By Kaylee Hanzich
Anxiety is one of those unspoken terrors that fill the body. It’s extremely disheartening to get up and face a new day every morning when you are in a never-ending battle with your mind. Some days, all you may want to do is curl up in bed, underneath your warm blanket, stay there for the rest of your life and not face the world.
When anxiety takes its toll, your entire body knows it. Your stomach is uneasy, your head feels as if it’s going to fracture from the thousands of thoughts, worries and “what ifs.” These are just some of the many symptoms that anxiety can bring on. If anxiety makes it difficult to maintain emotional and physical stability, it’s time to take action and learn coping strategies.
As a student, anxiety can be incredibly hard to deal with. Between juggling homework, studying, and participating in after school activities while maintaining good grade,s student lives are especially stressful. However, coping mechanisms do exist.
One of the most important things to remember is to take control of the things you can, and accept the things you can’t change. “Try asking yourself questions such as: When can I take control of a situation? Where can I make changes? What issues do I have to accept and move on from? Once you apply this method it will help you control situations where anxiety is taking over,” Claims Jarilyn Ross, director of The Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Tell yourself that you can make it through the next minute, and the next. Do that in succession until you calm down.
When you are constantly repeating negative thoughts about what you have to do that particular day such as finishing homework or the test tomorrow you haven’t studied for yet, that is where you have to draw the line for yourself. “Take a deep breath and focus on something you enjoy. Take a walk, listen to music, read a book for a few minutes then go back to studying or finishing whatever task you were working on,” Ross says.
Ninth grade student Ciera Friel mentioned, “One thing I discovered myself is that it was never helpful to sit in one spot for hours, trying to finish all of my work and then study all at once. Give yourself a small break. You can go back to it after you’ve done so. This way your mind is less crowded.”
More often than not, it is possible to get past an anxiety cycle by talking to someone you trust. Whether it be your best friend, a sibling, a teacher or even your dog. Speaking your thoughts to someone aloud is extremely helpful. Even if this only takes your wandering mind off of things for a short amount of time; it’s still a step in the right direction. Getting enough sleep at night is also very important. Sleep is helpful for your brain to function more clearly.
Diet does play a role in anxiety. Those who suffer panic attacks should avoid caffeine because it can amplify a panic attack. Fattening foods, refined sugars, alcohol, and fried foods can also exacerbate anxiety symptoms.
Another thing to keep in mind is procrastination. Procrastination is one of the worst things an anxiety ridden person can do. We are all guilty of procrastination, myself included. Procrastination only adds to more anxiety making it increasingly worse. Put distracting things aside. Out of sight out of mind. Now you can work on any task, and it will be one less thing to worry about.
Learning to think positively is also an important step in learning to cope with anxiety. It may sound a bit “new age,” but the truth is that anxiety really does cause very negative thinking. Unfortunately, there is no cure or magic pill to make anxiety disappear completely, but applying these methods could help decrease it, leading to a happier and more peaceful life.