Tips for Managing Academic Anxiety
Many students feel anxious about schoolwork because they’ve fallen behind and they’re afraid of getting poor marks. Even high-performing students experience academic anxiety because of the pressure they are under to do well.
A little anxiety is helpful as it provides motivation, but too much is harmful. Students with unhealthy anxiety feel unfocused, scared and paralysed. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to ease anxiety.
Learn to Relax
The first step to managing anxiety is learning to break the cycle through self-calming techniques. Breathing exercises, mindfulness and meditation help you identify the thoughts that trigger anxiety. With these practices you will learn how to let go of unhelpful thoughts and focus on your work.
Take Back Control
Anxiety becomes unmanageable when people feel like they have no control over a situation. This causes them to lose perspective. You can take back control by organising your notes, getting a planner and prioritising assignments in order of importance. It’s also a great idea to break assignments into manageable chunks. The simple act of tidying your study area will help you regain focus and motivation.
Forget About Perfection
Perfection is paralysing. When you give up on the need to be perfect, it allows your thoughts to flow. If you find yourself struggling to start an essay or assignment, free writing is a great method for overcoming anxiety. Just write down what you know, without worrying about grammar, spelling or structure. This will help you break through your anxiety and it gives you a first draft to build on.
Review Your Schedule
Sometimes students experience anxiety because they’re overwhelmed by activities and commitments. If this sounds like you, look for things to cut out of your schedule. It’s a good idea to work out your priorities by writing a list. You might need to put your part-time job on hold to study, or give up an extracurricular activity, so you have more time for schoolwork.
Talk to Experts
Teachers are there to help when you feel anxious about schoolwork, so talk to them about how you’re feeling. They can offer extra support and give tips on managing your work. School counsellors help put issues in perspective and can provide relaxation techniques. A tutor is also a great source of advice and support.
Take Regular Breaks
Exercise is one of the easiest and quickest methods for dealing with anxiety. When you begin to feel anxious, go for a walk or a run to take your thoughts away from study. You’ll return refreshed and with a calmer mindset. Regular breaks are needed to maintain concentration.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the first areas to suffer when students become anxious. When you’re tired it becomes harder to pay attention. By practicing relaxation techniques before bed and getting quality sleep, you can ease anxiety and regain focus. Studying in bed is not recommended, so put the books away when you climb under the covers for a good night’s rest.
These tips will help you manage academic anxiety so you can perform at your best.