Anxiety and panic attacks
What is anxiety?
A normal feeling we all experience when faced with difficult or threatening situations. However our bodies can over-react, and respond with anxiety to something which isn't really dangerous and this stop us from coping with everyday activities.
What is a panic attack?
A sudden and unexpected surge of anxiety that appears to come out of the blue. Experienced by one in three people at some point in their lives.
Warning signs include: sweating, racing heart, rapid breathing, tense muscles, running away, fidgeting, nail biting, mind full of worrying thoughts which are hard to dismiss.
Recent surveys in higher education found that 23% of students have problems managing anxiety, phobias or panic attacks. You are not on your own.
Ways to manage anxiety
- Don't let stress build up, if something is worrying you seek advice.
- Avoid getting over-tired and make sure you take regular breaks from work.
- When anxious we breath quickly and take in too much oxygen, and unpleasant feelings result. Make a conscious effort to slow down your breathing.
- If you find this difficult, breath into a paper bag or into hands cupped over your nose and mouth, this will restore the oxygen/carbon dioxide balance quite quickly.
- Remember, anxiety feelings are normal and harmless, if you wait the fear will pass.
- Learn more about anxiety - the more able you are to understand anxiety the less you will fear it. Check out the library or speak with the Student Mental Health Adviser.
- See Stress for more helpful advice and information.
If you suffer panic attacks in this situation, then you could apply for alternative exam arrangements to help you cope. Contact Access Ability to find out more about this.