College is stressful. The pressure of figuring out what you want to do for the rest of your life — applying to colleges, trying to make grades to get into a specialized program at your top choice University — it leaves you with little time to socialize and even less time to keep yourself from having a panic attack.
Anxiety and depression are widely felt among college students today, and studies have shown that many college students feel pressured to be perfect not only from their parents, but from society as well. A recent survey conducted by the American College Health Association found that one in six college students has been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety in 2015. College campuses nationwide are seeing an increase in college students seeking help for mental illnesses, anxiety and depression, forcing colleges to offer more programs on campus that counsel students on how to cope and manage their stress and anxiety levels. Anxiety is often marked by an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physical symptoms — tension, sweating and high blood pressure.
Anxiety can be caused by many factors such as test taking, work, financial pressure and compulsive engagement with social media. Millennials constantly compare their lives to the images that their peers post on social media. It is hard to go on Instagram today and not see some insanely fit chick posting her abs and crediting her ab success to FitTea or seeing your peers post pictures of their vacations, displaying how exciting their lives may be compared to yours.
Many college students may have succeeded in high school, but experience a different type of academic anxiety in college when they suddenly find themselves surrounded by other students who seem to be more academically driven than they are.
Fortunately, the stigma of anxiety and depression has lessened causing more students to feel more comfortable to seek help.
“It’s time to seek help when your feelings begin to have a negative impact on everyday life and your ability to carry out daily routines or have normal relationships,” Melissa Cohen, Licensed Clinical Social Worker told learnpsychology.org.
According to learnpsychology.org, signs and symptoms of anxiety include, but are not limited to, feelings of sadness or depression, changes in eating habits, anxious thoughts or feelings, trouble remembering deadlines, headaches, and unusual changes in weight. These symptoms clearly show that anxiety affects you emotionally, physically, cognitively and behaviorally.
Fortunately, regardless if you suffer from mild or severe anxiety there are effective ways to cope and manage, such as meditation and talking to someone. It sounds cheesy, but it is very helpful. As someone who experiences anxiety myself, I have found these methods to be most helpful for me.
Practicing meditation is very important when coping with anxiety because as a society, we get so caught up in social media and reality TV that we are unconsciously comparing our lives to celebrities and others. Meditation helps you become aware of the madness of society and also helps you enjoy the present moment. If we can spend 20 minutes staring at our phones before bed, imagine how your way of thinking would change if you spent 20 minutes mindfully breathing and concentrating on yourself for once. There are meditation apps you can download from the app store for free that offer guided meditation for newbies, such as “Stop, Breath, Think” and “Insight Timer.”
LMC counselors are available for students to speak with in the Student Center, as well as other resources. I also found that opening up to my close friends helped because they told me they were suffering from anxiety as well.
The National Suicide and Prevention hotline is another resources for those who feel like they do not feel comfortable reaching out to family or friends. The hotline operates 24/7 at 1 (800) 273 8255.
Its important to be aware of the signs of anxiety, so we know when to get help and when to reach out to our friends. It’s a reminder to be kind to others, but most importantly, be kind to our selves.