By Scott Lutostanski
There’s a reason that the phrase “debilitating anxiety” is used so commonly. Although anxiety usually doesn’t stop someone in their tracks, it can cause someone to not complete the tasks or actions that they set out to accomplish. With the world the way it is right now, anxiety is more present in our lives, and it is especially present for young people.
A study done by Penn’s Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that more than half of the students visiting campus clinics listed anxiety as a concern. Additionally, research by the American College Health Association showed that about one-in-six college students have been diagnosed with anxiety. Another survey found that 70% of teens anxiety and depression are major problems among their peers.
Anxiety can prevent students from completing work, communicating with teachers, talking with friends, or getting to activities. This is not an all-inclusive list. Anxiety can create dysfunction in many parts of our lives. There are a few strategies that students can work on that can improve academic outcomes and self-awareness.
Students need to hone their planning skills. By improving their planning skills and being able to constantly look well into the future, students can ease anxiety by creating plans that will allow them to prepare and find the time they need to stay in a more productive state. Nothing will throw things out of whack like an all-night cram session or waking up early to work on a paper that is due the same day. By avoiding these situations and creating smooth sailing, students can reduce their anxiety.
Visualizing the outcome can help students produce work. It can be beneficial to imagine both the “success outcome” and the “doomsday outcome.” A lot of times, the doomsday outcome is fairly irrational or unrealistic. By analyzing an upcoming situation or task for all outcomes, students can actually release anxiety.
Creating small, manageable steps so tasks are easier will make them more likely to be completed. Take getting to class. If students are feeling anxious, they can break the task of getting ready, getting out the door, and getting to class into many, many executable steps.
Overcoming anxiety is incredibly difficult when working independently. It can lead to isolation and more intense feelings. By sharing anxiety with another person and working through it together, students can be more successful and become more effective.
Our Academic Coaches work with students to improve these skills. If you feel like this is relevant to your student or would like to learn more, email ScottL@galined.com.