Minor worries add up to big stressors

Kaylee Remington

Students coming back from an extended break may experience test anxiety when encountering their first set of midterms of the semester.

But Taryn Myers, assistant director at the psychological clinic, said that’s just a manifestation of a broader, generalized anxiety.

“Generalized anxiety means that a student worries about everything,” Myers said. “If students tend to think about other stuff than their test, then that will lead to anxiety.”

Students may feel test anxiety when they’re anxious about taking an upcoming test or making the requirements to be accepted into their major. Worrying about other obligations rather than an important test may increase stress levels.

Simple remedies for test anxiety

• Don’t save studying until the night before.

• Read books for classes during the semester, and review notes before the next class.

• Stop and take deep breaths when taking a test.

• Take breaks to allow yourself some relaxing time.

• If anxiety is severe, seek a professional.

• Practice yoga.

• Drink herbal teas or other hot drinks.

• Don’t drink caffeine or take caffeine tablets.

• Eat well. Trying to study on an empty stomach isn’t healthy and will increase your stress.

The Counseling and Human Development Center in White Hall provides individual and group counseling, free of charge, for the university and community. If you or someone you know deals with anxiety or other conditions such as depression, contact the center for more information at 330-672-2208.

Source: Taryn Myers, assistant director of the psychology clinic.

Myers said students can experience side effects, such as difficulty concentrating, increased heart rate, shaking, panicking and depression.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site, other symptoms can include headaches, nausea, anger and feeling faint.

A lot of stress can even lead to gastro-intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome and, in extreme cases, having a panic attack that could lead to a heart attack.

The psychological clinic conducts testing for other issues, such as Attention Deficit Disorder and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

If the case of anxiety is severe, students can be prescribed anti-anxiety medication such as Ativan.

“That’s something they can definitely talk to their family doctor about,” Myers said.

Students should try other remedies before immediately going on a prescription drug.

Junior mathematics major Allyson Ferretti said she studies ahead of time to avoid stress.

“I try to study in advance so I am not cramming and usually try to work out,” she said.

Myers said students come into the clinic with all types of anxiety.

“Realize you’re not alone,” she said. “Many students have test anxiety, and even though it’s just test anxiety, it can really get in the way of work.”

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Kaylee Remington at [email protected].