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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:/amzn.to/3vSo8HR
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.
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. Online-Therapy.com or TalkSpace.com 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.