Anxiety In University Life

What is anxiety? – a reaction to stress

Almost everybody has experienced anxiety at some point in their life even if they did not realise it. Anxiety is a persistent feeling of fear, panic or concern, especially when there’s no obvious cause. If the feeling remains after the end of the problem that was causing it that’s when anxiety becomes an actual problem.

What triggers anxiety? – exams, assessments, public speaking

Anxiety is triggered in students by exams, pop-quizzes or even public speaking. It is created by the negative thoughts students often have. Students particularly might feel anxious for four different reasons centred around fears related to academic achievement. Firstly, they are concerned with the consequences of their academic results, as it is this which will determine to a large extent their future career plans. Secondly, grades affect students’ self-esteem so they feel that additional pressure on their shoulders to do well. Thirdly, students often fear the judgement of their parents and finally, the frequent messages communicated to students by teachers and the school about the importance of the exams will certainly trigger the development of stress.

Biological explanation behind anxiety: adrenaline

In stressful moments a body releases a hormone called adrenaline. This event is happening to prepare the body to accept what is going to happen which is often called as the ‘’fight-or-flight’’ response. Adrenaline can be good as it helps people to deal effectively with stressful situations, however, in cases of anxiety, this process may go awry.

How can you manage anxiety?

Anxiety is one of the most successfully treated mental health conditions and has a very high recovery rate of 70-90%. With good support, they can develop better management mechanisms. If you’re a student struggling with anxiety, you can draw on access to campus counselling in most universities or schools or seek help by speaking to your GP.

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