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Feeling anxious is a common experience that can be adaptive in small doses. For example, when you are facing the due date for a class project, anxiety motivates you to do the work so that you can finish it on time. However, anxiety that becomes disproportionate to your circumstances can be debilitating. Anxiety that interferes with academic or social functioning may require professional help.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety can manifest in physiological, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms may be a cue to recognizing that you are feeling anxious. When these symptoms are impacting your ability to function, it may be indicative of an anxiety disorder and may be helpful to seek professional assistance.

Physiological Emotional Behavioral Cognitive
Rapid heartbeat
Muscle tension
Dry mouth
Shortness of breath
Sleep disturbance
Feeling out of control
Feeling apprehensive
Feeling uneasy
Irritable mood
Feeling overwhelmed
Avoiding uncomfortable situations
Excessive checking of behaviors
Use of alcohol, food, sex, etc. to cope
Compulsive behavior
Obsessive thoughts
Racing thoughts
Mind going blank
Difficulty focusing

The Difference between Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety is often confused with stress. Anxiety is a normal response to situations in which a person is overwhelmed with uncertainty, trouble, danger, and/or fear. We often experience anxiety as one or more of the symptoms listed above. Stress refers to the demands on our life (both good and bad) that can deplete our emotional, financial, time, and energy resources. In periods of significant stress, it is common to experience heightened anxiety. However, stress does not need to be present for an individual to experience anxiety.

  • Try to get enough sleep, nutrition, and regular exercise.
  • Practice yoga, meditation, deep breathing, and relaxation exercises to reduce anxiety.
  • Set realistic expectations for yourself and accept that you will not always meet those expectations.
  • Talk about your anxiety with people who care about you.
  • Accept that not everything is in your control and let go of things outside of your control.
  • Engage in positive and realistic thinking patterns based on objective facts rather than assumptions or fears.
  • Learn to say “no” so that you don’t overcommit yourself.
  • Schedule times for relaxation, socializing, and fun into your week.
  • Learn how to deal with criticism and allow yourself to be imperfect.
  • Decrease your intake of caffeine, nicotine, or other stimulants, which can often increase anxiety.
  • Decrease your alcohol intake, which interferes with sleep.
  • Focus less on outcomes and more on your experience or what you are learning.
  • Engage in physical activity to help decrease anxiety.
  • Seek professional assistance. Consider utilizing the options listed within the Services tab.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Tips to manage anxiety and stress 

Anxiety in College Students
Information on how college students experience anxiety

Anxiety Resource Center, Inc.
Information and helpful links for a variety of anxiety-related concerns 

Overview of Social Anxiety Disorder and Social Phobia
Information on symptoms, self-help, and treatment for social anxiety

Guide for Students with Psychiatric Disabilities
Information for college students struggling with mental illness

Critical Mental Health Resources for College Students
A complete guide with information and online/in-person resources for college students

Conquering Your Fear
5 tricks for overcoming fear

Relaxation Techniques
Help Guide’s description of various relaxation techniques you can try on your own


Online Workbooks

Comprehensive Workbook for Managing Worry
CCI’s Workbook (10 Modules) on understanding the experience of worry and learning to manage it

Comprehensive Workbook for Learning to Tolerate Distress
CCI’s Workbook (4 Modules) on learning to accept and deal with distressing experiences

Comprehensive Workbook on Dealing with Panic
CCI’s Workbook (12 Modules) on understanding and managing panic symptoms

Comprehensive Workbook on Social Anxiety
CCI’s Workbook (12 Modules) on understanding and managing social anxiety

Comprehensive Workbook on Managing Health Anxiety
CCI’s Workbook (9 Modules) on understanding and managing health anxiety

Apps for Anxiety

  • Anxiety Coach (iPhone only)
  • MindShift
  • Worry Knot
  • Stop, Breathe, & Think
  • Thought Challenger
  • Breathe2Relax
  • Self-Help for Anxiety Management
  • nOCD (iPhone only)
  • PTSD Coach
  • Worry Box
  • What’s Up
  • ReachOut Worry Time

Apps for Meditation and Mindfulness

  • Calm
  • Headspace
  • Insight Timer
  • Complete Relaxation Lite
  • Universal Breathing
  • Relax Melodies


  • The Worry Cure by Leahy
  • The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Bourne
  • Mastery of Your Anxiety and Worry by Craske and Barlow
  • Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior by Swartz
  • Getting Over OCD by Abramowitz
  • Stop Obsessing!: How to Overcome Your Obsessions and Compulsions by Foa and Wilson
  • The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety by Forsyth and Eifert
  • Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Davis, Eshelman and McKay


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