As college students we often find ourselves “stressed out” or having “anxiety attacks” in the midst of rushing through things to do, but what exactly is anxiety?
We consulted with Sandra Rubio, counseling specialist III at the Counseling Center, who provided information on the impact anxiety has on our bodies and how to manage it.
What is anxiety? Anxiety is the reaction of your body to a situation that is above and beyond of what you can cope with.“How you are feeling about the situation[under anxiety] is disproportional to what is actually happening.”
How does it affect our health? “For example, when you have an exam you are not 100 percent prepared but you’ve been successful in previous ones, but this one requires a little more studying. So, you have your ability and the knowledge but your mind might start saying, ‘You are not good enough. You don’t know this test.’… Since you are already under stress and the body tends to go to the negative and you can’t eat, sleep or concentrate, what started off as negative thinking that was only in your head now manifests physically, stomach hurts, sweat etc.”
How does it affect our development as college students? “Students will avoid feeling bad, so what they’ll do is stop attending class or if they’re in class they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious. So, they are not able to concentrate because their mind is thinking, ‘I don’t belong here. This is too difficult for me. I am not going to be able to handle this’ and so, instead of being open-minded and concentrating on the lecture, they are fighting their own thoughts.”
What are some ways to prevent and manage it? Challenge the negative thinking. Reflect on why are you feeling a certain way. Replace it with a positive aspect of the situation and focus on it. “Being a student is body, mind and soul.” Mind: You have to have a clear and open mind, positive thoughts, affirmations and people who support you along the way. Body: Eat well. Sleep well. Be drug, trauma and drama free. Spirit (not necessarily religion): Have time to relax, regroup and get the negativity out. Seek help when you get to the point where it is conflicting with your day. “Sometimes it’s just a matter of someone giving you a different perspective.” Family, friends, counselors, mentors and professors are people who can help you look differently at the situation to help you do something about it.
What are some services UTRGV offers students and where can they find them? The Counseling Center offers individual counseling on both campuses to help students manage stress and time or if they are battling anxiety or depression. Outreach events and group workshops also are offered. In March, Rubio said, there will be stress management workshops before midterms. “On Tuesday, we have a social skills group where students learn about different topics.”
The Counseling Center in Brownsville is located in Cortez Hall 237 and in University Center 109 in Edinburg. For more information or to make an appointment, call 882-3896 in Brownsville or 665-2574 in Edinburg.
–Compiled by Ana Cahuiche