Freshman voice: How to reduce anxiety in college

Anxiety is something we all deal with. From stress overloads to irrational anxiety, we all experience it, especially in a new atmosphere such as college. You may have found a system to release stress in high school, but college is a whole new territory. There are some things you can do daily in order to prevent anxiety from taking over your conscious mind. Here are some I have come up with:

  1.     Make “you” time.

One of the most important things to do is make time for yourself. It is important to have little to no distractions. Take this time to pick up daily journaling, read a book, or pick up on that season of the Office you never got back to (trust me, you have to finish it, it’s life changing).

  1.     Eat healthy!

Let me elaborate on this, you do not have to go on some crazy health cleanse to consider yourself healthy. Try to keep a nutritious mind and figure out what works best for you. Cook for yourself and/or avoid fast food. You do not have to completely eliminate sweets from your life, after all those dining hall cookies are amazing, so treat yourself.

(Photo courtesy of Laura Beswick on Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo courtesy of Laura Beswick on Flickr Creative Commons)

  1.     Avoid caffeine.

Yes, I am saying that Starbucks drink is bad for you. When you are trying to study, the most important thing is to stay relaxed. If you begin your cram session on five cups of coffee, you are never going to get anything done. You will become jittery and out of focus. Caffeine causes anxious thoughts and this will prevent you from staying productive. Eat a protein bar, drink a smoothie and get it all done. This will also help you will be able to sleep soundly and be prepared for that midterm.

  1.     Exercise.

This does not have to be a complicated workout routine. Go to the gym a couple of times a week, take the long way to class for an extended walk or try something new! Go take a yoga class! Find what works best for you and you will be surprised how good it makes you feel.

 

 

  1.     Go out with your friends.

Make time to go out and socialize. When you go into homework stress overload, take a break and treat yourself to a nice dinner out with a friend. Sometimes a little distraction is good in order to become more productive, just be careful to not let it eventually prevent you from attacking your original goal.

  1.     See your family regularly.

Many people go away to college with the intention of being free from parental restraints and family bonding. Suddenly it is just like eighth grade where being seen with your mom in Target is the most embarrassing thing in the world. No one is going to be embarrassed or find you uncool if you miss your family. Everyone feels the same way here, we’re all on the same boat. For me, family is so important in keeping myself together. When you move and throw yourself into a completely new arena, family time can bring back a little taste of home. This can bring safety and courage when things get tough. Make time to call your mom at least once a week or facetime your little brother. It means as much to them as it will to you.

(Photo courtesy of takao goto on Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo courtesy of takao goto on Flickr Creative Commons)

  1.     Organize your time and set reasonable goals.

If you organize your time you will not have to ever procrastinate. Do not get me wrong, I will typically end up having a few late nights at the library, most people cannot avoid this. Our professors believe we have more than 24 hour days in this universe and they are not going to budge on that. In the end, if you make specific time for studying and other responsibilities, set reasonable goals that you can truly complete and have level expectations for yourself, the likelihood of all-nighters and panic attacks might decrease.

  1.     Stay off of your phone.

This is the most difficult method, but surprisingly the most effective. Putting down your phone and finding other ways to entertain your brain is extremely important in calming daily anxiety. Looking at social media as soon as you get up and right before you go to bed begins and ends your day with anxiety. The second you open up Instagram, you begin comparing your life to the people behind the screen. You cannot constantly compare yourself to Bernie Sanders. No one can ever be as wonderful, amazing and beautiful as him. No person on this planet can compete with him. These constant comparisons create a film in your mind forcing you to not accept the amazing life you have been given. Put it down, and fill your mind with positive ideas. I am not saying you should never look at social media, it is just not the way to begin and end a day.

Everyone deals with anxiety. For me, it is a constant burden that alters my mood, affects my decision making and makes me lose self-esteem. I have found a system that works and when personalized, can work for anyone who deals with it. Try these things out and take control of your stress. The only person that can change the turnout of each day is you.

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