By Anna Homa

As of late, classes have been terribly stressful. Do you have any advice to decrease my anxiety? Please help me.
Answer: Everyone feels anxious at one time or another; it’s a normal human response, especially when it comes to college classes. However, it can start to become a problem when it interferes with your normal day-to-day life.

So, first off, ask yourself what it is about your classes that are making you anxious? Is it the homework, the teacher or the course itself? Are you feeling overwhelmed by all of your classes combined and the amount of time and work that must be done for each one? You need to identify what it is causing the anxiety in order alleviate it.

If you’re becoming overwhelmed by all the work involved with your classes, make a weekly schedule of what needs to be done for each class and when it needs to be turned in. Schedule times in 15 to 20 minute increments to work on different assignments. Knowing you have the time to get things done and actually finishing them early will help to relieve some of your classroom anxiousness.

Are you taking care of yourself, eating right and exercising? When people start feeling anxious, they often begin to neglect themselves, which can cause a person to feel even worse. When the familiar feelings of anxiety begin to show themselves, stop what it is you’re doing and take a walk outside (unless you’re in the middle of class, then wait until after), or go to the gym and lift some weights. The physical activity not only will keep you healthy but will help to ward off an anxiety attack by almost immediate elevation of your mood.

If everything is piling up and you start feeling anxious, stop and relax. Relaxation can come in many different forms, such as doing yoga, meditating, taking a nap, reading a book or even just staring at the wall while listening to music. It doesn’t matter so much what you decide to do as the fact that it forces you stop, take a few deep breaths and calm down.

When things start to get to you and you feel like you’re going to scream, do it. Let it all out. Grab your best bud or go to the counseling services on campus and talk it out with someone. Say everything that comes to mind about what is causing the anxiety, don’t hold anything back. Then, once you’ve said everything you can say, forget about it.

Keeping strong emotions, such as anxiety, bottled up inside not only causes you to get more stressed and anxious but it can actually cause you mental and physical harm as well. Plus no one else wants to be around someone who is irritable and always in a bad mood and you don’t want to suffer from nightmares, muscle tension and headaches, or any number of other mental and physical problems.

I hope I’ve given you some ideas on how to keep the stress levels low to avoid unwanted anxiety. Remember, you’re not alone in how you’re feeling. All students feel anxious about their classes at one point or another, the trick is keeping yourself from letting it affect how you perform in the class or your everyday life.

E-mail questions to Anna