Anxiety is one of the biggest challenges students are facing today, and chances are even you may have noticed an increase in anxiety since the beginning of school. A queasy stomach, headaches, and trouble breathing are just a few of the many symptoms of anxiety that can make it extremely difficult to focus and learn in the classroom. If you are experiencing anxiety, feeling stressed, or maybe just need some tips on getting your mind off of something, here are three ways to help manage those feelings that may be holding you back.
- Keep a Journal
Keeping a journal or diary is an easy but effective way to keep track of and organize your thoughts. It can be a bulleted list of things going on throughout your day including good and bad moments. This will help you prioritize problems, concerns, and fears, or track symptoms and triggers, so you can learn how to better control them, and it also makes space for positive self-talk. When you are experiencing a problem, or feeling overwhelmed by stress, journaling will help with identifying the causes of the anxiety. Identifying triggers will allow you to come up with a plan about how to reduce negative thoughts and feelings. It is important to make journaling a regular habit, so you are able to recognize the patterns. Make it easy by keeping a pen and paper handy, at all times, so you can track your anxious feelings in the moment. Then, at the end of each day, set aside a few minutes for yourself so you can write about your day, whether you have experienced anxiety or not. It is important to recognize those moments or days where you are not feeling anxious as well, so you can look back and see the times where negative thoughts weren’t overpowering the positive ones. Your journal does not have to follow a certain structure. Make it for you. Allow it to be a safe place for your most private thoughts and fears. Let the words flow as they wish.
Painting and any kind of art therapy is a great way to navigate and recognize things causing anxiety, and it is also a helpful tool to relax when feeling stressed. Focusing on creating art will move your attention from anxious thoughts to creative thoughts. Sometimes, it can be difficult to pinpoint the cause of anxiety or to verbally explain physical and mental feelings. Art gives a different perspective of those feelings and helps us shift the way we perceive it. When doing art therapy, you do not have to focus on the art being perfect. You may create something that makes you happy, you can draw simple doodles, mythical creatures, line art, collages, anything that could help you relieve your anxiety.
Exercise won’t only improve your physical health, but it can improve your mental health too! Exercise has shown to reduce stress and fatigue and has also shown to improve concentration and alertness. Stress is not only impacting your mental health, once it affects the brain, your entire body can feel the effects as well. Participating in runs, walks, biking and yoga are just a few options that can relieve tension and help stabilize your moods. Exercising to help anxiety does not have to take a physical toll on your body. Make a routine that is fit for you! Simple 10-15 minute daily exercises can improve your overall fitness and mood. Exercise is a useful and powerful tool to help improve life and your physical and mental health will always be connected and impact each other, remember to take care of both.
Evelyn Mallory, Staff Writer
Sophomore Evelyn Mallory is a staff writer for the 2020-2021 Colonel. In her free time, she enjoys listening to current joys, and painting.