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How to Cope With College Anxiety

College anxiety

By RaviKrJhaPublished 2 years ago 3 min read

College students are at a critical time in their lives, and college anxiety is a common symptom. The change to a new environment is stressful for students, and the everyday stresses of the academic environment can add to their anxiety. Lois M. Collins writes in Deseret News that anxiety is a common sign of mental illness in college students.

Anticipatory anxiety

Anticipatory anxiety is an uncomfortable state of mind. It is often caused by negative thinking and by imagining unfavorable scenarios. However, anticipatory anxiety can be overcome by recognizing the patterns and challenging irrational thoughts. Try replacing these thoughts with realistic ones. Using realistic thinking will help you remain more calm and objective. Such thinking is also known as scientific thinking. Scientific thinking involves using facts and data in making decisions and will prevent you from thinking about anxiety-ridden outcomes.

Anticipatory anxiety can also be triggered by events in the past, such as a traumatic experience. If you have this type of anxiety, you may spend excessive time imagining the event and may experience distress or panic attacks. If this type of anxiety is affecting your quality of life, you can try practicing coping strategies such as meditation, guided imagery, and deep breathing. Using self-talk and self-compassion can also help you to cope with the stress and anxiety you feel.

Social anxiety

If you're suffering from college social anxiety, there are ways to overcome your fear and cope. The first step is to prepare for social situations. Practice speaking in front of groups of people by writing down your thoughts and making sure you have a prepared speech. Talking about topics that you're familiar with will also help you relax and feel more comfortable.

Another step to help overcome your anxiety is to find a support system. If you feel isolated, consider talking to a close friend or professor. These individuals may be more understanding of your anxiety and won't fail you on presentation requirements. Alternatively, you can get help from a counselor.


For people with PTSD, the college environment can be especially difficult. Routines are disrupted and change with each new semester. The transition to a new class is particularly difficult. Additionally, some classes may contain material that triggers PTSD. To deal with these challenges, students need to learn to communicate with professors and fellow students about their situation.

A study found a high proportion of college students with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on American campuses. These students have experienced events such as extreme physical harm or sexual violence. However, not all individuals who experience a traumatic event will develop post-traumatic symptoms. However, two-thirds of incoming undergraduate students report having experienced some type of traumatic event. Almost 10% of these individuals will develop PTSD symptoms while attending college.

Identifying coping skills

One of the best ways to cope with college anxiety is to identify the triggers of your anxiety and try to limit exposure to those things. If this is not possible, you can learn coping skills to reduce or eliminate your reactions. One such coping skill is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you change your negative thought patterns and behaviors. Another effective technique is mindfulness meditation, which helps you train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts.

The study revealed that students with higher levels of stress were more likely to engage in coping skills. However, these coping skills can often exacerbate the problem rather than alleviate it. These techniques are also often temporary, resulting in a cycle of short-term relief and increased stress.

Stress management

While stress is inevitable in college, there are many ways to manage your stress levels. One effective way is to communicate with others. Having open and honest communication with others helps you avoid feeling isolated and alone. Having regular interactions with other people reduces stress and keeps it from ruining your college experience. Communication also allows you to express your feelings to people who care about you.

If you feel stressed, pause and take a moment to think about why you are stressed. This will help you assess your mindset and the reality of the situation. It will also help you focus on your responsibilities and see your way clear.

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