How To Deal With Anxiety While Pursuing Your Studies
A is for Anxiety
School, at any level, can be a time of excitement, learning, self-discovery, and new experiences. Throughout our academic journey, we often have to adjust to new environments, information, and other series of changes in ourselves, both mentally and physically. As exciting and fascinating as change can be, there are several obstacles that can be encountered along the way. Many of us suffer from stress and become overwhelmed by the changes occurring. This then may develop into a form of anxiety disorder along the way.
Improve Your Anxious Feelings
Those of us who are aware of this often don’t know the first thing to do to ease the anxiety we feel. Some of us even believe that it is normal so we accept it without seeking ways to prevent, stop, or improve the anxiety. We don’t have to settle. There are things we can do to deal with our anxious feelings and alleviate the effects of our anxiety disorders.
Here Are A Few Ways On How To Deal With Anxiety
- Don’t think too much. Most of us can testify to being victims of overthinking. We pick through situations in our minds over and over again until we become stressed about it. Sometimes, it is only after we have worried and then survived the situation, that we finally calm down. Look at it like this: the fact that the situation has passed and you’re still alive is logical evidence that your worrying, in the beginning, was in vain. You may have an assignment due that you’re unsure will be submitted on time, or you may have an exam and you don’t feel confident that you’ll do well. You may even be scared to interact with your classmates and other persons in your school environment. This continuous, intense worry goes on to impair your overall performance – the same performance you were anxious about. In situations like this, try to focus on the present. Don’t think about what the past held or what the future may hold. Focus on what is happening now and take the situation or task one minute at a time until it is over.
- Sleep well. Your sleep affects and is affected by, everything. Sleep is absolutely necessary for survival and overall daily operation. While attending any institution, you must get at least six hours of sleep daily. High anxiety levels on their own can cause loss of sleep or trouble remaining asleep. This is another cycle in which we often become trapped. We lose sleep because we are anxious then we become anxious because we have lost sleep. With this cycle, we may find that we become less able to function to the best of our ability in classes and situations which require much mental effort. We fall asleep in classes, struggle with problem-solving, and lose our appetite (which will, in turn, further decrease our energy levels). Sleeping well is extremely important.
- Things we can do to have better sleep are:
- Keep a fixed bedtime schedule.
- Doing exercise at any time of the day.
- Doing relaxing activities before bed, like reading.
- Setting the right sleep environment, including where you place your bed, the brightness of the light in your sleeping area, playing some soft music, and adjusting the room temperature just how you like it.
- Try to resolve conflicts and finish important work before bed. If you are too tired to finish, stop, and write your list of unfinished things to put your mind at ease that they will be completed.
- Keep a fixed bedtime schedule.
- Things we can do to have better sleep are:
- Don’t be afraid to pause. When you feel overwhelmed, take a break. Schoolwork can become very demanding and become a strain on your physical and mental health. The consistent pressure is too much for some people to handle so, instead of finding a healthy solution, they fall into a cycle of anxiety. Whenever you feel like there is just too much going on and you’re just barely handling it…pause. Take a deep breath, drink some tea, or even take a short walk. Find whatever healthy way that works for you. Find a way to ease your mind then continue your work or your previous activity with a clearer and more relaxed mind. Don’t worry about whatever it is that you’re leaving behind because if you don’t take care of your mental health, you won’t be able to do it anyway.
- Don’t be so quick to believe yourself. Many times your anxious thoughts are irrational. For example, you may feel as though you will fail a test that you studied for, or that you will be laughed at and mocked as soon as you stand in front of a group of persons. Despite having no logical evidence whatsoever that this will happen, you allow yourself to believe these thoughts and you become anxious, sometimes even becoming physically ill as a result. Again, stop, think, challenge yourself and be brave. Question yourself, “Will they really laugh at me if I talk in front of them?”, “How can I fail if I’ve studied for this test?”, then you will see that, oftentimes, there are no sensible answers to these questions. By doing this, you can face the situation more relaxed and in a calmer frame of mind. This would not only end up making you feel better, but you will complete the task that you were initially anxious about more effectively.
- Leave patterns behind. With worry and anxious thoughts come behaviors that we may have developed in order to calm ourselves down. Whether we eat a particular food, complete specific rituals or routines, or resort to specific behaviors, there are activities that we have found to ease our anxiety so we continue to do them without noticing that they are a part of the problem. From our perspective, this is simply the thing that provides some calm and comfort, if even just for a while, so we do it without much thought as long as it continues to provide comfort. Even if it ceases to ease our anxiety, we will go and seek other methods. Falling into the pattern of worrying, overthinking, then executing comfort activities for momentary calm before the process starts again. It is a pattern that must be broken because facilitating the relief, which is a part of the cycle, only opens the door for the other components of the cycle — worrying and overthinking.
- Allow yourself to feel fear. Fear is a natural occurrence in human life. When you find that you are anxious, you feel a crippling fear of going against anxious thoughts and the routine you’ve grown accustomed to, but remember, pause, take a breath, and question yourself. Find out if your fear is valid. If you can’t come up with an answer for your questions, your anxiety is likely to be irrational and there is no real reason for worry, so face the fear. Do what you were anxious to do, resist the urge to perform the activities you normally would to calm down, and you will see that, most of the time, you will emerge just fine.
- Try to identify the causes. Try to become a little more conscious and observant of your own behavior. Make note of the things you do which make you more anxious and work on identifying them so that you can change this behavior, and in turn, lessen your anxiety. Additionally, observe the events and things in your environment that negatively affect your anxiety levels. Each time you realize that you’re becoming more anxious, try to set aside some time to do some reflection. Think back to the events surrounding your increased anxiety and look out for it next time. When you become more aware you will be able to change the process of your rising anxiety and your anxious responses to situations will gradually improve.
- Read about it. Never hesitate to seek more information. Today, information about almost anything you can think of it literally at your fingertips. Get to know anxiety. Do some research and try to understand exactly what you’re going through. The better you understand this, the better you will understand yourself, the reasons for some of your actions, and how to improve.
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