Anxiety is a way for our body and mind to tell us we are fearful, nervous or uncomfortable in a situation. Many times people don’t even realize this is what they are feeling or not sure how to define it.

Your body typically responds with a racing heartbeat, nervous energy, jitteriness, stomach pains, shaking or worry. Although it can be very normal, sometimes it prevents us from social encounters, events, completing projects or studying, or getting involved in the world. Our immediate response is to get rid of it! So we avoid the tasks or circumstances that will cause it or try to work through it.

College life can be very anxiety-producing. Meeting new people, living with someone for the first time, living on your own without parental supervision, newfound freedom and a heavy load of schoolwork on top! It can be overwhelming and cause feelings of anxiety and stress. So now what do you do? There are ways to help work through the anxiety –

  • Exercise – this helps to get rid of the nervous energy and stress that runs through you physically. Try to exercise consistently but especially during moments when anxiety has kicked into high gear.
  • Write things down – start a journal, make a chart, or make a schedule. By writing things down you are getting the thoughts out of your head and can see them more clearly and objectively because the emotion is taken out of it.
  • One small step at a time – you may have many things to do or tackle that are overwhelming you. Break everything up into small and manageable steps. You will be surprised how much easier things become and how much you can accomplish.
  • Set realistic goals – only do what you really can. Everyone has limits so be realistic about your time or your situation. For example, if you have a roommate you don’t get along with; give it a time limit and various ways to make the relationship better. If within that timeframe it doesn’t work, make a plan for a new place to live and the steps you need to take to make that happen. If you know it is temporary, it makes it less stressful.
  • Be kind to yourself – do things you enjoy to distract yourself and make you feel better. Whether it is listening to music, reading, drawing, running, playing games, or watching a show.
  • Make yourself the priority – take care of yourself and your needs. Eat healthy, exercise, talk about your feelings, take the time to do relax and work hard on the things that are important to you.

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