Healthy Ways to Cope With Rejection

By: Alejandra Malaga Walters, Francis College of Engineering Well-being Leader

As you go through life, you will inevitably encounter rejection. Understand that you can overcome these painful feelings and move forward. Remember that you are not alone, and your experience is valid. It takes vulnerability and courage to keep trying in the face of rejection, and you can get somewhere amazing when you continue pushing forward. 

Throughout life, everyone faces rejection in various forms, whether it’s being denied a desired job, being turned down for a date, or experiencing the end of a relationship with a friend or romantic partner. Sometimes, we interpret a rejection as universal, believing it reflects our overall worth rather than the circumstances of that situation. This cognitive distortion can magnify the impact of rejection, leading to feelings of anxiety, negativity, or depression. However, it’s important to recognize that these thoughts are not reflective of reality and to always seek ways to challenge them. 

Practicing journaling and mindfulness can help increase awareness of our thoughts and feelings, and seeking professional help can provide valuable support in challenging and reframing negative beliefs about ourselves. Rejection can be harsh, whether delivered rudely or gently, and it’s normal to experience a strong emotional reaction to it. It’s okay to feel upset or hurt for a while, as emotions don’t adhere to a strict timeline. 

Here are some healthy ways to cope with and grow from rejection: 

  1. Let go of self-blame: While rejection may sometimes result from our mistakes, dwelling on blame can hinder our progress. 
  1. See growth opportunities: Even in the face of rejection, there’s an opportunity to learn and improve for the future. 
  1. Engage in self-care: Be kind to yourself, especially when dealing with rejection-sensitive dysphoria, and utilize coping mechanisms to take care of your well-being. 
  1. Feel your emotions: It’s important to acknowledge and honor your feelings rather than bottling them up, as suppressing them can intensify them later on. 
  1. List your successes: Remind yourself of past successes to counteract the feeling of rejection being all-encompassing. 

As you navigate through life, remember that rejection is a natural part of the human experience. By acknowledging your feelings and seeking support when needed, you can overcome the pain of rejection and move forward with resilience. Your experiences are valid, and it takes courage to continue pursuing your goals in the face of rejection. 

References:  

How to Deal With Rejection: Types, Coping Tips (verywellmind.com) 

Transformation: From Newcomer to Campus Leader

By: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

When I arrived on campus as an international student, I felt utterly lost. Everything was new and confusing, from the campus layout to the academic system. I remember thinking, “How will I ever find my place here?”

As I prepare to graduate this May, I look back at that version of myself with a gentle smile, proud of the transformation I have undergone. From a state of bewilderment, I have evolved into one of the most involved students on campus, a journey that not only built my confidence, but also expanded my social network extensively.

At first, I kept to myself, overwhelmed by the new environment. But I realized that to make the most of my college years, I needed to get involved. So, I started small. I joined clubs like IBA and Finance Society that are related to my major, attended campus events, and gradually began to feel more at home.

Getting involved changed everything. I met people from diverse backgrounds, learned about different cultures, and started building a network that went beyond just making friends—it was about creating connections that would last a lifetime.

Before I knew it, I was not just participating; I was leading. I took on roles that challenged me, and pushed me to learn and grow:

  • Student Government Association, Senator at Large: I represented a diverse student body, articulating their needs and concerns in decision-making forums.
  • Student Alumni Ambassador: I acted as a bridge between current students and alumni, organizing networking events and fostering connections.
  • Finance Society, Secretary: I managed administrative tasks and communication between club members, fostering a structured environment for learning more about my major: finance.
  • International Business Association, Chief Financial Officer: I oversaw budgeting and financial planning for the association, ensuring resources were appropriately allocated for events and activities. I also participated in several key conferences, which allowed me to engage with industry professionals and gain insights into global business trends. This experience was instrumental in broadening my understanding of my second major international business 
  • Orientation Leader: I guided new students during their transition to college life, providing support and information about campus resources. I also built my leadership and communication skills through this position.
  • Well-being Leader: I promoted health and well-being initiatives on campus, creating awareness and organizing wellness programs. Additionally, I wrote original blog posts each month on topics of well-being. This blog will be my last as I am graduating in May. I hope you have enjoyed these posts and found them helpful in improving your daily life and overall well-being.

With each new responsibility, my confidence surged. I was no longer just showing up to college; I was showing out.

Now, as I stand on the brink of graduation, I realize that college is indeed what you make of it. Your experiences, choices, and interactions shape your college life.

For those just starting their college journey or those feeling lost, here are a few tips:

  • Get Involved: Join clubs or societies that align with your interests. It’s a fantastic way to meet like-minded individuals and find your tribe. Check out UMass Lowell’s Engage website to discover organizations on campus.
  • Be Curious: Attend workshops, seminars, and guest lectures. Education does not need to be confined to the classroom.
  • Volunteer: Give your time to causes you care about. It’s rewarding and a great way to build connections. View UMass Lowell’s list of Community Connections.
  • Speak Up: Don’t be afraid to ask questions, share your ideas, or seek help. Your voice matters.
  • Explore: College is the perfect time to try new things. Embrace the unknown with an open heart and mind.

Now, as I reflect on my college years, I see how each step I took to get involved helped shape me into a more confident and connected individual. I didn’t just attend college; I made it a memorable and transformative experience. For anyone feeling uncertain about how to navigate college life, remember that it’s all about taking those first small steps to engage with the world around you.

Wear It All Poem/Song

By: Fahad Alden, College of Fine Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

I wrote a song/poem about my experience traveling and falling in love with life itself. It’s about self-exploration, figuring out who I am, and seeing beauty in someone else, as well.

You said you want to climb the mountains

You said you want to do it all

Don’t never care about who’s around, yeah

Put on my shoes and walk it off

I love the way you laugh around me, baby

Way too cool

You hear the music and the sounds it amazing

Make the room so new

I don’t wanna hide away

Chorus

So im not hiding from nothing

I wear it all

Wear my emotions in front of me

Wear it all

Cause this connection

This connection

With myself

I wear it all

Love me like I love you

Perfect hair it’s so you, aye

Love the way you are so true

Come talk to me, let’s talk about it all

Don’t want to keep it small, I love the talk

You remind me of the way we are

Perfectly ourselves, we wear it all

Wear it all

Love my flaws, aye

Wear it all

Wear it all, aye

Chorus

So I’m not hiding from nothing

I wear it all

Wear my emotions in front of me

Wear it all

Cause this connection

This connection

With myself

I wear it all

You can’t tell me nothing

Can’t tell me nothing

You can’t tell me nothing

Way too connected with me

Chorus

So I’m not hiding from nothing

I wear it all

Wear my emotions in front of me

Wear it all

Cause this connection

This connection

With myself

I wear it all

Improve Your Well-being

By: Mia Andrade, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

Self-care is all about ensuring that your physical and emotional needs are met. I think self-care is one of my favorite aspects of well-being. I enjoy dedicating certain days to self-care and find joy in skin care and hair care routines. The relaxing and de-stressing feeling of throwing on a robe and a face mask on a Sunday evening is an example of an ideal self-care activity that I love to do! Let’s explore different types of self-care to improve your well-being.

  1. Social Self-Care

Close connections are important to your well-being, as we have close people in our lives who care about us. As college students, our lives become busy, but it is important to make some time to meet your social needs. 

Questions to consider:

  • What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?
  • Are you getting enough face-to-face time with your friends?
  1. Spiritual Self-Care

Nurturing your spirit can come in many ways and allows one to develop a deeper sense of meaning and understanding of life. Spiritual self-care is essential, whether you enjoy meditation, praying, or attending a religious service.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?
  • What deeper questions do you ask yourself about life and experience?
  1. Mental Self-Care

Our minds are the most powerful tools in our lives, and self-care activities have the power to help you stay mentally healthy. Some examples include practicing self-love and compassion, affirmations, or even reading a book.

Questions to consider:

  • Are you doing fulfilling things to help you stay mentally healthy?
  • Are you making enough time for activities that mentally stimulate you?
  1. Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care allows us to develop healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, such as anxiety and sadness. It’s important to incorporate emotional self-care into your life, whether that involves setting aside time for leisure activities or talking to a friend about how you’re feeling. Therapy and counseling (UML Counseling Services) are also helpful activities of emotional self-care.

Questions to consider:

  • Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?
  • Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?
  1. Physical Self-Care 

Taking care of your body is crucial to your well-being. The mind and body have a strong connection, and we think better when we care about our bodies. Participation in physical activity and caring for your physical needs are key examples of physical self-care. Caring for your physical needs is often overlooked and should be prioritized. Some examples of this involve attending healthcare appointments, taking medications as prescribed, getting enough rest, managing stress, etc. 

Questions to consider: 

  • Are you getting enough exercise?
  • Are you getting adequate sleep?
  • Are you taking charge of your health?

Good self-care takes on many forms and involves doing what you enjoy. Some areas of your well-being may require more self-care than others, so it is important to ask yourself these questions and discover what works best for you. 

“Self-care is important because it helps re-establish balance and avoid burnout. It is often the mechanism of recalibrating and getting in touch with our ability to play, have fun, relax, and connect.”

 – Sabrina Romanoff

Thriving in Senior Year: My Wellness Journey

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader 

Senior year ushers in a whirlwind of emotions – anticipation for the future and the uncertainty of what lies ahead. In this transformative period, I have found solace in embracing change. Mindfulness has become my steadfast companion, grounding me in the present amidst the chaos of transition. With the wisdom of friends and mentors, I navigated senior year’s uncharted waters by fostering resilience and embracing the unknown with optimism.

As the demands of senior year escalate, striking a balance between academics and personal well-being becomes paramount. Through trial and error, I have uncovered the delicate art of balance. Setting achievable goals and boundaries has been instrumental in safeguarding my mental and emotional well-being. By crafting a schedule that honors both my academic commitments and my need for self-care, I mitigated the risk of burnout. I recognized that prioritizing my well-being is crucial for sustainable success.

Life’s journey is rife with challenges, yet our response to adversity defines us. In the crucible of senior year, I have honed the art of resilience. Armed with self-reflection and self-compassion, I have confronted obstacles with unwavering resolve, viewing setbacks as opportunities for growth. Supported by my community’s unwavering encouragement, I navigated senior year’s peaks and valleys with grace and grit.

Being a student from UMass Lowell has taught me invaluable life lessons that have prepared me not only for academic success, but also for life beyond college:

  • Resilience: I have learned to find strength and growth in adversity.
  • Self-discovery: Exploring passions and values has deepened my understanding of myself.
  • Time management: Balancing academics and personal life has honed my organizational skills.
  • Adaptability: Flexibility and open-mindedness have helped me navigate change.
  • Community: Meaningful connections have provided support and belonging.

As graduation looms, I am reminded of the profound importance of nurturing connections. In the final chapter of my college journey, I cherish the bonds forged with friends, family, and mentors. These relationships form the bedrock of my support system, offering solace in times of uncertainty and jubilation in moments of triumph. Together, we weave a tapestry of shared experiences and cherished memories, anchoring me in the present as I prepare to embark on a new chapter.

Standing on the cusp of graduation next semester fills me with profound gratitude and pride. Each milestone and lesson has sculpted me into the person I am today. True success, I have learned, transcends accolades; it is measured by the relationships nurtured and lives touched. With my heart brimming with gratitude and a spirit ablaze with anticipation, I embrace the future, knowing that the lessons learned and memories cherished will accompany me on the journey ahead.

The Benefits of Therapy

By: Fajr Zahid, Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences Well-being Leader

Therapy can be highly beneficial in helping to treat a wide array of emotional challenges, including mental health conditions, stress, adverse life events, and trauma. It can also help individuals to better understand themselves and their behavior, which is important when trying to overcome such challenges. While therapy is often thought of as a one-on-one session between a patient and a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, there are many different forms of therapy, each targeting a specific goal or outcome. Here are a few common types:

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

CBT aims to help people identify and alter unhealthy behavior patterns and replace them with healthier, more effective behaviors. This type of therapy works well for individuals with mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. 

  1. Interpersonal therapy (IPT)

IPT places an emphasis on improving relationships and helping patients learn to express their emotions in healthy ways, as well as improving communication skills. This therapy type is known to work well for individuals struggling with depression.

  1. Family therapy

Family therapy builds stronger communication between family members, and helps in handling and solving conflicts more effectively. Certain forms of this kind of therapy are often used in cases of eating disorders and bipolar disorder. 

  1. Psychodynamic therapy 

Psychodynamic therapy focuses on helping people better interpret and understand their unconscious emotions and feelings, which may be affecting their mental well-being and behavior patterns. 

  1. Art therapy

Art therapy helps people express their emotions and promotes healing through art forms such as drawing/painting, music, and dance. 

It is important to find the right fit for yourself when beginning your journey with therapy. It may take some trial and error before you find what type of therapy works best for you. While it takes time and patience to begin seeing improvements in your struggling areas, there are many potential benefits to utilizing therapy as a form of treatment for your mental health concerns. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased strength and resilience against fears and mental struggles
  • Overcoming negative/unhealthy behaviors, attitudes, or coping mechanisms
  • Improved relationships and communication skills
  • Finding relief and peace among difficult life events
  • Boosted self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Newfound knowledge to handle strong emotions, such as grief or anger
  • Healing from past traumas

If you often find yourself struggling with mental health and experience difficulty overcoming these struggles, talking to a therapist or counselor could be of great benefit to you. It is important to keep an open mind and to remain patient throughout your journey, as it may take time to adjust and find your best fit (in terms of both your provider and the type of therapy). I hope you found this article to be useful, and that you are able to apply some of the things I mentioned to improve your own well-being. 🙂

Resources:

https://www.mhanational.org/therapy

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/psychotherapy

Types of Breaks to Help With Studying

By: Mia Andrade, Kennedy College of Sciences Well-being Leader

As the semester is approaching an end, it is important to keep up with assignments and all that comes your way. Breaks are essential in keeping you refreshed and maintaining that momentum to finish your semester off strong. When deciding to take a break from studying, it can help to start by asking yourself, “What do I want out of my break?” Does it help you relax? Does it excite or challenge you? Effective breaks are important and will leave you feeling revitalized and motivated to study. 

There are four different types of breaks that may help when you need to take your mind off studying: 

  1. Get creative. 

Creative activities come with many potential benefits. They can help you improve your memory, exercise your right brain, give your prefrontal cortex a break, and help your brain produce dopamine. Some suggestions may be:

  • Setting a new goal
  • Learning something new
  • Allowing yourself to daydream
  1. Move. 

All types of movement are a great way to take a break. Moving around and completing a small task helps build productivity and motivation to continue studying. Moving around also improves alertness and attention span. Sometimes changing the setting you are in during a study session can help avoid boredom and produce calming effects. Some activities you can try are:

  • Changing your environment
  • Completing a small chore
  • Going for a walk
  1. Nourish your body and mind. 

Taking care of your body and mind is essential to foster a productive study session. Its many benefits include stress relief, increased productivity, and increased attentivity. This is my favorite type of break to take! As a pre-med student, most of my time is devoted to studying and completing assignments. I find the nourishment of my body and mind crucial to helping me excel in my academics. Naps have to be my favorite. Some ways I would suggest accomplishing this type of rest may be:

  • Meditating
  • Taking a power nap
  • Listening to music
  • Having a snack
  1. Socialize. By socializing with other people, you create a positive emotional state for yourself. You feel socially connected to others and can take your mind off studying for some time before getting back into the game. Some ways you can utilize your break to socialize may be:
  • Calling a friend or family member to catch up
  • Going to the dining hall to meet up with friends

Overall, taking breaks in between studying is important in maintaining your well-being. As students, we need to prioritize breaks between studying and classes to allow our bodies and brains to reset and avoid burnout. Taking care of yourself is top priority!

Standing Tall: My Journey Against Peer Pressure

By: Angel Molekunnel, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader 

As I stepped onto UMass Lowell’s campus for the first time, a whirlwind of excitement and anticipation surrounded me. The prospect of newfound freedom and endless possibilities seemed exhilarating, but little did I know that along with this newfound independence would come relentless pressure.

The first few weeks passed in a blur, between orientation events and late-night dorm room gatherings. It wasn’t long before I found myself surrounded by peers who seemed to effortlessly navigate the social scene, their confidence fueled by the allure of alcohol and drugs.

At first, I brushed off the subtle hints and invitations, eager to find my place without compromising my values. But as the days turned into weeks, the pressure to partake in the party culture became increasingly difficult to ignore. It seemed like everywhere I turned, there was another invitation, another opportunity to join in and let loose.

I watched as friends and acquaintances succumbed to the temptation, their inhibitions melting away with each sip of alcohol or puff of smoke. Part of me longed to join them, to shed my reservations and immerse myself in the euphoria of the moment. But deep down, I knew that giving in would betray the principles I held dear to.

As the pressure mounted, I found myself grappling with doubt and uncertainty. Was I missing out on the quintessential college experience by abstaining from alcohol and drugs? Would I ever truly belong if I didn’t conform to the expectations of those around me?

But then, in a moment of clarity, I realized that my worth wasn’t defined by the choices I made or the substances I consumed. My strength lay in my ability to stand firm in the face of adversity, to chart my own course despite the prevailing currents of peer pressure.

I chose to stay away from peer pressure for several reasons:

Personal Values: I have strong personal values that prioritize health, safety, and integrity.

Academic Goals: Maintaining focus on my academic goals is paramount, and avoiding substance-use helps me stay on track.

Long-Term Well-Being: I recognize the long-term consequences of alcohol and drug abuse and prioritize my physical and mental well-being.

Self-Respect: By staying true to myself and my principles, I cultivate a sense of self-respect and self-confidence.

Positive Relationships: Surrounding myself with friends who respect my choices fosters genuine and positive relationships.

Legal Concerns: I am aware of the legal ramifications of underage drinking and drug possession and choose to avoid legal trouble.

Role Model: I aspire to be a role model for others and demonstrate that it’s possible to have a fulfilling college experience without succumbing to peer pressure.

With such considerations in mind, I began to assertively decline invitations to parties and gatherings where alcohol and drugs were the focal point. I surrounded myself with friends who respect my decisions and support my journey, finding solace in their unwavering encouragement.

As time went on, I discovered that there were countless ways to find joy and fulfillment in college beyond the confines of substance use. From hiking adventures to late-night study sessions, I embraced each opportunity to connect with others and create meaningful memories.

Looking back on my college experience, I am filled with pride knowing that I stayed true to myself in the face of adversity. While the allure of peer pressure may have been strong, it was no match for the strength of my convictions and the support of those who stood by my side.

Today, as I reflect on the journey that brought me to where I am, I am grateful for the lessons learned and the person I have become. Standing tall against peer pressure was no easy feat, but it was undoubtedly one of the most rewarding decisions I have ever made.

Emotional Freedom: the Bad Habit of Keeping Your Feelings Bottled Up

By: Fahad Alden, Fine Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

Why outward self-expression benefits more than just your state of mind

“There was a point where I found myself looking out for people who never cared for me, betrayed me, and didn’t support me.”

Sound familiar?

If you’re like me, you’ve interacted with many people in different capacities, whether friends, lovers, or colleagues. And if you struggle with being a people pleaser, chances are high that you’ve become accustomed to putting the feelings of others ahead of your own.

Even though society oddly praises selflessness for shelving your own emotions in favor of sparing someone else’s, repeatedly assuaging the pain of others while allowing your feelings to be neglected and frequently ignored can have long-lasting and detrimental effects on your psyche.

Suffering In Silence

Being polite is in my DNA. It’s been ingrained in me since childhood to always put on a cheerful demeanor,take the high road, and smile no matter the circumstance. To be fair, a lot of immigrants have this same mindset ingrained in them. This is how we manage memories of war, losing family and how we grasp losing our homeland.

This mindset lingreded  with me as I entered university and the workforce. Being positive or a “hype man” ended up being a main  compliment if not only I would get  Which caused me to associate it with my identity. It is because of this that I wear  “positivity” like a T-shirt, constantly swallowing my sadness to not burden anyone else with it.

By the grace of God, David, a friend of mine, entered my life a year ago. He has allowed me to express who I am without judgment or the desire for me to always be cheery. He taught me that we are not meant to continuously be the rock for everyone in our circle without having anyone to lean on.

Reveling In Self-Expression

I never thought that pouring myself into my creative projects would be the main catalyst to helping me break down my walls, allowing me to fully express myself in ways I’ve never experienced. Pouring yourself into creative work, such as art, writing, or music, is healing because it cathartically releases emotions. Resultantly, you get the end product made out of something dark turned into something beautiful.

I learned that suppressing my feelings only led to being treated like a doormat and contributed to my heightened levels of anxiety, stress, and anger.

Living Out Loud

Unlocking your feelings will open the doors to a newfound freedom that will help improve your communication and build your self-esteem

 You begin to learn the difference between exhibiting decorum when appropriate and completely disregarding your own feelings, growing more resentful as time goes on. Suddenly, you wake up knowing your worth.

 Mastering the art of vulnerability is not an overnight process, so start slow, stay the course, and if you’re in need of a little musical therapy by The Weeknd to get you through the tough times, they’ve got you covered. 

What is it about music that opens us up in ways that no one can?It allows us to feel less alone and more connected to humanity. No matter your age, race or gender we are all angry, sad or jealous at times. It is better to embrace these emotions than act as if they do not exist.

Thank you for reading, and I invite you to check other articles and stay connected for future ones. 

Link:  https://www.pinterest.com/Wicked_Moose/

Living With Anxiety

By: Julia Yeadon, College of Fine Arts Humanities and Social Sciences Well-being Leader

Imagine this: your palms are sweating, your heart racing, your chest tightening, throat closing, fighting for a breath of air – This is the experience of many individuals struggling with anxiety that deeply impacts their quality of life. When asked what anxiety is by someone who has not lived with it, I struggle to fully capture its daunting and exhausting qualities with a simple definition. It feels different each day. Some days are easy to manage and other days feel impossible to get through. Some days it feels like constant worrying and tension. Other days feel so intense with fear that it is inescapable. Some days a multitude of triggers stack on top of one another until everything comes crumbling down. Other days the worrying and fear have no clear reason. 

I have struggled with anxiety since elementary school. I remember the constant stomach aches and intense feeling of worry that kept me up every night. I remember experiencing sudden rushes of anxiety when leaving the house and when a test was placed in front of me at school. I remember avoiding the people and things I loved because I thought it would prevent an anxiety attack. I still experience most of this today.

For many years, I accepted that life would always be difficult with anxiety. I accepted that sometimes I would need to cancel plans to avoid social situations and hide at home where I felt most comfortable. I accepted not going to the mall, not going to that birthday party, not going to that concert, not living my life as I should have been all along. For those in the same place I was years ago, I want to tell you that life can be just as beautiful with anxiety, but it takes some work and consistency. Oftentimes, this may mean therapy, medication, or both, but there are also a number of self-help tools that can limit the symptoms as well. I would like to share some of those that I have learned over the past few years (many of which I discovered in college):

  1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

I love my morning coffee, but I notice that days where I have more than one coffee or consume other caffeinated beverages often increases my anxiety. You don’t need to completely cut coffee out of your diet, but consider the amount of caffeine you are consuming and decaffeinated options during more difficult days. In addition, days where I am experiencing more intense levels of anxiety are often worsened by consumption of alcohol. Try eliminating or decreasing caffeine and alcohol intake to see how this can affect your anxiety.

  1. Try meditation and breathing exercises.

During the start of college, I experienced a spike in my anxiety. I was having anxiety attacks more often and struggled to control them. I struggled to sleep as worries rushed through my mind the second my head hit the pillow each night. I was desperate to find anything that helped. I remember searching online for ways to ease an anxiety attack and I found meditation videos on YouTube. Thus, I began listening to short videos before bed and whenever I began to feel symptoms of an anxiety attack arise. I also found breathing techniques during my search, suggesting the 3-3-3 technique, in which you breathe in for 3 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and release for 3 seconds. I recently tried yoga (which includes components of both meditation and breathing exercises) and have seen significant improvement. The thought of this sounded silly and useless at first, but I found that I can control my thoughts and my breathing.

  1. Stay active in your mind and body.

During my sophomore year of college, I began consistently weightlifting at the gym and felt immediate relief from anxiety. Physical exercise can look many different ways – running, going for walks, riding a bike, swimming, dancing, basketball, pilates, or yoga. Whatever way (or ways) you enjoy most, try to do it daily. Staying active physically decreases tension, relieves stress, and releases endorphins that enhance your mood. In addition, it is important to allow your mind to be active. Many individuals try to cope with their anxiety by pushing away worrying thoughts, and while distracting yourself can help temporarily, many of these thoughts return later on. Instead, try writing down these thoughts. After writing them down on a piece of paper, crumple it, tear it up, or burn it (safely, of course) to help yourself let go of these worries.

  1. Use the ice trick.

When I first started college, all I knew about easing anxiety attacks was to focus on breathing until one of my roommates shared a trick with me as she noticed me experiencing an anxiety attack one day. She took two ice packs from the freezer and held one to my ankle and the other to the back of my neck. Within seconds, the anxiety attack had passed. I asked her how it worked and she explained that the brain shifts focus between the two separate areas of the body, distracting the mind from the feeling of panic. This trick has yet to fail me.

  1. Don’t let yourself hide.

I have struggled with this for as long as I can remember, and, unfortunately, I sometimes still succumb to the idea of comfort through being alone in my own space. I often feel that when I am anxious, being in social settings will be too overstimulating, and, even worse, I fear experiencing an anxiety attack in public with nowhere to hide. But, I began forcing myself to attend those plans I had with my friends and I soon realized that surrounding myself with those who I love actually eases my anxiety. I also found that many of my friends live with anxiety too and could share what helps them. It saddens me to realize how much I have missed out on throughout the years due to my anxiety. Some days, I still choose to cancel plans and stay at home, but I try my best to allow the thought of missing out on making memories with loved ones to push myself to follow through with plans. 

If there is one thing you take from this, please know that your anxiety does not have to control you. You have the power to live a happy and fulfilling life despite the challenges that come with anxiety. While the suggestions above derive from my personal experiences, there are many other individuals eager to help. Please view a list of on-campus resources below to help you gain control of your anxiety: