How to Deal with Anxiety as a Student and Ace Your Exams
College students often find themselves feeling overwhelmed, over-scheduled, and full of anxiety when it comes to studying or taking exams. But why is there such an intense level of anxiety around these seemingly mundane tasks? And more importantly, how can they deal with this anxiety and ace their upcoming tests?
In this blog post, I am going to uncover the reasons why college students feel so anxious and offer solutions on how to manage this anxiety - from recognizing the symptoms of Anxiety Disorder to learning coping mechanisms and finding resources that can help.
Why is there such extreme anxiety associated with studying?
Exams and tests are often seen as a measure of a student's academic abilities and potential for success in their chosen field. As such, there is often a great deal of pressure on college students to perform well on these exams.
Additionally, college students may be faced with a variety of other stressors, such as societal expectations, financial concerns, and personal issues, that can exacerbate their anxiety around exams.
Furthermore, some students may struggle with test-taking anxiety or other forms of anxiety disorder, which can make the exam-taking experience particularly challenging.
In light of these factors, it's easy to see why college students might feel overwhelmed and anxious when it comes to exams and tests. However, some steps can be taken to manage this anxiety and improve one's chances of success.
Symptoms of Anxiety
Before we get started with anything else, it might be helpful to understand what some symptoms of anxiety look like. Anxiety is an emotion we all experience from time to time, but for some, it can become so overwhelming that it begins to interfere with day-to-day life. If you're feeling overwhelmed by anxious thoughts and emotions regularly, then you may be dealing with more than just pre-exam jitters.
Anxiety symptoms can look different for different people.
Some of the most common ones are very similar and can look like feeling overwhelmed, not having enough time, or feeling scared about something. It might be hard to concentrate on a test if you're worried or feel like you'd rather do anything else. You might freeze up and not be able to accomplish anything at all. You might also feel tired and not be able to sleep well. You could have a fast heartbeat or rapid breathing, tense muscles, or be grumpy and irritable.
Recognizing these signs can help understand if what you are experiencing is normal stress or something more serious called anxiety disorder.
What Triggers Anxiety?
Now that we understand a little better what some anxiety symptoms look like, let's talk about what causes those symptoms to show up in the first place. We all understand what a trigger is, but what are some anxiety triggers and what can they look like?
Anxiety riggers can be different for everyone. For some people, feeling overwhelmed or not having enough time can make them anxious. And on the flip side, for some having too much time on their hands can trigger their anxiety attacks. For me personally, when I know there's a deadline looming I start to get anxious, even if I know I'm on track to complete the project just fine.
Other people might get anxious if they feel scared about something. I know that I also get triggered when I have to make a difficult phone call or confront someone about an issue. If I have to talk to a professor about a grade or know there's going to be an uncomfortable situation my triggers pop out like crazy.
Triggers can manifest in so many different ways it's hard to list all of them, but these are just some ideas of what they might look like for you.
Identify and learn to manage your triggers
It's important to know your anxiety triggers so that you can be better prepared to face them when they come up. Take some time to reflect on situations that have caused you to feel anxious in the past. This can help you identify patterns and triggers.
When you feel anxious, take a moment to stop and breathe deeply. Try to focus on the present moment and challenge any negative thoughts that may be fueling your anxiety. Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga, can also help manage your anxiety.
Remember that we all experience anxiety and it is a normal part of life, and it's okay to ask for help if you need it. Don't hesitate to reach out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional for support if you start noticing these triggers coming up more frequently.
What are 6 coping strategies for dealing with anxiety?
1. Recognize the difference between normal stress and generalized anxiety disorder
Anxiety is a feeling we all have sometimes, but some people feel it more than others. Normal anxiety is a type of worry that comes and goes, while generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is when someone worries too much about lots of different things for a long time.
People with GAD can't control their worries and it makes them very nervous and scared. Anxiety disorders come in all shapes and sizes, but those that suffer from GAD are especially hard hit.
Speaking from experience, this is more than just anxious feelings that can be banished with deep breathing. Not to say that can't help because it definitely can. But physical symptoms of anxiety that lead to panic attacks and cause excessive worry, tend to manifest in someone that struggles with an anxiety disorder not just normal worrying.
2. Develop a morning routine that will help reduce anxiety levels throughout the day
Developing a morning routine that helps reduce anxiety levels throughout the day can be a game changer for those who struggle with anxiety.
Starting with a few minutes of stretching or yoga can help to calm the mind and body, while also setting a positive tone for the day ahead.
Another important aspect of a morning routine for anxiety management is ensuring a balanced and healthy breakfast. Eating a nutritious meal can help stabilize blood sugar levels and prevent mood swings or crashes throughout the day.
Additionally, incorporating mindfulness techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can help to further reduce anxiety levels and increase focus and clarity.
Finally, it's important to prioritize sleep and establish a consistent wake-up time, which can help to regulate the body's circadian rhythm and promote a sense of routine and stability.
By incorporating these elements into a morning routine, those with anxiety can start their day off on the right foot and set themselves up for a more manageable and productive day.
3. Set boundaries for yourself to avoid overcommitting and extreme multitasking
To manage anxiety, it's essential to set clear boundaries and avoid overcommitting and extreme multitasking. While it may be tempting to take on more than we can handle to prove ourselves or please others, this can quickly lead to burnout and increased anxiety levels.
Prioritizing our time and energy, we can focus on what truly matters and ensure that we can handle challenges as they arise.
Setting boundaries can involve saying no to commitments that don't align with our values or goals, delegating tasks to others, and establishing clear expectations with colleagues or loved ones.
It's also important to take breaks throughout the day to recharge and reset, rather than push ourselves to the point of exhaustion.
By setting and respecting boundaries, we can avoid the stress and overwhelm that often accompany overcommitment and multitasking, allowing us to approach our responsibilities with a clear and focused mindset.
4. Take regular breaks from studying to relax your mind
Taking regular breaks from studying is an important part of managing anxiety and creating a healthy learning environment.
Breaks provide time to relax the mind, refocus energy, and reduce stress. Regular breaks can also help increase productivity and creativity by allowing students to take a step back from their studies and gain perspective on what they are learning.
When taking a break, it’s important to choose activities that allow you to completely relax your mind away from studying or work-related tasks. Activities such as reading for pleasure, listening to music, going for a walk outside in nature, or engaging in physical activity are all great ways to reset your brain and give yourself the mental space needed for effective study sessions later on.
Additionally, using this break time as an opportunity for self-care can be beneficial in reducing stress levels overall. Taking five minutes out of your day just for yourself could mean enjoying some tea or coffee while sitting quietly or journaling about how you’re feeling; anything that allows you to take care of yourself mentally without overextending yourself will do wonders!
5. Reach out to friends, family, or professionals for support when needed
When living with anxiety, it can be difficult to manage the day-to-day challenges that come with it. Fortunately, there are several ways to cope and seek support from friends, family, or professionals when necessary.
Reaching out for help is an important step in managing anxiety as it allows us to access resources and build our own personal support network.
Talking about our feelings and experiences can also provide relief by helping us gain insight into our thoughts and behaviors.
Friends, family members, or even colleagues may be able to offer advice or encouragement which could prove useful in times of need. Additionally, talking with a professional such as a therapist can provide further assistance on how best to tackle stressors while developing coping strategies tailored specifically to each individual’s needs.
By reaching out for help when needed we can find comfort in knowing that we don’t have to face these struggles alone; having someone who understands what we’re going through can make all the difference!
6. Start an exercise routine to help release endorphins that can reduce anxiety
I know the last thing I usually want to do when I'm having an anxious episode is to go exercise. But hear me out, because exercise has been scientifically proven to have many positive benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety.
Through regular physical activity, you can release endorphins that act as natural mood boosters to help reduce feelings of anxiety. Starting an exercise routine is a great way to take control of your mental health and actively work towards improving it.
The type of exercise doesn't matter too much; it could be anything from running or walking outside (take your fur baby out with you and kill two birds with one stone), joining a dance class or taking part in group sports activities. The key is finding something enjoyable and making sure you stick with it - consistency is key! Exercise can also provide structure and purpose which are both important for managing our mental well-being.
It's best not to push yourself too hard at first as this might lead to burnout - start slowly by setting realistic goals and gradually increasing the intensity over time when you feel comfortable enough.
Additionally, exercising outdoors allows us access to natural sunlight which helps boost serotonin levels (the hormone responsible for happiness) while being surrounded by nature can help promote relaxation even more so than indoor exercises would do alone.
Finding Ways to Deal With Anxiety Can Ace Your Exams!
Dealing with anxiety can be a difficult and draining process but by taking the steps outlined in this article, you will find yourself more equipped to tackle your anxieties head-on.
Not only that but imagine how great it would feel to ace those exams or finish up projects without breaking a sweat! It may sound too good to be true at first, but trust me - if you put in the effort now, you'll reap the rewards later.
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start tackling those pesky anxious thoughts! With enough practice (and maybe some endorphins!), I'm sure we all have what it takes to become masterful stress warriors.