How to manage anxiety in college students

Being at college is an exciting time, but one that also comes with its own set of unique challenges. For a student struggling with anxiety, some of these challenges can be far more difficult to cope with. It’s essential then to know how to manage anxiety at college, so that you can make the best of what should be an unforgettable time in your life.

Be the strongest version of yourself you can be: college can be an intimidating place, and this is amplified tenfold when you aren’t sure of yourself. While our personalities certainly don’t have to be fixed, and the person we are can grow and change, it’s important to think about what kind of person we want to be. Your morals and ethics, and the energy you project affect every area of life.

How is this related to anxiety? It’s the stress that comes from caring what others think about us too much, and by always being a timid people – pleaser. College is very different from a job, where politics can abound. Here, no one can influence you in any way you wouldn’t choose – not even your lecturers! In simply knowing this, you relieve yourself of a lot of pressure.

Prioritize: it’s easy to take on too much – all your coursework, classes for extra credit, ten different clubs, social commitments, and more! Having priorities is a must, and it usually comes down to what is most important for your studies (and possibly your career thereafter), and what makes you happy.

It’s good to have a relaxing hobby, and be involved in things you enjoy; but when it starts cutting into valuable time and giving you more stress than it’s worth, walk away.

Ask for help: People have a funny habit of trying to do everything alone. Being at college can sometimes mean being far away from family and friends, and also having financial difficulties, as well as problems with your coursework. If you really want to know how to manage anxiety, the answer is to ask!

Ask your lecturer for extra help if you are struggling to understand. Ask your parents if you can come down for the weekend. Ask to see the student therapist if you are struggling with emotional stress. Ask councillors to help manage finances and organize extra income for yourself; and even ask somebody for a hug if that’s what you need! See, wasn’t that simple?

Surround yourself with positive influences: this is college, and there are always going to be some questionable people around who only have their own interests at heart. Who you choose to spend your time with is going to have a big impact. Let it be people who motivate and encourage you; people who are helpful; people who inspire you; and those who you can do healthy activities with.

Take care of yourself: it can seem hard to eat healthily, exercise, and have a good sleep routine when you feel so pressed for time and have a tight budget – but it actually isn’t. The only hard part is getting into the routine, and sticking to it. Eventually they will become good habits that you practise. You can do small things such as choosing to climb stairs; walk around campus during free time; and shopping wisely using your student discount to buy healthy and cheap alternatives.

Remember your goals: you are meeting a lot of interesting people, having great times, and partying up. That’s fine! As long as you have your goals in mind and you aren’t compromising them to please or impress other people than you may do exactly as you please.

Remember, it’s your tuition, well being, and future. No one is going to make it important for you – you are the only one that can. Starting by finding out how to manage your anxiety was a great first step – it’s just up to you to keep it up.