How To Handle Anxiety in Grad School

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I used to have to see a therapist because my anxiety was getting way too bad. Fortunately, my health insurance covered the use of Talkspace for no additional cost, and I took full advantage of that. Another great site to use in Online-Therapy. I highly recommend either Talkspace or Online-Therapy. My therapist was so helpful and really changed the way that I look at anxiety. She told me that there are a few things that you should always do when having a panic attack, and I would like to share these with you guys. These are 5 methods that have helped me deal with anxiety.

5 Ways to Handle Your Anxiety in Grad School

I am not a therapist but I did go to therapy for a year because my anxiety was too much to bare in grad school. I would have trouble concentrating,. Also, I would essentially worry about everything and it was affecting my work in a negative way. Talkin g with many of my grad school friends, I found that anxiety pretty much affects everyone in grad school. This and imposter syndrome are two really negative things that you’ll probably face while trying to complete your master’s or PhD. Today, I want to go over some helpful ways in which I was able to handle my anxiety and move passed it. In fact, my anxiety decreased so much that I don’t need therapy anymore. These methods do work, and, if you are up for the challenge, you should try them out.

1. Give your anxiety a name

My anxiety was called Ang. She told me to do this because it convinces your brain that anxiety is a thing and not just a state of mind. Then you can “stand up” to it like you would a bully. I have used this method a few times, mostly to acknowledge that my anxiety is there. It may seem like a silly exercise, but it truly works.

Giving your anxiety a name almost makes it a tangible thing. You can call it names, put it down, and make it feel less powerful over you. I find this method is a good thing to do if you just feel a tiny bit of anxiety coming on. Sometimes while I am walking to class, I’ll feel a bit of anxiety. I go “Hey Ang, thanks for showing up but I don’t really want to hang out right now.” I would say that about 60% of the time, it goes away. It is a cool method and I am glad my therapist taught me it.

2. Keep exercising no matter what

I walk a ton throughout the day and do my virtual races (see my previous posts). I also go to the gym almost every day. Staying active decreases muscle tension and diverts you from what you are so anxious about. I mean, you can’t really be worrying about something if your doing stadiums lol.

Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and stay energetic. It is also a great way to combat anxiety. Sometimes you are just absolutely drained. Exercise is hard but to do when you are tired but it is essential to combat anxiety. Exercise has been shown to ease depression and anxiety. So keep on exercising people!

3. Meditate and practice mindfulness

This was a major point that my therapist brought up. Train your mind to be able to cope with things and to be able to calm down in situations where you are anxious. This is a daily activity but so beneficial. I try and meditate right after lunch each day, using my Headspace app. I have seen such a reduction in the severity of my panic attacks and anxious moments. Even last week I prevented a huge panic attack because of meditation. I will have another blog post going over methods to do this so hold on a bit 🙂

Here’s a great book if you are interested https:/

4. Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Anxiety in Grad School.

Look this bad boy up on the computer RIGHT NOW! This has saved my life multiple times and I am such a genuine person now because of it. This method focuses on changing cognitive distortions and behaviors by challenging your thoughts. There are so many YouTube videos on this so I won’t get into too much detail, but just know that it works but it takes time. Remember that this is a marathon, not a race.

According to the Clinical Guideline for treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy is “is a form of psychological treatment that has been demonstrated to be effective for a range of problems including depression, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug use problems, marital problems, eating disorders, and severe mental illness. Numerous research studies suggest that CBT leads to significant improvement in functioning and quality of life. In many studies, CBT has been demonstrated to be as effective as, or more effective than, other forms of psychological therapy or psychiatric medications.” They also emphasize that the science is there and this method works.

5. Be kind to yourself

I think this may be the most important thing that you could ever possibly do. We have some really unrealistic expectations of ourselves and beat ourselves up if we don’t meet those expectations. My grad school marathon has been just that and I was miserable. I found that being kind to myself, laughing when I mess up, and being kind to others has helped me become less anxious and happier.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the many methods you can try. I hope that at least one works out for you. Remember, if you have questions about this, message me. I would absolutely love to talk about it. Don’t just deal with anxiety, learn to live harmoniously with it.

**If you or someone you know is suffering from mental health issues, I highly recommend that they seek help. or are great ways to reach out to a licensed therapist and get the help needed. Therapy has 100% helped me and I know it can help you.

18 thoughts on “How To Handle Anxiety in Grad School

  1. Absolutely love this post and can relate to this alot. I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder since my teen years and I find it extremely interesting and helpful to read how others cope with anxiety too. Some great tips and written really well! Thanks for being open and for sharing Xx

  2. What a great post! I’m constantly inspired when I bump into someone who is taking steps in the discovery of their own wellness journey. I also want to acknowledge the courage it takes – to take those steps, especially when they arise in some of “darker” periods of experience. I’d like to add one to your list (a free gift – for anyone interested). In my own experience I am constantly amazed at the discoveries I’ve found in my own journey around anxiety and depression. I have enough mileage around it that I can now see that more often are not we often look at these life challenges as “something to fix, change, transform – get rid of etc”. What I’ve realised (seen), is they are more often or not – an invitation or appeal from our inner world – to look at something we may be overlooking, about ourselves. It may be a viewpoint or perspective, and experience or emotion that is calling for attention. Seen in this light, what we might initially, want to judge and reject – is now a doorway to finding out a deeper understanding of Who-We-Are, the gift of which, can only lead to a richer, more meaningful life! Wishing you the best on your journey. Be Well!

  3. I’m on medication for high stress, anxiety, and sleep apnea and it works in a marginal period! Dr. Dixon would prescribe MUSIC, MUSIC, MUSIC as I get a natural high on it and I also give myself SINGING LESSONS 101 so just throw youngblood1999 the damn MIC! This is the very best therapy and you have to have a very strong love for you Favs and like an artist looking at their easels with assorted paint colors beginning to create a masterpiece within their modern piece of work! It’s very effective therapy! I follow Mr. Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones extensively with himself canceling the Faces reunion tour to enter drug and alcohol rehab with being an ass kicking musician as a Legendary performer! What has taken place since is Ronnie picking up another skill in being a professional artist with displays close to New York art exhibition! Marrying once again about 9 years ago and having two beautiful twin daughters! He’s a two time cancer survivor and talking to him in some posts, Ronnie is a very humble, kind personality that is hugely under rated in the music world! It’s an incredible story and too damn easy to root very hard for a human being of his will! God bless & never give up!

  4. I have always been the good and studious daughter, good at school and at home. I was always kind and sweet. I thought more of others than of myself. Now it’s still like that, I can’t get my anger out, I’m never aggressive, I’m compliant and affable, generous and affectionate. I’ve never hurt anyone. But many people took advantage of my generosity and selflessness. I have had cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions for 3 years but it didn’t go as well as I hoped. Eventually I had to leave therapy because I still felt caged.

  5. Excercises in mindfulness, breath, self discovery, etc should be fundamental in curriculum, just like basic reading and writing, not dig the well when thirsty. Kudos to you. Keep fishing, may you find the biggest catch within. you.

  6. This is SO well written!! I have been to various therapists and it is so helpful to get their insight, knowledge, tricks, and tools. These are all WONDERFUL tools that I have used or am using. You wrote a great HOW TO ;-)) I will give a link in my blog. Thank you SO much for being open about your Anxiety and How To Deal with it. You are making the world a better place – Nice Caught BTW!!!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. I had anxiety attacks before and really helped myself on discovering how I could be okay. I did a lot of researches about it.
    What you shared is so helpful also.

  8. All good points! My daughter suffered from an Eating Disorder and her therapist told her to give it a name. she Chose ED.That is often used by women suffering from eating disorders. The therapist also advised her to think of ED as an abusive relationship. It worked very well for my daughter. She has been in recovery for almost 10 years now and accepts that ED will always be just around the corner in her life. She is very open about her history and she hopes that this will help others who suffer from eating disorders. I think this is the same as you talking here about anxiety . People can read your blog and know they are not alone!

  9. Nice! I have had anxiety most of my life. Exercise is key for either anxiety or depression. And meditation. Never named mine but I do use all the other strategies. I’d add one: have faith it will pass because it always does. Well, maybe one other one: sleep. Both Crucial. Sometimes when I was either depressed or at my wit’s end, I realized I was tired. I see other caregivers on your followers. 🙂

  10. Very informative..Keep writing like this and keep motivating people, so that people can live their life happily..🙂👍 All the very best.
    Keep up the good work.

  11. Pingback: Anxiety in College Will Come Back, Be Ready - MINDFULNESS IN COLLEGE AND GRAD SCHOOL

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