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Coping with Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of the human experience. Although uncomfortable at times, it can be helpful. Learn how to cope with everyday anxiety, and when you need to seek treatment.
Female students talking outside
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal emotion that can be identified by feelings of fear, pressure, and worry in reaction to a stressful situation. The way anxiety presents is personal, so symptoms can vary from person to person, and situation to situation.

Anxiety can be a catalyst for enhanced performance and problem solving. It can help you remain focused on the matters that need your attention most. It can also be a protection.

However, when anxiety becomes overwhelming, daunting, and regularly interferes with your everyday life, you may have an anxiety disorder. It's important to distinguish between typical anxiety responses to important or dangerous situations, and unhealthy anxiety symptoms that may require professional treatment.

SIGNS OF ANXIETY

Some common signs of anxiety include:

Physical

  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pains and cramping

Behavioral

  • Avoiding situations because they cause anxiety
  • Consistently watching for signs of danger
  • Checking and rechecking
  • Trouble concentrating

Feelings and Thoughts

  • Often worried, tense, or on edge
  • Consistently Irritable
  • Regularly believing something bad will happen
  • Prone to expect or anticipate the worst outcome
Student working on documents
When to Seek Professional Help
If you find that symptoms of anxiety are overwhelming your ability to function in daily tasks, it may be time to consider seeking the help of your physician. These symptoms may include:

  • Panic attacks
  • Excessive and unreasonable fear related to certain things or situations
  • Constant fear of socializing or performing in front of others
  • Excessive, uncontrollable anxiety on most days for six months or more.
Effective treatments for anxiety disorders include psychotherapy and medication, and have been proven to provide lasting relief for most people.

SELF-HELP COPING TECHNIQUES

If you have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, counseling and/or medication can help. However, not everyone who experiences anxiety needs to be treated in this way. Many people have found relief using self-help strategies to reduce anxiety symptoms. These strategies include:

Physical

  • Exercising regularly
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Avoiding or minimizing caffeine consumption

Behavioral

  • Practicing deep breathing, meditation, and/or grounding techniques
  • Spending time with friends, family, and others you care about
  • Doing things you enjoy or engaging in a distracting activity
  • Focusing on things you can control instead of those you can’t
  • Taking small steps to deal with anxiety-inducing situations instead of avoiding them all together
  • Doing your best, but not demanding perfection

Thoughts and Emotions

  • Replacing extreme thoughts with more realistic ones
  • Imagining the best outcome instead of the worst
  • Focusing on the positives
  • Monitoring how you think about stress and working to change negative thoughts
  • Accepting that you can’t control everything

RESOURCES*

Ensign College Counseling Services

Help Guide on Anxiety

Ulifeline Mental Health Resources for College Students

Church of Jesus Christ Mental Health Resources

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

National Alliance of Mental Illness

You might also consider a meditation app to help you cope with daily stressors, such as:

  • Calm
  • Mindfulness Daily
  • StressScan

Need Help? Don't Wait.

If it feels like there's no other option--please know that there is! Don't wait, there are people who can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also offer a chat option through their website, www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/.

*Please note that selecting any of the outside links above will redirect you away from Ensign College's website. Because websites are constantly changing, Ensign College does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of this information.

HAVE QUESTIONS? WANT TO TALK TO SOMEONE?

The Student Success Center is here to help! Please contact us with any further questions at 801-524-8151.

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