Advice for attacking anxiety

Eleanor Fishbourne

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Anxiety, to me, feels like I’m constantly in the deep end of the pool and I can’t quite touch the bottom. I’m constantly paddling in place and trying not to drown. It wears me down. Some days are good and others I don’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s a constant pain that I face every day, and as finals approach, all the stress is really coming at students full speed. So I put together some tips for getting through anxiety and the next few weeks of immense stress and school work.

  1. Make a schedule and surround yourself with calming company.

This is the oldest trick in the book but one of the best. If you set aside specific time for studying you will be more likely to get things done and in turn be less stressed. Try studying with a friend and keeping each other motivated. One of the worst things when you are anxious is to be alone and keep worrying. Having someone there to keep you accountable really helps.

  1. Make sure you are getting enough sleep.

If you are tired on top of being anxious, it is only going to add to the drowning feeling. I know if I am tired I feel even less motivated than usual which makes me worry more about getting things done. Sleep is so important to make you feel better.  

  1. Go outside.

Sometimes my anxiety hits the hardest when I am locked in my room staring at a screen for long periods of time. Take breaks and work in short bursts. This way you won’t get too wrapped up in the current moment and the current anxiety. Going outside helps you see the bigger picture and realize that these things don’t really matter after all. One of my favorite things to do when I am feeling anxious is to sit on a blanket with my best friend and bask in the sunshine. I know it seems silly but breathing in the fresh air really does clear the weight from my chest and it is a tip I always pass along.

  1. Eat well.

When I am my most anxious I will forget to eat or chow down on comfort foods, which in the end just makes me feel worse. Not eating while anxious makes me extra shaky, and I feel like I can’t move or do anything. It adds to my lethargic feeling that I am not good enough. If you drink lots of water and stay away from the chocolate it might help settle your uneasy stomach. It always makes me feel way more fresh and revitalized when I don’t eat large amounts of sugar. Being someone who has frequent run-ins with my old pal anxiety, I am slowly trying to cut down on my sugar and additives intake in general, and it has done me wonders so far.

  1. Cry if you need to; it’s so cathartic.

I am the biggest advocate for crying. It is like therapy that you can give yourself. If you are feeling an anxiety attack coming on, grab it by the horns and let out all of your feelings. Put on “Forrest Gump” and really sob your heart out. After having a little pity party I always feel quite relieved. We live in a very privileged society and are often told not to complain about all the good things we have and to always be grateful. I definitely agree with this sentiment, but at the same time we all need to be a bit selfish once in awhile. And that’s what anxiety is — at least it is for me. The little problems become the biggest problems in the world and it is difficult to see the big picture.

  1. Come to terms with imperfection.

Of course I’m speaking from my own personal experiences with anxiety but a large amount of mine stems from the need to be perfect. I always want the things I create to be perfect. While it is good to set high goals for yourself, I have had to learn to come to terms with knowing that I can only put my best effort forward. It is okay to get a bad grade sometimes. There is no need to stress about every little assignment. These are two things I have to always remind myself of, because at the end of the day, I am my own worst critic.

Anxiety is something that many students struggle with, and though these tips surely won’t cure it, I hope that some of them might help you get through it.