Every college student would probably admit that he/she felt anxiety attack them at some point or another in the school year. Whether you struggle with diagnosed anxiety or just feel the stress of school is too much, I have definitely been there. I know this is a serious, huge issue that can sometimes seem hopeless, but there are ways out of it. The way it seems when you're in the midst of it is not actually the way it is or has to be.
Below is a list of five things that are helping me beat my own anxieties.
1. Drink water and breathe.
I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing the whole “drink more water!” tip in regards to every single health-related thing. But, obviously there is a reason this is always mentioned, and often mentioned first. This cools and calms you down when you’re feeling overheated due to a panic attack. It also shifts your focus from your stress to your internal health, which is key because when we’re anxious, our whole body seems to react to it.
The second part of this tip, focusing on your breathing, seems so obvious and simple, yet it really is something you have to master. Breathe deeply and slowly, counting how long each breath takes you. For me it can take about five seconds or longer for one long inhale and exhale. By letting go of these breaths, you're also letting go of the things too heavy for you to keep carrying, and you can start to breathe out with relief.
2. Organize. Anything.
Often, internal “clutter” and stress can be caused by external disorganization. When you feel overwhelmed, cleaning your room and making your outside environment less stressful to live in can help heaps.
Make time to organize your class notes and folders. I promise you’ll thank yourself for it later. You can also use this time to rewrite your notes or just to review them as you organize, which can actually be an efficient study method and will cut time out of your next cramming sesh.
3. Switch study spots.
If you’re constantly in your room or at a certain spot in the library while you study, you may find yourself overwhelmed when you walk into these places, because you recognize them as stressful, work places.
So, this tip is to simply move into a different room. It could be from your bedroom into the living room, or from a chair by the window to a chair downstairs near other students studying quietly. This way, you’re switching up environments, and mentally, your mind will “switch gears,” too.
4. Realize it for what it is—an attack.
There's a reason we call panic attacks "panic attacks".This means it’s something you’ll have to actually fight. It will attack, but you’ll feel it coming on and eventually be able to fight it before it fully hits. You’ll consciously have to change your thoughts and say “no” to the panic in your head. At first it will feel strange to go against your initial thoughts, but eventually it will come naturally; Then the anxious thoughts will become the strange thoughts.
You’ll see how you got through whatever you were worried about, and you’ll know you can do it again.
5. Cling to the One who can calm your storm.
This final tip is the greatest, most efficient one I could give you. God has, time and time again, proven to be more powerful than any situation we ever have or ever will face. He is greater. He calms storm after storm, even the ones inside you.
“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” Psalm 61:2