Rising Anxiety for College Students

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According to the American College Health Association, one in six college students have been diagnosed or treated for anxiety in the last 12 months. Indeed, anxiety has replaced depression as the number one mental illness afflicting college students. Although the causes and mechanism of mental illnesses are complicated and often the topic of fierce debate, it is highly advisable for those college students struggling with anxiety to take a deep breath, and give themselves a break.

Of course, some experts will argue that a general anxiety disorder is genetic and unavoidable. Indeed, there is no shortage of case studies that support this contention. But, for those individuals struggling with mild anxiety, a holistic approach involves the following:

First off, stay off social media. The younger generation seems to live on a knife’s point of tweets, posts, and Facebook pictures. Instead of living vicariously through an artificial digital world, making assumptions about the real world that may be false, and most likely are false, trying being here now. Regular engagement face to face with other human beings is a surefire way to improve your overall health and happiness. And for those individuals who prefer to shut themselves off from the world and dwell in dark corners, try reading a book. It will no doubt expand your mind and provide that mental stimulation you may be lacking from an inability to connect with other humans.

But of course, if you find that you can’t even make it to class without having a panic attack, then you should probably seek medical assistance. Almost every college offers access to mental health professionals, and the stigma surrounding mental health is surely falling to the wayside. In fact, at the University of Central Florida, stress kits were distributed to students during finals to encourage happiness in health. Most importantly though, give yourself a break. Life is made to enjoy, not fear. Reach out to a friend or family member if you’re struggling with a mental health disorder, and know that it is nothing to be ashamed of.

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