Skip to content
Tab thru menu links. Enter key for site map


Anxiety is a normal physiological response that helps us ready ourselves to respond to a perceived challenge (although sometimes it can be difficult to pin down what it is we are perceiving as challenging or threatening). This can lead to elevated heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, shallow breathing, tingling in the extremities, muscle tension, and a hyper-focus on the perceived threat or challenge (among other symptoms). Research shows that some anxiety helps us  meet challenges more effectively, but with too much anxiety, our performance declines. Anxiety can also be an aspect of a larger problem, such as in obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and social phobia. If this sounds like you, then anxiety management strategies can be helpful.

Signs of Anxiety:

  • Nervousness
  • Fear
  • Muscle tension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Panic
  • Obsessive thoughts and worry
  • Concentration problems
  • Shallow breathing

Things You Can Do:

  • Accept that some anxiety is a normal physiological response, and therefore it is not reasonable to expect that you will completely be without anxiety.
  • Be preventative in your approach to keeping anxiety from overwhelming you. Get plenty of sleep, exercise, meditate, eat well, and avoid caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol and drug use. This will help with keeping your body more in homeostasis.
  • Prepare for situations that provoke anxiety. This will decrease your anxiety about handling them.
  • Learn ways to reduce your physiological responses, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and focusing on what you want instead of what you fear.
  • Monitor your thoughts and watch out for irrational thinking. Examples of irrational thoughts include seeing things in all-or-nothing terms, making "should" statements, over-personalizing, jumping to conclusions, over-focusing on the negative, and overgeneralizing. When you catch yourself in these ways of thinking, have a conversation with this part of you (either through journaling or self-talk), and notice how it feels to shift back and forth from the more anxiety-provoking ways of thinking to more balanced perspectives.
  • If you have a history of abuse (emotional, physical, or sexual), you are much more likely to have problematic anxiety; addressing these issues can help tremendously. Abuse affects how we view ourselves and others, and situations that might not appear threatening to others can evoke many feelings that culminate in anxiety.
  • Spend some time every day in renewal (e.g., take some time to journal, pray, relax, introspect, read inspiring books, talk to a trusted friend or family member).
  • If you are drinking and using drugs, stop. This can worsen feelings of depression and lead to poor decisions.
  • Get professional help. Talk to a counselor or doctor. Many people benefit from counseling, medication, or a combination of both.

Help is Available

It may benefit you to talk to someone at the Counseling Center. Stop by during our Initial Consultation hours Monday-Friday 8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m., or call (828) 262-3180. We can talk with you about your concerns. You may also learn more by checking our other links, or completing an online screening.

Crisis Services

If you or another AppState student is experiencing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts or experiencing trauma in regard to a sexual assault, you may contact us after hours by calling the Counseling Center at (828) 262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on call.