Counseling Center

Anxiety

Anxiety is part of the body's hard-wired fight-or-flight response, which prepares us to act quickly in the face of danger.  It is a normal reaction to unfamiliar or challenging circumstances. However, when anxiety is persistent or out of proportion with life events, it can impede everyday activities and undermine wellbeing.

Recognize

  • Stress, anxiety and worry are out of proportion to the situation
  • Difficulty controlling worry or anxiety
  • Wound-up, tense, or restless
  • Easily fatigued or worn-out
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Repetitive or obsessive thoughts; difficulty “letting things go”
  • Irritable
  • Difficulty relaxing and sleeping
  • Avoids particular situations, places, or things that cause anxiety

Respond

  • Be compassionate and supportive
  • Share concrete observations about the specific behaviors you’re concerned about
  • Listen
  • Don’t minimize their anxiety, e.g. by telling them to cheer up or that everything is fine
  • Allow them to be in control of any steps they choose to take; don’t push too hard
  • Help celebrate and reinforce positive behaviors or steps they are taking
  • Encourage them to get support
  • Engage in relaxation, breathing, or mindfulness exercises with them, if they are willing

Refer

On Campus (413-542-extension):

Off Campus: