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5 Signs You Are Having Academic Anxiety and Ways to Beat It

Anxiety, in its nature, is not always bad. It is a mechanism, which makes a person pay attention to something bothering in the environment. It was essential for survival and is still very helpful for some people and their motivation.

However, the high level of anxiety causes many problems and can lead to severe consequences, such as depression. And the rate of students who experience it is quite high. Sometimes it leads to their inability to study or complete assignments. Luckily, for any bad case scenario, there is professional platform.

According to statistics, 18% of people suffer from anxiety disorders, which makes it the most common mental illness. Such disorders are highly treatable, but many people just do not realize that they have an issue.

It is especially important for students, as it is quite common for all of them to worry, especially before the exams. Yet, it is crucial to know the difference between a healthy amount of worrying and an actual disorder.

Common Signs of Academic Anxiety

Academic anxiety has five main components, namely:

1. Worry;

2. Procrastination;

3. Emotionality;

4. Study skill deficit;

5. Task generated interference.

Worry comes with degrading thoughts about failure. It is when you think that you will definitely fail, you are not worth it (whatever "it" may be), and there is no hope. Such thoughts may be overwhelming and result in an inability to study and prepare for a test or assignment.

Procrastination is the next symptom. It results in less productivity and postponing important tasks. A student might feel so anxious about the result that it is easier to avoid the stressor.

Emotionality comes with biological symptoms students struggle with. It may come in the form of:


“Butterflies” in a stomach;

Increased heart rate;

Stomach pain;

Shortness of breath;

Nausea, vomiting;

Feeling like you are going to faint.

It might be extremely severe, especially right before or during the exam, which is known as test anxiety. These symptoms make it almost impossible to perform well.

Study skills deficit comes from unproductive study and can be a cause of many symptoms mentioned above. It may be a popular problem, especially among freshmen students. They are still adjusting to the new system and learn how to work in this environment.

Task generated interference is also easy to spot in the class or during an exam. It is when a student constantly checks the clock or follows any other distracting or unproductive behavioral pattern.

Unattended academic anxiety causes low self-esteem. It also may results in lower grades, worsen performance, bad mood, a feeling of anger, and hopelessness. If you experience such symptoms, it means that you probably have it.

How to Beat Academic Anxiety

Short-Term Solutions

Overall, there are immediate actions one can take to reduce the symptoms and feel better. There are also more comprehensive long-term solutions. Let’s start with immediate solutions. To calm down, you can try the following:

Belly breathing. Do it just for 1-2 minutes, slow down, concentrate on deep breaths;

Focus on your safe place. Picture the indoors or outdoors you love the most, imagine you are there, whether it is a forest, crowded bar or your room;

Look at a positive photo for a minute or two. If you cannot concentrate on a specific memory, just look at the photo or picture on your phone that makes you feel good and safe;

Listen to a favorite song - music does reduce stress;

Try relaxation or mindfulness app. There are free options that offer as short as 5-minute long meditations;

Move or exercise for a bit. Changing body activity will help to re-focus and calm down. Walk around the room or block, do a couple of push-ups or squats;

Talk to someone you can confide with. Call a friend, a relative or colleague and tell them about your worries;

Write down all your fears on the paper. It is another healthy way of venting them out. If you write something like “my life is over if I fail,” use counter-arguments why it is not true.

Long-Term Solutions

Long-term things to reduce anxiety are also very helpful, for example:

Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can worsen any mental disorder.

Eat healthily. There is a direct link between eating habits and academic success. What we eat also impacts our mood and cognitive abilities.

Exercise. Try yoga, jogging, or whatever works for you. These activities increase endorphins and serotonin levels in your brain;

Meditate regularly. It might not be for everyone, but you can at least try;

Plan your studies, start early, do everything step-by-step. Organizing the academic life will help you be more confident in skills and abilities;

Consider therapy and treatment. If nothing works and you feel completely paralyzed with anxiety, consider getting professional help.

In Summary

Academic anxiety is a serious issue that can severely damage one’s studies and life in general. And it is quite common among students, as they feel constant stress and pressure to succeed and fulfill expectations.

If you feel overwhelmed and experience these symptoms, try the tips outlineв above to combat academic anxiety.