Greetings beautiful souls,
The semester is in full swing now, and for many of us that means a resurgence in anxiety as we juggle classes, research, work, athletics, clubs, and our own sanity. And most of all, we juggle our own expectations for ourselves and what our anxiety tells us we shouldn’t do. Below are some tips for managing anxiety, so we can all take a step toward being as happy, healthy, and successful as possible.
- This first tip is the usual, cliche, tried-but-true advice for anything you’re dealing with in life – eat healthy, drink lots of water, exercise, and get enough sleep. Obviously this is easier said than done in our busy college lives, but give it your best shot. All of the above will help reduce your anxiety levels.
- Positivity, positivity, positivity. Identify what makes you anxious and reframe it as much as possible. I find writing little post-it notes to leave on my mirror, in my desk, on my laptop, and in my notebooks helps brighten up my day and reminds me to reframe my thoughts. Anxious about grades? “Your self worth is not defined by your grades.” Anxious about your appearance? “You are beautiful and strong.” Anxious about success? “You are enough.”
- Seeing a post-it note probably won’t be enough if you’re in the middle of a palm-sweating, body-shaking, heavy-breathing anxiety attack. Stop what you’re doing and sit down. Take a few deep breaths. Inhale for 5 seconds, hold it for 3 seconds, and exhale for 7 seconds. Focus on slowing down – your heartbeat and your thoughts. Then do something that keeps you calm – take a nap, listen to music, watch Netflix, read a book. Bottom line: now is not the time to dive into work. Now is the time to slow down and relax, even for 20 minutes.
- Listen to your anxiety, but don’t let it control you. Identity what makes you anxious and address it. Some triggers are worth avoiding. But also recognize when your anxiety is holding you back from doing something you have no other objection to. And maybe go ahead and do that thing. You’ll gain some new experience, and some new strength from overcoming your anxiety.
- Lastly, go easy on yourself, and surround yourself with people who are accepting of what you’re dealing with. You are strong. You are worthy. That is true even on days you don’t feel like it.
Good luck with the semester Jumbos!
“Smile, breathe, and go slowly.” –Thich Naht Hanh