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Study related anxiety & stress and how to cope

Posted Jul 01 2012 12:00am

Intro from Carla: My university years have been over for quite some time, but I remember the stress like it was yesterday! Lectures, assignments, studying for exams and writing a dissertation are not easy things to balance out. I remember feeling constantly panicked, like there was never enough time for my course work. If truth be told, I would have much preferred to be out with my friends enjoying life, but education and studying are important life’s steps for many of us. We choose the academic path with the hope that it will lead us to a better future. This article is about the different kinds of anxieties students deal with and how you can maintain your Zen, whilst studying at Uni or college. 

For many adolescents, starting freshman year at college requires relocating to a new city or state and altering their lifestyle and living arrangements. This transitional time, even for upperclassmen, is then combined with the preexisting pressure to achieve good grades and decide on a career path during a poor economy – all while maintaining a healthy social life with peers.

It’s understandable that some students would feel conflicted upon hearing from parents or others that this time is also supposed to be the best time of their life. These conflicting expectations and ideals can create anxiety that interferes with their everyday life.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders affect 18% of adults in the U.S., making them the most common mental illnesses among Americans.

Anxiety refers to a spectrum of mental illnesses characterized by anxiety, worry and fear. These include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), as well as particular phobias.

Brief Descriptions

  • OCD: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder – Reoccurring, ritualistic routines or thoughts.
  • PTSD: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – A prolonged state of depression and anxiety resulting from a tragic event or series of events.
  • GAD: Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Persistent worrying regarding situations in everyday life and subsequent anticipation of negative events.

Fast Fix (EFT): EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT is a natural, psychological acupressure technique thought to decrease negative emotions and other feelings of psychological discomfort. It is done by using fingertips from both hands to repeatedly tap various points of the body such as the collarbone, top of head, and underneath eyes, nose and eyebrows.

Back to the Basics: Making the decision to be proactive about your anxiety can help you gain a greater sense of control over your worries and fears. The good news is that there are many lifestyle habits you can easily adopt: a healthy, balanced diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise.

Make a timeline: Give yourself dates for when you would like to complete anxiety-producing expectations or tasks. Early, thoughtful planning followed by a gradual completion of tasks will make the overall project or goal (ex: being prepared for a final exam) less overwhelming.

Break it up: For example, if you need to study for an upcoming Spanish exam, devote separate durations of time beforehand to study various aspects of what you need to study (vocabulary, grammar, reading comprehension, etc.). Once you have mastered one aspect, you will have more confidence to move onto the others. Breaking up your task into segments will help you adopt a viewpoint that your goal is achievable and thus, less anxiety producing.

Communicate with Others: Communicate your feelings with people you trust and respect. For some, simply expressing distress or discomfort helps significantly. However, if communicating with others or self-expression through a journal do not provide you the relief you desire, I encourage you to seek assistance from a mental health professional .

About the Author:  Lauren Atwell is a freelance writer and fitness enthusiast living and loving life in North Dallas.

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