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March 20, 2019

March Your Anxiety to the Curb

By: Katelyn Lee, Counseling Center staff

Anxiety comes in many forms. It’s a racing heart at the thought of leaving class to use the bathroom. It’s lying awake at night replaying the day’s events in your head over and over (and over). It’s skipping lunch at Garlock because the thought of going into such a crowded place makes you cringe. It’s that feeling of wanting to crawl out of your own skin for no good reason. It’s sore neck muscles from being tense or sweat stains under your arms after giving a presentation.

Anxiety affects nearly one in five college students and is the number one reason why students seek support through college counseling centers nationwide. It can impact every aspect of life – physical, emotional, social, occupational, and educational, to name a few.

When anxiety escalates to the point of being debilitating and causes repeated absences from work or school, avoidance of social situations, decreased grades or work performance, and health problems like gastrointestinal issues or headaches, it’s time to seek support. Make an appointment at the Counseling Center or with another mental health professional in the community. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your experiences in a safe space and will give you tools to combat the anxiety that has begun to permeate every aspect of your life. You may also benefit from talking with a psychiatrist or your primary doctor about trialing a medication to help with your symptoms.

Regardless of the severity level of your anxiety, there are many things you can start doing today to start addressing your anxiety.

  1. Download a (free!) meditation app like Calm, Headspace, or Insight Timer. Spending just a few minutes a day practicing meditation has been proven to decrease anxiety levels and even improve blood pressure.
  2. Walk, run, row, or spin your anxiety away and get your endorphins flowing.
  3. Start a gratitude journal and write down a few things about each day that you are thankful for.
  4. Listen to relaxing music or nature sounds.
  5. Practice deep breathing (inhale to a count of four, hold breath for a count of seven, exhale for a count of eight).
  6. Organize your room and make your bed. Decluttering your space helps you feel more centered and less chaotic.
  7. Make lists to declutter your brain and prioritize your assignments and obligations.
  8. Decrease time spent on social media. Studies actually show that social media usage increases depression and anxiety levels.
  9. Use positive self-talk. Say encouraging things to yourself. Push away negative thoughts.
  10. Surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging to you.
  11. Spend time in prayer. “When anxiety was great within me your consolation brought me joy.” Psalm 94:19

April 1 – 7 is Mental Health Awareness Week on campus. Take advantage of one of the (free!) Mindfulness Groups being offered: Tuesday, Apr. 2 from 12:15-1:15pm (upper fireplace corner of library) or Wednesday, Apr. 3 from 12-1pm (VAC 200). No reservation required!

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