7 Ways To Control Your Anxiety While At College

7 Ways To Control Your Anxiety While At College

Everyone feels anxious at some point or another, and there's plenty you can do to manage it.

Needless to say, college life is stressful. Even more so when you're a freshman still trying to find your place and figure out how to be a semi-functioning adult. I, for instance, just did laundry today and I felt like I had climbed a hundred mountains. But there's lots of ways to handle stress and anxiety. The trick is finding what works best for you. Here are a few of my go-to's when I feel like life is barreling down on me.

1. Go for a walk

Hands down the best way to relax and regain your composure after, or during, a difficult day is taking a walk outdoors. It's a similar concept to working out; the movement releases endorphins, gives your lungs and your heart a chance to reset and focus on the movement, but it's not as high-stress as running or lifting at the gym. Breathing that fresh air and just giving yourself a change of setting refreshes your brain and gives it time to engage in something other than what's bothering you. And while you're walking, you have the time and capacity to develop a plan of attack.

(If you're in AA, the Arb is 100% the most beautiful place to take your refreshing walk on campus.)

2. Meditate

Meditation doesn't have to look as aesthetic as this, I promise. It's as simple as finding a relatively quiet place, closing your eyes and focusing only on your breathing. Try your hardest not to think about anything, to just breath in and out. Picture a floating orb that gets bigger as you inhale and smaller as you exhale. This has a really calming effect when you're anxious. You're forced to relax and reset, and it brings your heart rate down so you can think more clearly.

3. Just breathe

Sometimes, finding a place to meditate isn't always feasible. But you can always stop where you are and breathe. Apple's breathe function on the iWatch sends you reminders throughout the day to complete a breathe session, calling it mindful minutes. If you just stop for one minute, and focus on breathing no matter what's around you, it has the same effect as meditating. It clears your mind and makes you feel so much calmer.

4. Take a shower

I feel like showers are the most perfect solution to all and any problems. Stressed? Take a shower. Angry? Take a shower. Writer's block? Take a shower. Sad? Take a shower. Showers are perfect, because as the water beats down on you and as you massage your hair or your body, you're relaxing your muscles and letting your blood flow. It wakes you up and something about being clean makes you feel more ready to take on the challenge.

5. Write in a journal

We write to find out what we think. Writing is one of the best ways to be mindful of yourself and your feelings and thoughts. Whenever I'm feeling anxious and can't quite pinpoint why, I write. I describe what I'm feeling, and what things are going on in my life at that moment that could be stressing me out. I make a list of all those things, and try to detail what about each thing is bothering me. But, the most important step is that I go back and write about possible solutions or just words of encouragement about each issue. It's usually incredibly effective. It might seem cheesy, but logically going each of your stressors and taking the time to understand why they're bothering you and how you can go about solving it-- it actually makes a big difference.

6. Watch some television

Distractions aren't all bad. If it's taking your mind off of your anxiety attack, it could actually be quite helpful. Watch whatever you love, but preferably something funny. Comedy and laughing reminds you to take it easy and that life doesn't have to be so serious all the time. Try to relax and unwind your tension. Don't watch a drama or thriller or horror movie, because that'll just stress you out more, most likely.

7. Turn it off

When you can, turn everything off. Zip up your backpack, put your phone on do not disturb, shut down your laptop, and just take a night in. Personal days are incredibly important to your mental health. You cannot be "on" all the time. It just doesn't work that way. And no one expects you to be. No deadline or due date is more important that your mental health and sanity. So, when you can afford it, or when you just really need it, take a day off for yourself. Keeping yourself disengaged from the constant buzz of media, even if it's just for a few hours, provides such a fresh perspective, and a much more positive one at that.

Above all, remember that you are strong and that you can and will get through this. You can do it. If you need more assistance, ask. Always ask for help, never suffer in silence.

For UMich students, consider visiting Counseling and Pyschological Services (CAPS) located in the Michigan Union at the top floor. They have wonderful resources to help you relax, recover, and get help if you need it.

Cover Image Credit: pexels

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I Woke up In The Middle Of The Night To Write About My Fears, They're Worse Than The Dark

One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.


It is one of those nights when I am tired, but for some reason, I can't seem to fall asleep. So, what do I do? I pull out my laptop, and I begin to write. Who knows where it will lead. It could lead to a killer article or something that does not make sense. I mean it is almost 2 A.M. In my mind, that's pretty late.

Anyways, let's do this thing.

Like many people, thoughts seem to pile up in my head at this time. It could be anything from a time when I was younger to embarrassing stories to wondering why I am "wasting" my time somewhere to thoughts about the future. All of these things come at me like a wildfire. One minute I'm thinking about what I want to do after college next thing I know I'm remembering the time I tried talking to a boy and choked on my spit.

The thought that is going through my mind as I write this is about the future. It's about the future of my fears. Let me explain. I have multiple fears. Some of my fears I can hide pretty well, others I am terrible at hiding. My fears may seem silly to some. While others might have the same fears. Shall we start?

1. My career

I don't know where to begin with this one. For as long as I can remember, my consistent dream job has been working in the world of sports, specifically hockey. A career in sports can be and is a challenging thing. The public eye is on you constantly. A poor trade choice? Fans are angry. Your team sucks? "Fans" are threatening to cheer for someone else if you can't get your sh*t together. You can be blamed for anything and everything. Whether you are the coach, general manager, owner, it does not matter. That's terrifying to me, but for some reason, I want to work for a team.

2. My family

Julie Fox

Failing with my family, whether that be the family I was born into or my future family, it terrifies me. I have watched families around me fall apart and I have seen how it has affected them. Relationships have fallen apart because of it. I have heard people talk about how much they hate one of their parents because of what happened. I don't want that.

3. Time

This could be a dumb fear. I'm not sure, but I fear time. With every minute that passes, I am just another minute closer to the end. With every day that passes that I am not accomplishing goals or dreams I have, I am losing precious time. It scares me to think of something horrible like "What if I die tomorrow because of something horrific?" or even worse, "What if I don't make it through today?" It's terrible, I know.

4. Forgetting precious memories

When I was younger, I had brain surgery. It is now much harder for me to remember things. I am truly terrified that I am going to forget things I will want to hold close to me forever, but I won't be able to. I am scared I'll forget about the little things that mean a lot. I'm afraid of forgetting about old memories that may disappear. I'm worried that I'll forget about something like my wedding day. That might seem out of this world, but it's a reality for me.

5. Saying "goodbye"

I hate saying bye. It is one of my least favorite things. Saying bye, especially to people I don't know when I'll see again, is a stab in the heart for me. I love my people so much. I love being around them. I love laughing with them. Thought of never having a hello with them again scares me beyond belief.

6. Leaving places that I love

Alright, let me start off by saying this- it takes a lot for me to love a place. It has to feel like home. It has to make me feel comfortable. It has to be a place I can go to and be myself. Thankfully, I have had and still have multiple places that are like that. I have also had places I could not wait to leave. I think that's why leaving places I love is so hard and something I fear so much. I am afraid I'll never get that place "back", for lack of a better term. I guess, I'm trying to say, it's like a piece of me is leaving as well.

These six things are just the start of my fears. Some of these might seem "dumb" or "ridiculous" to you, but for me, it's my life. These are the things that I think about the most. These are the things that feel like a pit in my stomach. These six things are parts of my life that mean a lot to me.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Heinrichs

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Take a Breath, Because Your Anxiety Doesn't Define You No More Than Anything Else Does

Having anxiety sucks. There's really no other way to put it.


Feeling yourself slowly slip away from reality and lose the ability to think straight is something no one should have to endure, yet millions of Americans have it. People from different childhoods, different memories, and different stresses all united by one common enemy: anxiety.

And that's what anxiety is, an enemy. There's a constant battle between its demons and positivity inside someone's mind. When anxiety wins, it seems like a nightmare come true at times.

It's almost impossible to describe anxiety to someone who doesn't have it. Those moments when all of the sudden you can't think straight, there's a faint buzzing in your head that grows louder and louder the more you try to tune it out, and the overwhelming desire to crawl up into a corner, turn off the lights and avoid anything and everything isn't an easy thing to communicate.

And the symptoms are different for everyone. Anxiety isn't identical from one person to the next; there are different triggers that set off a different array of emotions. For those of you who don't suffer from these attacks, please know one thing: we don't have total control over ourselves during these moments. For me, nothing makes sense in the midst of an anxiety attack. The more I try to think through everything happening in my head, the more confusion swarms my thoughts.

But, despite all of these moments where it feels like some invisible walls are crashing down around you, anxiety does not make you any less of a person. Anxiety is one piece to the complex puzzle that makes you, you. For all of the times filled with fear, anger or frustration, you can wake up the next morning a little bit a calmer with a much better frame of mind. Even though anxiety can sneak up on you at the strangest times, it makes you know that you can survive almost anything that is thrown at you.

But, no matter how many inner fights you're facing or how many anxiety attacks you've suffered, you're the same person you were yesterday and will be tomorrow. If anything, you're a little bit better because you survived another moment you thought you couldn't.

Cover Image Credit:

Hailey Reed

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