Student Life

Counselling and Personal Development

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Overcoming anxiety

Feeling anxious about giving a class presentation, sitting exams, going on placement, and/or meeting new people takes the enjoyment out of them. Learn more about anxiety, how to overcome it, and enjoy new experiences.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal reaction to a concern that you may not have what it takes to do well in a situation. We all experience some anxiety in our lives at some time. But when the anxiety you feel is frequent, intense and stops you doing what you want to do, then it has become a problem to you. If left unmanaged, people with significant anxiety can become depressed or may resort to drugs and alcohol to reduce their anxious feelings.

If anxiety is a problem for you, you may do some of the following:

  • have strong thoughts and feelings of self doubt
  • avoid situations that you feel anxious in
  • think that others know how inadequate you feel
  • have physical signs like sweating, shaking, blushing, taking frequent trips to the toilet, have shortness of breath, a churning stomach, racing heart, tightness around neck, or feel dizzy
  • be confused
  • fear of being humiliated or embarrassed.

What you can do for anxiety

Feelings of anxiety come from within you, and so there is much you can do to reduce these feelings.

  • Talking about your anxieties and concerns with another can relieve some of the feelings and also help you develop a more realistic belief about yourself and your abilities.
  • Learn relaxation techniques to remain calm.
  • Change the way you think about yourself.
  • For some people, medication combined with counselling has proved to be very helpful.
  • Seek feedback from others.

Quick tips

  • Take a deep breath and say “I can do this”.
  • The longer you can tolerate being anxious, the less anxious you will be.
  • Practice relaxation exercises before you need them.
  • Focus on the task, not what others might be thinking.
  • Remember times you have performed well in the past.

Taking it further

Getting help

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17th March 2011