Anxiety sucks.

Unfortunately, the end of high school and the beginning of college are usually when people start developing occasional anxiety symptoms.

It happened to me, and after a lot of trial and error, I figured out a few tricks that helped me get through it.

Put The Electronics Away

That bright screen, all those graphics, the thought of all the homework, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube – NO.

That’s too much.

Put your laptop and phone away and give your mind a break. Sometimes you just can’t focus when you’re staring at a screen.

Take A Second

Close your eyes and take a deep breath.

The more you think about the panic attack you’re trying to avoid, the more anxiety you’ll experience. It’s one of those vicious cycles that are incredibly hard to break.

Take your mind off of it by…


Go the old fashioned route.

Grab pen and paper and start doodling. Focus on your hand moving across the paper.

This is my go-to trick when I’m in the middle of class and it gets too loud or all of my obligations start running through my head, threatening to completely overwhelm me.

It gives me a moment to check out and focus on my sanity and myself.


To-do lists are lifesavers.

I cannot tell you the amount of times that making a to-do list and planning when I’ll get to check everything off really calmed me down.

Sometimes, all it takes is realizing you do have time to handle everything on your plate—then the stress dissipates.

Go For A Walk

Nothing can mess you up more than sitting in one spot for too long.

Get up and take a walk. Even if you’re in the middle of class. Go to the bathroom for a minute—take the time you need. You’re not going to learn anything with your mind racing anyway.

Don’t Take A Nap

Resist it.

Believe me, when I’m in the middle of trying to keep myself from having an anxiety attack, all I can think about is taking a nap.

Though rest and distraction are helpful, using naps as a crutch isn’t a great habit to get into. Frequent naps can disrupt sleep patterns, and getting consistent sleep is important whether you’re facing anxiety, depression or generalized stress.

Plus, if your anxiety sticks around, you’ll be taking naps more and more often and for longer periods of time.

Instead of going down this road, try something else to take your mind off of things.

Read a Book or Go to the Gym

Reading will let you escape your anxiety and transport you to a fantasy world. Changing your environment, even if it’s only in your mind, will really help take you out of that anxiety spiral. Not only will you be distracted, you’ll improve your mood.

Going to the gym has its obvious benefits. But don’t think you have to become an Olympian all of a sudden. Even walking on the treadmill or taking it slow on the elliptical machine will help. There’s no need to put extra pressure on yourself when you’re trying to alleviate pressure in the first place.

Just get your blood flowing and your endorphins pumping.

Third Parties

Sometimes you need some outside help.

Colleges have free counseling services…utilize them! Talking to someone else can be incredibly cathartic. It can be difficult to admit you’re having a hard time to people you know personally; counselors provide unbiased, trained assistance. The more you talk it out, the faster you’ll get relief.

You can also get extra help from the one thing you always have on you—your phone. An app like Headspace can be a helpful tool when experiencing anxiety. It provides guided meditation and, as the title suggests, helps you clear your head.

But Remember…

Experiencing anxiety symptoms and having an anxiety disorder are very different. Many of the symptoms cannot be done away with as easily as some may believe; symptoms may be related to circumstance, while an anxiety disorder is chronic. Anxiety will always be an ongoing battle, and we all manage it differently. Hopefully, the tips above will help you stay calm, refocus and find some relief.