Campus Cope: Helpful methods to help control your anxiety and stress

I do not remember when I first noticed my anxiety issues. They were always present growing up, the feeling of overwhelming stress and the loss of hope. My whole body tenses up, and I am unable to think of anything other than the feelings of despair and hopelessness. However, the past year and a half is when my relationship with anxiety worsened. What started out as anxiety developed and worsened into panic attacks. Whereas anxiety attacks need a trigger, panic attacks do not. It felt terrible dealing with both of these issues while juggling school and work. As a matter of fact, I still struggle with these issues, but I have luckily found ways of managing and controlling the feeling of anxiety. 

In the past, I have discussed therapy as an option, and if you have UCShip, you are able to receive eight free therapy sessions via Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). My anxiety can be traced back to a trigger, so discussing moments that caused the anxiety in the first place was a good place to start. One of the root causes of my anxiety issues lies within my family trauma. Once I was able to discuss my childhood with my therapist, my anxiety over seeing my family and spending time with them slowly but surely went away. 

Taking advantage of these free therapy sessions is a great way to discuss anxiety triggers in order to manage and control them. If you are not enrolled with UCShip, another great way of discussing and managing triggers is by keeping a journal. Oftentimes, I find myself perfectly fine when I get a sudden thought that spirals out of control. I have learned that keeping a journal with thoughts that cause anxiety attacks helps to keep track and get to the root of the problem. It can be as simple as worrying about an assignment that quickly causes stress and anxiety. Reflecting back on the journal can help you understand what caused it and, thus, make it more manageable. 

If you are in the middle of an anxiety attack, what helps me snap back to reality is always finding something to ground myself. If I am alone, I make myself answer questions regarding my identity. I ask myself: “Who am I? Where am I? What is important to me?” These three simple questions keep my mind off my problem and help me focus on other things. Another grounding method that can work is touching objects near you and describing every detail about them. This could be apples, makeup palettes or soft plushies. Listening to a song and noting every single instrument you could hear is also another way to ground yourself. At times I am unable to focus on breathing, but recently, I have discovered an app called iBreathe that allows you to take time out of your day to set breathing exercises. The app also sends reminders to your phone and has a feature where you and a friend can both go through the breathing exercises together. 

Overall, there are many ways to control and manage your anxiety. We are all going through difficult times, and school on top of everything is stressful. Hopefully, these tips can help you feel better and help manage anxiety and stress. 

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