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Dealing with anxiety

Dealing with anxiety

The Best Coping Mechanisms to Deal with Anxiety

Life can get stressful when you’re a high school, college, or university student. 

As if all the assignments, tests and exams aren’t enough, you may also be working a part-time job, participating in extracurricular activities, and dealing with some family or personal issues. All these pressures can cause anxiety, which makes it hard to concentrate, take in new information, and perform at your best.

Having some anxiety coping mechanisms will help you regain a sense of calm and empower you to deal with life’s challenges and fulfill your many obligations. Here are five tips to help you manage your anxiety and be your best self.

Build a solid support network

Having people to talk to, confide in, and support you can make a world of difference in managing anxiety. Sometimes all it takes is another understanding person to provide perspective, give feedback, or share how they handled a similar situation to help you feel better about yourself and work out a path forward.

Your support network may include family, friends, student academic support counsellors, or healthcare professionals. 

Most post-secondary academic institutions provide free and confidential student mental health services. There are also numerous online resources that can help you, as well as organizations like Anxiety Canada to connect you to professional resources. 

Tackle challenges one piece at a time

Not only will this help reduce anxiety, but it will also help you to pace yourself and become more efficient. 

For example, on your next assignment, break down each task you need to get done (understanding of assignment, research, thesis, introduction, first draft, proofing, etc.) and write down each item on a checklist. 

Give yourself a timeline by when you want to get each task completed. Each smaller task you complete brings you one step closer to getting the bigger task done. How great is that?  

Set goals

Goal setting is a key skill to achieving success and is a helpful tool in managing all aspects of your life – whether it be school, work, family, finances, health, and fitness. 

The trick to successful goal setting is to make your goals realistic, concrete and achievable within a specified time frame. A great way to go about this is by committing to writing your goals down. This can help you keep focused and committed to achieving them. 

For more information on how to get started with goal setting, check out Anxiety Canada’s Guide for Goal Setting.

Take relaxation breaks

Whether it’s deep breathing, meditation, or guided imagery, calming your mind and body is a great anxiety buster. 

Think of your relaxation break as a mini-vacation. 

Let your mind wander to a happy place, maybe by listening to some enjoyable soothing music, taking a walk, or a long soak in the tub. Feel the pressures melt away and rejuvenate yourself to handle the challenges of student life once again.

Eat well, exercise and sleep regularly

Get the day off to a good start with a hardy breakfast that includes protein to keep your blood sugars even and prevent hunger. Also be sure to include a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. 

Even slight dehydration can affect your mood and ability to function. Avoid caffeine because it jolts the nervous system and can make your anxiety symptoms worse. 

Exercise is a great at relieving stress and anxiety, and it doesn’t have to include hours at the gym. A brief, brusque walk in the fresh air can often do the trick. 

Finally, try to get enough sleep, because high-quality sleep fosters attention and concentration. It can also actually prevent the body from stress-inducing neurotransmitter imbalances, which can help you get the most out of every day!