Panic/Anxiety Attacks

About 35% of university students experience a panic/anxiety attack at some point. They are a normal bodily responses to perceived danger, even though the situation lacks a real threat.

Symptoms of a panic/anxiety attack include shortness of breath, racing heart, pressure in the neck, chest or back, sweating, lump in the throat, dizziness, shaking, tingling, dry mouth, nausea, hot flashes or chills, etc. Symptoms often peak in 3 to 5 minutes and then quickly subside. Not everyone experiences the same symptoms, and there are many more symptoms than listed.

Coping strategies include:
  • going for a medical consultation to rule out potential medical reasons for your symptoms
  • realizing that panic attacks can do no harm
  • using positive self-statements
  • practice diaphragmatic breathing

More strategies to deal with panic/anxiety attacks


Social Anxiety

Feelings of loneliness and isolation in university are often amplified for people with social anxiety. Common characteristics of social anxiety include being overly self-conscious, having trouble making friends, feeling anxious during social situations/interactions, and/or excessive worry about the perception of others.

Strategies to deal with social anxiety include:
  • identifying and challenging negative automatic thoughts
  • planning and preparing for social situations
  • developing key phrases that you can say to yourself for encouragement
  • focusing on successes

More strategies to deal with social anxiety


Test Anxiety

Some anxiety before or during tests is to be expected and, in fact, can enhance our motivation to study and our test taking ability. However, when anxiety reaches levels that are actually detrimental to performance-in terms of ability to study for a test or ability to take it-then it is often labeled as "test anxiety."

Coping strategies include:
  • thorough preparation by reviewing all information, discussing any confusing materials with other students, teaching assistants, or instructors, developing a specific study schedule, and more.
  • identify, challenge, and ultimately change any negative self-talk
  • learning to relax your body through a variety of techniques

More strategies to deal with test anxiety