way to calm anxiety, or even prevent it. Breathing is a really great way to get your mind and body to relax, and sometimes when we’re so caught up in all the work we have we forget to just breathe. Clark provides Yoga classes thanks to the Clark Yoga club. As of September, they’re offering 4 classes per week and you can find their schedule on their Facebook page. Definitely worth checking out!
  2. Meditation: If you want to take it to the next level, try meditation. You can do this silently in your room, or use an app/YouTube video for guided meditation. Just 5-10 minutes a day spent focusing on yourself and your breathing can be really beneficial and set up you up for the rest of the day.
  3. Following a schedule: Personally, sticking with a weekly schedule makes me a lot less anxious. I use a planner to write down everything I have to do and I look at it frequently, crossing tasks off when I complete them. A planner will help you see what you have going on over the course of the week, that way nothing sneaks up on you last minute and you find yourself scrambling. Another pro-tip is to write down everything you have to do for the next day right before going to bed. That way, you have it all on paper and your mind won’t be scrambling to remember it all while you try to drift off.
  4. Sleep and eating habits: Your mom wasn’t trying to punish you when she told you to eat your veggies and to not snack on junk food. What you eat can affect your mood, especially if you already have an intolerance to something. Eating well balanced meals will keep you full throughout the day, as will smart snacking. Keeping yourself satiated will boost your energy, as well as your mood. Getting a full 8 hours of sleep has a huge impact on your mood. I know personally that if I get less than 7 hours of sleep, I wake up in a panic and that feeling stays with me throughout the rest of the day.
  5. Limit alcohol and caffeine: This can be a hard one in college, but it’s really important to not go overboard. Caffeine will naturally raise your heart rate, so if you’re already prone to anxiety it will leave you feeling like a hot mess. Opt for a caffeinated tea if you really need a boost of energy, because the components in caffeine found in tea is different than that found in coffee. Alcohol is classified as a depressant; no matter what other people have told you elsewhere. Drinking in moderation isn’t terribly harmful, but when you consume more than your body can handle, that’s when the depressant effects kick in. This can be a problem when people with anxiety participate in binge drinking. Don’t feel like you can’t “let loose” and have to completely cut off alcohol. There is nothing wrong with just having a 1 or 2 drinks when you go out.
  6. Counseling: Talking to someone can be one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself, anxiety-ridden or not. Clark offers free counseling services at the Center for Counseling and Personal Growth. A weekly or bi-weekly meeting can be a really good solution for feelings of anxiety. Sometimes we just need to vent to get things out of our system, and have someone remind us that what we are feeling is normal for college students.

 

Disclaimer: These are temporary solutions and “remedies” that I found very helpful for myself, but if you think that your anxiety is getting out of hand and preventing you from living your life, talk to your parents and doctor about it. There is nothing wrong with admitting you need help!

Annabelle is a Senior at Clark University, finishing her undergraduate studies in Business Management, and starting her MBA studies in the 5th year accelerated degree program at Clark. She loves fashion, photography, and writing!
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