Daily life can be stressful, especially for students. During the experiences of day-to-day life and the pressure of deadlines, stress is a constant presence. In seemingly mundane situations, many people experience some form of anxiety. A generalized anxiety disorder is one of the most common forms of anxiety.
Anxiety has many subcategories that can be in the form of a panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Life can seem overwhelming and it can be increasingly hard to catch up, resulting in anxiety and a feeling of impending doom.
Schoolwork is often cited as one of the major causes of anxiety in students. Although it may seem scary, anxiety episodes can become easier to manage with various practices.
Here are a few possibly unusual options for managing anxiety as a student or young professional.
1. Look at Fractals
Originally used in Mathematics, a fractal is an infinitely complex pattern that’s similar across different levels. In recent times, the use of fractals has been used in the treatment of anxiety.
Mostly observed in nature, taking time to look at fractal patterns has proven to bring a sense of calm and soothe symptoms of anxiety.
Taking regular walks, keeping plants next to where you work, and checking out fractal art in museums are some ways in which you can incorporate looking at fractals in your daily life. Looking at this form of art regularly can improve the ability to find patterns in the most mundane of things and can bring a sense of calm to one’s mind.
2. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
EMDR was initially limited to the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. However, recent studies have experimented with this treatment with respect to anxiety and have yielded good results.
Many people believe the mechanism of EMDR is such that it erases memories. EMDR therapy can change the way that the brain remembers and encodes certain experiences.
Forms of anxiety that stem from past trauma are also often the hardest to treat as they are deeply rooted in our brains as cases of unsolved trauma. In such cases, EMDR is one helpful way to manage anxiety episodes.
Although promising, as with all new techniques, EMDR also has some potential pitfalls. Some of them include the fact that recalling a traumatic event can be extremely distressing for some, it just may not work for someone, and it’s quite expensive.
EMDR can be effective but must be performed with caution by a trained professional and only under certain circumstances.
Hypnotherapy is a therapeutic technique used to create a state of focus and continued attention. It can be used as an alternative or complementary to other conventional treatments for anxiety, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to increase benefits.
During a hypnosis session, you are relaxed in a state similar to being asleep, but not quite. Your brain is active, focused, and ready to accept what the professional is saying. In this state of relaxation, the willingness to focus on your subconscious mind is heightened, which can help get to the root cause of your anxiety.
Hypnotherapy might be an option for someone who feels their brain is always in overdrive or racing. It helps some people relax and focus on things that matter.
In some rare cases of people with severe anxiety, memory suppression is common. In a situation like this, hypnotherapy helps to resurface repressed memories in a slow and controlled way, usually without distressing the patient. Hypnotherapy may also be used by anyone trying to figure out emotional issues, quit smoking, or stop drinking.
4. Limit Caffeine Intake
Sipping a cup of coffee before heading to school is quite common. Coffee might seem harmless, but certain effects of caffeine intoxication or caffeine withdrawal may be very dangerous for some people’s overall well-being.
Caffeine works in the human body by blocking a brain chemical called adenosine. This way, chemicals like dopamine (happy hormone) and glutamate (excitatory neurotransmitters) get a head start.
The problem can lie in the fact that many people don’t stop at one cup per day. With stressful lifestyles and harsh deadlines, sleep often takes the back seat. When more than one cup of coffee is added to the equation, it could result in caffeine-induced anxiety. In this case, rapid heartbeat, tremors, and gastrointestinal problems are common.
Some people trying to wean themselves off of caffeine can also become trapped in a difficult cycle, and begin to experience caffeine-induced withdrawal. Effects like headache, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and fatigue are common. Quitting caffeine suddenly can result in more harm than good. Limiting caffeine consumption slowly could be the key to controlling your body’s response to anxiety.
5. Art Therapy
Art therapy got quite a lot of recognition after the idea of the adult coloring book helped some people cope with anxiety and panic disorders. But that isn’t the only form of art therapy helping people with anxiety.
An art therapist is a professional who guides people using art therapy to ease symptoms of anxiety. This form of therapy is especially helpful for people who can’t quite express their emotions verbally or aren’t sure of what exactly they are feeling. It is one of the most well-known forms of non-verbal therapy.
Art therapy can range from painting or coloring to even knitting. Music and dance are also great forms of art and can be extremely helpful coping mechanisms. Contrary to popular belief, art therapy is not only for artsy people. It can be for anyone looking for solace and to feel calm.
Large portions of the global population report experiences with anxiety and may struggle to manage their symptoms. Anxiety is common and there is a wide range of treatment options to choose from. With the right techniques and patience, symptoms and episodes of anxiety can be managed effectively.