With exams this week and a new semester about to begin the question everyone is asking is “are you anxiety aware”?
As college students, stress and anxiety may be all too familiar. Exams, change, graduation and job interviews are not easy and can lead to stress or overwhelming feelings. Anxiety is not something to keep a secret. It is completely normal, so there is no reason not to talk about it. Anxiety is a common reaction to fear prior to a big event or stressful situation, and it can even be helpful. Anxiety can make you more alert, motivate you to face challenges and enhance your performance.
However, if anxiety does not go away or gets too overwhelming, it can lead to decreased performance or can impact other areas of your life, like your relationships. Stopping your anxiety from becoming overwhelming is possible, and can include changing your habits or attitudes. Remember the five adjectives below, and work towards reducing stress and dealing with anxiety.
Five Adjectives for Overcoming Anxiety
Being mindful means being aware, accepting and appreciative of the present moment, including your thoughts and actions. We are often quick to judge ourselves, which can lead to cognitive distortions. These distorted judgments about ourselves are bought on by negative thinking or rehashing the past.
Focus on the present moment by connecting with the five senses and being aware of the nature of your thoughts, especially when you feel anxious. Avoid generalizations, cognitive distortions, or thinking in black and white. Let go of negative thoughts and build your self-confidence by being mindful.
Being active is described as being in a state of existence, progress or motion. Always be engaged with what you do. Learn what triggers your anxiety, and if you can, take action to avoid those things. If you cannot avoid them, learn relaxation techniques to reduce your anxiety and think more clearly about them. You will be more prepared for stressful situations when they come. It is also important to be active with your choices. Learn to say no. If you pile too much on, it will spill over into a pool of stress and anxiety. Take action and move forward into a progressive and positive existence.
The word originated in the early 15th century as a descriptor for something capable of being bent. Today, it is a much more versatile word that can describe personalities, lifestyles and schedules. Be adaptable, willing to yield. Basically, give your life some wiggle room.
To overcome anxiety, learn to reframe situations, stop trying to control the uncontrollable, and let go of anger and the idea of perfection. We live in an imperfect world. Do not hold anyone, including yourself, to that standard of “perfection.” Strive for excellence not perfection, and do not try to fix other people. Let go of negativity and stress by being flexible.
When we are stressed, our lives are usually out of balance. I know I experience stress when I have so much work I have to compromise on sleep. By finding balance, you will be in a harmonious state of mental, emotional and physical confidence and focus. Little imbalances like fatigue or poor nutrition can cause a drop in focus and confidence, leading to anxiety or a negative mood.
Try to find your balance by nourishing your body and mind. Get enough sleep, eat well, and take time to relax, exercise or meditate. Feed your brain with foods high in protein and reduce your caffeine intake. Get active by trying out the services offered by Campus Recreation, and take 10 minutes to relax with this meditation app. You can also attend workshops on meditation or relaxation from the Counseling Center.
Tolerant. Composed. Gentle. Understanding. When anxiety does arise, understand that it is a normal reaction. Do not be hard on yourself. Give yourself time, take a few deep breaths, and remember all the other adjectives above. You can be mindful, active, flexible, and centered with a little patience and practice. Self-confidence, meditation, and mindfulness take growth and do not appear overnight. Overcoming anxiety will take time, but that is not something to worry about.