10 Ways To Deal With Overwhelming Anxiety In College

Anxiety in college is common. Finding healthy coping mechanisms for anxiety is not as common. All of us are guilty of occasionally worrying and sinking to the bottom of a pessimistic bowl of overthinking, stress, and doom.

It wasn’t until I began college, that the words anxious and anxiety became normalized and familiar.

Anxiety is something that plagues all ages, economic backgrounds, and lifestyles. You can make money and still feel anxious over your finances.

You can have friends and still feel social anxiety.

Anxiety in college students
Anxiety in college students is manageable

It's also possible to seem like a carefree easy going person, who handles the world with ease, and still feel anxious.

Before we learn 10 healthy coping mechanisms for anxiety (especially while in college) we’ll discuss 5 common reasons for why students feel anxious.

Why do college students feel greater anxiety?

1- There’s not enough time in the day

Anxiety in college is often linked to productivity. If someone asked you how your day was, chances are your response is connected to your ability to get things done.

But when you spend hours of your day in a class, commuting, studying, working, and being social, it’s impossible to give equal attention to each. And this feeling of having "too much to do and not enough time" can increase anxiety in college students.

Working on top of going to school becomes a challenge if you don't have a work-life balance.

2- Lack of job security

Young adults face anxiety when it comes to finances and even the act of "adulting" in general because everything needs money.

Adulting - the act of being independent and living life to the fullest

In order to move out on your own, experience the world, decide you don’t want to work...you need money.

Finding time to make yourself an attractive job applicant is key to lessening your anxiety in college.

Related post: 27 ways to practice self care in under 10 minutes

3- Lack of knowledge on life after college

What will you do after graduation? What is life like after you graduate?

There is so much uncertainty regarding what happens when you no longer dedicate time slots to sitting in a classroom or staring at a homework assignment. Anxiety in college is increased when we feel unprepared for what will come next.

Feeling unprepared is a common anxiety trigger.

4- High expectations

Anxiety in college increases when doing your best doesn't result in outcome you expected.

My anxiety in college skyrocketed during 2020, when I had a rough transition to working and learning remotely.

Productivity at home is not the same as productivity in a normal work environment. It was common for students with anxiety to place pressure on themselves instead of adjusting their expectations.

Some students thrive in a remote environment while others do not

5- Comparison

Worrying about how to make more money after college is a common source of anxiety. This comes from not having experience, not having enough credentials, and the pressure placed on a 20something year old to decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Note: Most people change careers or jobs every few years. We are built for evolution.

In an effort to prepare, we overthink different life choices like finding an apartment in a nice neighborhood, saving money when bills increase, and finding time for self care.

Then, as we continue planning for all angles of life, it becomes easier to teeter closer to feelings of self doubt and in the end, anxiety.

find time for self-care

With the help of hours of research, anxiety workshops, and speaking with health professionals, I have managed to develop a healthy range of coping mechanisms when it comes to how you can manage anxiety while in college.

Students ages 17-25 are more likely to feel anxious and then attempt to muffle their feelings instead of dealing with them.

Muffling your emotions isn’t just burying how you feel it’s also attempting to numb them through consuming alcohol excessively or indulging in harmful behavior.

Here are 10 things that can help you manage your anxiety.

1 - Express gratitude as soon as you wake up