You’re walking alone with an hour before your next class, and you find yourself stuck in the middle of the quad. You go to Starbucks and the line extends outside; everyone is taking pictures. It’s more than you can take—it happens and you are not silly for feeling anxious, so here are some ways to cope with the sudden flow of either the cherry blossom crowd, campus tour crowd, orientation crowd, or maybe just the regular crowd.
- Realize that what you are feeling is rational and natural
Your mind can only take in so much input at once and feeling overwhelmed from so many faces passing you by is just your caveman brain’s way of protecting you from danger—even when you’re not in danger!
- Remove yourself from the situation if possible
Go to the library or find an empty classroom—just sit and relax for a while!
- Find some ground in reality
Recite your name, age, and birthday in your head. Or ask yourself some binary questions (Is the sky blue? Am I in Washington? etc.).
- Focus on something
Make a list of all the colors you see, or what you can hear. taste, smell, or touch
- Stare at a blank wall
Go inside a bathroom stall and notice the scratches on the door.
- Put headphones on
You don’t even have to listen to anything! But you can also put on your favorite calming or classical music
- Touch something
Put your hands in your pockets and fiddle with an eraser or a blueberry.
- Exercise your breathing
Breathe in for 4 seconds, keep your breath for 7, and exhale for 8 seconds.
Good luck out there!