Anxiety is very normal,It can be closely linked with fear, panic or worry, and everyone usually experiences some form of anxiety. It is particularly common around high pressured times or changes, like sitting exams or moving away to University. We can have the feeling of butterflies in our stomachs, feeling sick, sweaty palms and heart pounding and recover once the trigger has passed like before a date, or an exam or finding the Lecture Theatre on your first day. Anxiety can happen before good things and difficult things too. Some would argue we need anxiety to help us function at our best capabilities.
Anxiety disorders are different from every day anxiety. The psychological, emotional and physical symptoms linked to these disorders can affect how we live and become really difficult and upsetting. We may need support to manage our anxiety through medication or support of services and interventions like counselling or CBT.
This section will explore Anxiety in a little more detail offering you more information about services and resources available to you. If anxiety is becoming a significant problem for you access your GP for support, utilise the resources/services below or access the Life Lounge here at the University.
You will also find a specific section below related to COVID Anxiety and how to manage this. If you are experiencing COVID related Anxiety please watch the video prepared by Andy King our Cognitive Behavioural Therapist.
We highly recommend that you complete the LEAP Managing Anxiety Module.
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – this means having regular or uncontrollable worries about many different things in your everyday life. This can be quite a broad diagnosis, meaning that the symptoms you experience with GAD might be quite different from someone else with the same diagnosis.
Social anxiety disorder – this diagnosis means you experience extreme fear or anxiety triggered by social situations (such as parties, workplaces, or any situation in which you have to talk to another person). It is also known as social phobia.
Panic disorder – this means having regular or frequent panic attacks without a clear cause or trigger. Experiencing panic disorder can mean that you feel constantly afraid of having another panic attack, to the point that this fear itself can trigger your panic attacks.
Phobias – a phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation (such as social situations) or a particular object (such as spiders).
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this is a diagnosis you may be given if you develop anxiety problems after going through something you found traumatic. PTSD can cause flashbacks or nightmares which can feel like you’re re-living all the fear and anxiety you experienced during the actual event.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – you may be given this diagnosis if your anxiety problems involve having repetitive thoughts, behaviours or urges.
Health anxiety – this means you experience obsessions and compulsions relating to illness, including researching symptoms or checking to see if you have them. It is related to OCD.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – this means you experience obsessions and compulsions relating to your physical appearance.
Anxiety UK are determined to make the despair caused by anxiety a thing of the past! Anxiety UK is a national registered charity that was formed in 1970 by someone living with agoraphobia. Today we continue to be a user-led organisation, offering support and long term solutions for those living with anxiety, stress and anxiety based depression. For more information visit their website at: https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk
Visit MIND for more detailed information about Anxiety including how to manage panic attacks, self care, treatment options and much more https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/anxiety-and-panic-attacks/about-anxiety/
Andy King our Cognitive Behavioural Therapist has created this great video to help you manage anxiety around COVID and attending University including tips on how to manage the anxiety we may feel.
You can access support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with Togetherall
Whether you want to speak to peers or a counsellor, there will be someone there every minute of every day. You can join a supportive online community that’s totally anonymous, take part in a group course and take self-assessments.
Togetherall is a great source of support outside of normal office hours and means you can support when our services are closed, including evenings, weekends and outside of term.
Go to Togetherall.com to join with your uni email address – it takes 5 minutes and you have immediate access to support.
Togetherall has recently created some great advice and tips on 'Online Fatigue'
Is tech draining your energy? We’ve got five tips for dealing with online fatigue
Coping with the coronavirus pandemic has meant the world has moved even further towards the
digital space and left people spending hours in front of a screen working, socializing, shopping and
more. Whilst technology has enabled students to study from their homes and maintain contact with
friends and family, where physical interaction is limited, it has also increased tiredness and
disengagement due to the pressure of feeling like you have to be online at all times. This
phenomenon is known as ‘online fatigue’.
Online fatigue can have a negative impact on student mental health, heightening feelings of anxiety,
being overwhelmed and the ability to focus. Togetherall’s Clinical Director, Dr Tim Rogers, shares his
top tips on how to reset your relationship with technology.
1. Set app limits
Many of us don’t realise how much time we are actually spending online. Your device will likely be
able to tell you this, so take advantage. Monitor your activity and gradually reduce the time you
spend on each platform, especially across social media - set yourself time limits. For example, turn
off email notifications in the evening, or reduce social media use during mealtimes and before sleep.
If these features aren’t built into your device, there are plenty of services who can help, such as
Digital Wellbeing for Android.
2. Do one thing at the time
With the introduction of online teaching, it’s tempting to multi-task, but it’s important to resist the
urge. To perform at its best, the brain needs to concentrate on one task at a time. When studying or
listening to an online lecture, close any tabs or programmes that might distract you, like your inbox
or messaging, put your phone away, and stay present. We know it can be tempting, but remind
yourself that the message you received can wait a few minutes. You will be able to craft a better
response when you are not dividing your attention.
3. Be aware of social media
Comparison is the thief of joy, so try to follow social media accounts that are aligned with what is
important to you and foster positivity and motivation. It’s easy to feel inadequate and get a false
sense of ourselves when we are constantly comparing with the best selves of others. Remember that
no one’s life is perfect and what people show on social media is often a façade.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, it’s good advice to think about whether to delete those
apps altogether for a while, especially for younger women, for whom social media can be most
damaging in terms of mental health.
If you need a safe space to connect with others and express how you are feeling, the Togetherall
community is available 24/7 and monitored round the clock by trained professionals.
4. Remember to take regular breaks from online work
If you find there are moments in your day that feel overwhelming, take a few minutes of reflection
and positive action, such as starting a Togetherall course which can help you reset and refocus.
It’s important to take regular breaks between tasks – at least five minutes every hour – to set your
energy levels and restore focus. During your break, try to step away from technology. Stand up and
walk around, drink a glass of water or try some breathing exercises to let go of stress.
5. Don’t forget the importance of exercise, nutrition and a good night sleep
It can feel good to work hard and push ourselves when things are tough, even if this requires
working extra hours to achieve top results. Rest and recovery, however, are paramount to
maintaining high performance, and this starts with a good night’s sleep. Diet also plays a key role in
maintaining a healthy body. Remember to drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration
– your brain needs at least 2 litres of it per day - and follow a balanced and healthy diet to improve
Activity is important for mental health as much as it’s for physical health. If you spend most of your
time sat on a chair, it’s important to engage in daily physical activity to improve posture and
strengthen the muscles. For most, any step up in physical activity will improve the mood, even if it is
five minutes to stand up and stretch or move around - try to climb the stairs!