Student Anxiety: Tips for coping with social anxiety at university

Cem Topcamon 11 January 2019
Student Anxiety: Tips for coping with social anxiety at university

Anxiety is something that affects most of us at some point. Here are some handy tips to help you out next time you find yourself struggling.

To a greater or lesser extent, we all experience anxiety from time to time. The feeling of worry or unease we get when we don’t feel confident about the outcome of something; these moments can spiral and sprawl out of control, leading to panic attacks, the feeling of being trapped and can even impact your sleep and physical health.

As a student at university, you’re experiencing more flux than most, meaning you may be more prone to bouts of anxiety than others. Things like homesickness, exam stress, feeling out of your depth or loneliness can all bring about a black cloud. But student anxiety can be reduced by taking precautions before the cloud forms.

Know your triggers

Understanding what triggers your bouts of anxiety is the key to knowing when you need to kick your coping mechanisms into gear. If you suffer from student anxiety, it’s very likely you have felt other forms of it prior to starting university. If you can, try and identify what words, environments, sights or smells have set you off in the past, so you can spot when it might again in the future and act to manage it faster.

Clear space, clear mind

As a student, you’re likely to be living in an entirely new space you’re not used to. The move itself can cause bouts of anxiety, as can settling in and organising the plethora of paperwork, notes, bits and bobs that are part of student life. Having a clear space really can mitigate the feeling of anxiousness. Try keeping your desk or working space as tidy as possible, allowing your thoughts to breathe while you work.

Take a breath

Breathing sounds easy enough, right? It’s something we all do without thinking about it. But when we do think about it, focus on the rhythm of our breathing and being present in the moment, we’re practising very simple mindfulness.

There are a tonne of resources at your fingertips. Apps like Headspace, Calm and the imaginatively named Mindfulness App are all free, and will give you hints, tips and meditation techniques you can bring in to your routine when things begin to feel a little too much.

Reach out

It’s important to remember just how normal it is to feel anxious, especially as a student. When you’re thinking a thousand thoughts at once, it’s easy work yourself up in to a panic. Before that happens, try reaching out to someone you can trust; chances are they’ve felt similar things, and speaking about it can benefit both parties. A problem shared is a problem halved, as they say, and social anxiety at university is no different.

Cem Topcamon 11 January 2019