Everybody feels nervous or anxious at some time; it is a normal human reaction.  Anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes in your life and causes impairment or distress because it is:

  • excessive,
  • intrusive,
  • uncontrollable,
  • persistent, and
  • exists for more days than it doesn’t.

This type of thinking may cause you to ask yourself lots of “what if” type questions and to worry about things excessively.  It is important to use helpful thinking strategies that target negative beliefs and relieve the worrying thoughts that cause anxiety.  When the tension builds up in your mind, it will give you little peace from unhelpful thinking patterns.

Healthy Strategies to Help

Delay Worrying

You delay the worry for another day and by delaying it, and concentrating on the tasks at hand, this stops the negative thoughts, delays them and you have a greater chance of forgetting about it.

Take Action

Don’t let yourself become paralysed by fear, develop an action plan and work towards a solution.  For example, if you worry about your studies consider spending less time on other activities and more time on your private study (establish a weekly routine, revise lecture materials, complete readings and start assignments early).

Don’t Give Negative Thoughts Too Much Power

By focusing solely on the negative ideas, you may influence an undesirable outcome; it is more useful to recognise problems as challenges that so far are unsolved and concentrate your efforts on how to successfully deal with it.

Examine Your Worries and the Impact on Your Life

Develop a list of the issues that you spend time worrying about, rate the importance they hold in your life and how much time you spend dwelling on them on a rating scale of 1 -10 with 5 being moderate and 10 being excessive worry.  Don’t sweat the small things, focus life on the things you want to achieve and the big picture.

Control Your Thoughts

We need to recognise that we determine our thoughts and that sometimes we give too much power to our worries. By controlling your thoughts you give yourself the power to pursue or reject thoughts, and you will be less prone to worrying about endless worries.

Be Realistic about Yourself

Focus on developing greater self-confidence and esteem and don’t attach your self worth to the marks you get or the opinions of others.

Analyse Your Worries

Ask yourself why am I worrying about this? Are you imagining the worst? Step back from the problem, evaluate its importance and the certainty of it happening and this can often diminish the power of the worry.

Ask yourself, will worrying about this issue solve it? Is worrying a waste of time?

Take practical steps to deal with the issue and don’t waste your time worrying.

Concentrate your efforts on the here and now, enjoy the process of living and focus on working towards solutions rather than predicting negative outcomes.

Further Information

We recommend the Centre for Clinical Interventions What? Me Worry!?! InfoPax, which you can work through with a Student Counsellor.

Student Counselling also facilitates group based therapy to assist in managing anxiety.

Visit Act Mindfully for free resources on dealing with anxiety.