I have struggled with anxiety since high school, but I started to have more problems with it when I got to college. College can be a stressful time for any student, but when you have anxiety these stressors can become amplified. Below I am providing some tips I have used that helped me take some control over the anxiety I experienced:
*This is what has worked for me personally in taking control of my anxiety. I realize that these tips may not help everyone. If you feel your anxiety symptoms worsening or they become too much to handle by yourself, I highly recommend seeking options to get treatment or talking to a professional.*
1. Create a regular sleep schedule that you can follow
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that people between the ages of 18 and 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Getting the correct amount of sleep each night can help your mind be less foggy, and it is good for your mental and physical well-being. [Sleeping & Mental Health] Relaxing before bed can help you fall asleep faster, and testing different strategies can help you figure out what works for you. Stretching, using an oil diffuser, and not being on your phone before bed have been proven to help people fall asleep quicker. My mom knew I was having trouble sleeping over the summer, so when she visited New York she brought me back a lavender spray that I could use on my pillows and sheets before going to bed. Every night before bed I spray it on my pillows, and I swear it has helped me fall asleep faster and relax before bed. I also read that lavender can be useful for treating insomnia, anxiety, depression, and restlessness. Below I have attached a link for the lavender mist I use!
2. Lessen your caffeine intake
When you drink caffeine you may notice your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels all increase. It can also keep you up at night, messing up the sleep schedule I mentioned above. The next time you want a coffee, try having green tea instead. It has less caffeine than coffee in it, so it can still give the benefits of a quick pick-me-up, without causing your anxiety to go through the roof. For comparison purposes of coffee and green tea –> Starbucks’ grande (16 oz) Pike Place brewed coffee has 310 mg of caffeine, but their Teavana Green Tea Latte grande (16 oz) has 80 mg of caffeine. The daily recommended amount per day for healthy adults is about 300-400 mg of caffeine. If you’re curious about how much caffeine you can drink daily based on your weight, check this website out! Calculate Your Safe Daily Dose
3. Headspace App
I downloaded an app called Headspace in the beginning of my Fall 2018 semester and it has helped me tremendously. The app description says, “Headspace is the simple way to re-frame stress. Relax with guided meditations and mindfulness techniques that bring calm, wellness, and balance to your life in just a few minutes a day.” Some of the categories that they offer are: managing anxiety, letting go of stress, relationships, coping with cravings, self esteem. They make it easy to find any pack with helpful tips and information for practically any issue you may be facing. The amount of packs they offer are endless. They offer a free 30 sessions for managing anxiety. I have found them helpful and carried the tips they provide with me. I have only used the free sessions, but even the free sessions provide between 10-30 sessions each. You can subscribe to the app for $12.99 a month to get an unlimited amount of sessions and unlock all of their packs.
4. Breathing Techniques
Sometimes an anxiety attack can lead to a panic attack. Your chest get tights, your heart is pounding, and you feel like you can’t breathe no matter how deep of a breath you take. Sometimes taking a moment to just focus on my breathing helps me a ton. I’ve followed the “4 7 8” breathing method. How can you do it?
- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a “whoosh” sound.
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose, counting to 4.
- Hold your breath for a count of 7.
- Exhale completely through your mouth again, making a whoosh sound to the count of 8.
It helps to slow your heart rate and calm yourself down. I usually repeat this for about 5 minutes or until I feel like I’m okay.
I hope some of these tips helped you, and like I said before this is just my personal experience of what has helped and worked for me! Please reach out to someone if you feel like your problems are getting too large to handle yourself!