5 ways students can cope with anxiety

Kate Ackerman, a sophomore business management major from Ogden, is one of many of us who struggle with anxiety. Anxiety is something a lot of college students struggle with and learning to cope is very important. Annie Sorensen | Sun News Daily

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Anxiety can affect college students both academically and socially, with 44% reporting they suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Anxiety is a word that is used a lot when talking about being stressed out in general but anxiety is something different.

Dr. Adam Moore, clinical director of Alliant Counseling, said, “Anxiety is generally a feeling of worry; a feeling that something is wrong, concern about the past, fear for the future, or worry that doesn’t seem to be about anything specific at all.”

Music therapy

Music therapy is one way to cope with the effects of anxiety. It can reduce your blood pressure and heartbeat by engaging your neocortex of your brain which is responsible for calming and reducing impulsivity.

Freshman mathematics major Mya Tremyne from Farmington, said: “I try to find something that will distract me for a bit before getting back to what needs to be done. Usually, music is a good distraction for me.”

While distractions are good for when you are stuck in a rut or need a temporary reprieve from daily life, Dr. Moore said: “If the anxiety persists, it’s probably not something that can be managed by just avoiding it. You’ll most likely need to do something more proactive, like seeking some kind of treatment for it.”

Disability Resource Center

Dixie State University offers students with anxiety and other mental health concerns accommodations. Students need to provide documentation from their healthcare provider to the Disability Resource Center. Students have the opportunity to get accommodations at any point during the school year, but they are not retroactive.

Rebecca Gillespie, disability resource center coordinator, said: “Large percent of our students experience anxiety. If a student is registered with us, we can facilitate accommodations for their courses. The most common accommodation for anxiety is the testing accommodation ‘distraction reduced testing environment.'”

Talk it out

If you or someone you know has anxiety, then try talking it out. Talking can help especially if you find someone who will listen to you. When you are talking to someone, ask them to listen rather than try and solve your problems.

Kelly Kendall, part-time instructor of the college of humanities and social sciences, said: “Avoid isolating yourself, talk about your mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, talk about it and realize you are not alone and share your feelings.”

Dr. Moore said: “Talking through it usually helps us realize that our worries are often not very realistic or that things are better than we fear they are. Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is realize that we don’t have to control the future or fix everything in the world.”

Let it go and reality check ourselves

Whenever you are dealing with a situation that is out of your control, follow Elsa’s advice from Disney’s “Frozen” and “Let It Go.” You will thank yourself later for taking a step back to assess what was causing you anxiety.

Kristi Shaw, licensed mental health counselor, said: “Reality check, or evidence check, is one way to get anxiety in check, since anxiety is a way our bodies tell us that we are in danger.”

Hit the gym and get your workout on

Grab a gym buddy, hit the gym and workout to shake off anxious feelings. You can post awesome #gymselfies or #gains pictures on social media.

Shaw said: “One of the most helpful things to alleviate symptoms of anxiety is exercise. It releases endorphins which can immediately help bring us back to reality.” If you need more motivation take some from Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky” Balboa: “But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”

These tips can help you out if you are struggling with anxiety, but if you feel like you need help, reach out and talk to someone. Talk to a therapist or reach out to your family. You don’t have to go about this alone. Having a good set of coping mechanisms and a good support system really helps.

DSU offers resources at the Booth Wellness Center for those who are wrestling with mental health. If you, or someone you know, is struggling with mental health, seek help from mental health professional.