Anxiety is a sense of worry, dread or fear that bad things will occur. This sense of looming apprehension associated with anxiety comes from our primal instincts, our fight or flight considerations. It is, unfortunately, a common experience for many students around the world and even the most confident and outgoing young adults are susceptible to moments of feeling afraid. It is especially common to experience anxiety during times of significant change or periods of stress, which, for students, can be a common occurrence considering the culture of social commitments, calendar of deadlines, and series of new environments.
While anxiety is a natural and, to a certain degree, unavoidable aspect of life, it can lead to or be a part of a mental health issue. If you find yourself struggling with anxiety for extended periods of time or with disproportionate worry for a situation, you should consider your wellbeing, as these symptoms may be indicative of mental ill-health. These symptoms, if left unchecked, can aggregate, increase in severity, and lead to panic attics or mental disorders.
As student life becomes more complicated, with prevailing health concerns during the international pandemic, there are greater levels of stress being experienced among students. Issues, such as agoraphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder are being more common. These disorders aren’t always easy to diagnose and, if you believe you may be experiencing anxiety in any way, it is important to practise appropriate self-care or seek professional support.
What To Do
In the event you find yourself feeling anxious, there are immediate actions which you can take to improve your state of mind.
- Controlled breathing exercises – concentrate on your breathing pace and intensity, calming yourself with focus.
- Physical activity – engaging in physical activity releases hormones that tackle stress, which is why taking a short run can vastly improve your state of mind.
- Enter a safe or removed space – often our responses are based upon our environment or the nearby associations and, removing yourself from them, putting yourself, instead, in an environment of safety and comfort, can bring relief.
These three simple actions can have a dramatic effect on your immediate wellbeing, helping to curb issues of anxiety and relieve the physical and mental anguish that occurs within the moment. However, should symptoms persist or become regular periods of intensity, then it is time to seek out support.
Depending on your institution, there might be (and hopefully is) a form of mental health support offered by your university. Your university staff, or an individual tutor, should be able to direct you to appropriate personnel, such as a mental health advisor, with whom you can discuss your issues. However, if you don’t feel quite ready to take that step, speaking to friends or family can be a useful initial step for many to take, allowing them to share their feelings and offer guidance.
Should you wish to seek professional support for your mental health, therapy and counselling are advised. These services offer safe and expert environments within which you are able to explore, discuss, and better understand your mental health, building a relationship that will further your progress toward recovery.
If you are seeking counselling services in Bristol, then I am available to take on clients either by video conferencing or in person, adhering to the most up-to-date government guidelines. My psychodynamic counselling services specialise long-term explorations of your life in order to seek and achieve mental health and recovery. Alternatively, I also offer short-term therapy sessions. Should you wish to arrange an initial consultation please visit the Bristol Counselling and Psychotherapy website for further details.