Anxiety is an extremely common mental health disorder, especially among college students. Recent studies have found that those in the Millennial generation and Generation Z are much more likely to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. One survey published in April of this year found that more than half of Millennials polled reported feeling anxiety, and the rates of those being treated for anxiety was up 66% since 2008.
The symptoms of anxiety or an anxiety attack are often very uncomfortable, ranging from a rapid heartbeat and fearful thoughts to trouble breathing or feeling disoriented. Some symptoms of anxiety disorder are so severe that they need to be treated with medication, while others can be addressed through some simple lifestyle changes.
To resolve the underlying cause of your anxiety it may be necessary to see a therapist or do some self discovery to understand your emotions, thought patterns, and traumas. However, in the short term, it may be helpful to calm your anxious thoughts and feelings through one of the following methods.
- Breathe mindfully. Take 10 deep breaths in and out through your nose. This can help slow your heart rate and calm your system.
- Claim the feeling as temporary. Recognize that you are feeling anxious and that it is a temporary feeling that will pass. Try verbalizing this out loud to yourself.
- Connect with your environment. Look around the room and name all the blue objects you see, or perhaps name what you see, smell, hear and taste in that order.
- Try wrapping a blanket tightly around your body. Or, if you have a weighted blanket, lay underneath it for 5-10 minutes.
- Call a friend for support. Even the act of reaching out for help can help reduce feelings of panic or fear.
- Find a focus object. Pick one object in the room and put all your concentration on it. Maybe name out loud the things you notice.
- Relax your muscles. Focus on relaxing one muscle at a time, particularly muscles in your neck, jaw and shoulders. Give yourself a self-massage if it feels good.
- Try aromatherapy. Essential oils such as lavender, peppermint and Ylang-ylang are known for their relaxing properties.
- Take a walk outside. Accessing fresh air and nature can calm the mind and nerves. Light exercise also produces endorphins, which can boost mood.
- Eat something soothing. Anxiety attacks can be triggered by low blood sugar. Try eating something light, healthy and comforting to your system.
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