Six Methods for Overcoming End-of-Semester Anxiety

Spring has arrived and, with the passage of each new weather system, there comes a shift in mood in universites.  Warm moist air moves in from the Gulf Coast just as students become aware of approaching paper deadlines.  Crisp clear air awash in pollen, spores, and mold from points north blows through rendering everyone teary eyed, runny-nosed, and anxious about papers and exams.

Preserving your equilibrium at this time of year is paramount, so take a Claritin and read these few simple tips for maintaining some mental wellbeing.

  • Seek silence. You can do this through prayer, or meditation, or anything else that helps you still your untamed-monkey-thought-processes as they careen uncontrolled though the jungle of your brain.  The world is blessed by silent spaces indoors and out.  Use them.
  • Ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen, then prepare for it. That could mean reviewing your class notes, or begging off a social activity to get started on a paper.  If we assume that graduation is everyone’s primary goal, then we should all be focused on its achievement.
  • Take a short road trip. Did you realize that within a 60 to 90-minute drive of Dallas-Fort Worth there is . . . well, to be honest, not much of anything?  We are surrounded by a whole lot of wide open spaces, tiny towns, earth, sky, and cows.  Get out of town and look at the clouds.  Or stars.
  • Find a smart-phone accountability partner. This is someone who willingly looks after your phone for a set amount of time every day.  They will let you know if an emergency comes up but, otherwise, they will lovingly and intentionally separate you from your device and its attendant distractions.
  • Assume a power pose. If you are feeling especially fearful, take a few moments to stand with your feet apart and your hands on your hips.  Thrust out your jaw or raise your fist.  Imitate the posture of a 1930s dictator and you will start to feel more confident.  I’m not kidding, this actually works–just as long as you avoid seeking world domination.
  • Exercise with a purpose. We all know the about advantages of exercise, but give your exertion some meaning.  Instead of hitting the gym, do something active for the greater good.  Help a neighbor with their yard work. Remove abandoned rental bikes from sidewalks so the disabled can move freely.  Something as simple as collecting the trash you encounter on a walk will give you a physical and mental boost.

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