Healthy Huskies: Managing anxiety  

The UConn Student Health and Wellness can be a source of support for some students who are looking to extend the reach of support they have while living on campus. Photo by Jordan Arnold/The Daily Campus

Anxiety is a normal part of everyone’s college experience. It’s natural to be anxious about upcoming assignments, exams or just feel general college stress. It is important to recognize what is a healthy amount of anxiety, and what may require more support.  

Panic attacks are a common part of dealing with anxiety. Panic attacks are described as a sudden episode of intense panic or fear. You may have symptoms such as sweating, shaking, being unable to catch your breath or a rapid heart rate.  

If you experience panic attacks, it’s important to learn tools to calm yourself down. Listening to music or talking to a friend you trust may help. Breathing exercises have also been shown to help decrease the intensity of panic attacks. Square breathing is a common suggestion for people who experience panic attacks. This consists of breathing in, holding your breath, exhaling and then holding your breath again — all for four seconds each. Oftentimes the process will need to be repeated several times until you are feeling calm again.  

Getting outside has been proven to be helpful for those with anxiety. A change of scenery and some sun can be very useful in quelling anxious thoughts or moments. If you are feeling anxious, try going on a short walk or making a trip to the UConn Rec Center for some physical activity. Aromatherapy techniques also help some people with anxiety. Next time you are feeling anxious, try using an essential oil. Smelling the oil gets you out of your head and focused on the scent, giving your brain enough time to calm itself down.  

If no home remedies work for you, it may be worth your time to talk to a professional. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to help work through anxiety and anxious thought patterns. By speaking with a professional you may be able to find the source of your anxiety and panic attacks. Medication may also be an option to look into. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors have also proven to be effective in the treatment of general anxiety or panic attacks as well as a host of other mental health medications.  

If you deal with social anxiety, exposure to social situations may help you become more comfortable. Luckily, UConn has many opportunities for socialization across campus. Grab a friend and get something to eat at one of UConn’s many dining halls and cafés. If you are looking for something to keep you occupied on a weekend, try attending Late Night. They hold events each weekend such as arts and crafts nights and karaoke, among other activities.  

The UConn Rec Center also offers group fitness classes throughout the week such as yoga and spin classes. Grab a friend and go together, or go by yourself. It’s always good to get active and physical activity can seem a bit less daunting in a group setting.  

If you think you may benefit from counseling or mental health support, reach out to the mental health office at Student Health and Wellness. They are equipped with several counselors and mental health resources. They can also make referrals to outside sources of support if needed. Call  860-486-4705 for SHaW’s mental health services, or visit the SHaW website.  

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