Stress and anxiety are two sides of the same coin. As a final-year degree student, I fully understand that struggling with anxiety (and stress) is very common for everyone. Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness when someone is being too worried or anxious, which may be mild for some people, and severe for some. However, having a form of fear about sitting for an exam or a job interview, is inevitably normal. Even so, some people find it tough to control their worries as they face it too frequently and would oftentimes, affect their daily lives — which is serious and they must do something about it. As it comes and goes in waves, it can be due to anything — work, friends, relationships, body image, health, or finances.
With that being said, having to keep it under control is the best thing you can do for yourself. So here is my guide to help you deal with anxiety and stress. I bet it will work for you as much as it did for me — which in a way has also helped me to get on the dean’s list!
This can be hard for some of us coffee-lovers, but the sad truth is, coffee is the main culprit for worsening stress levels and triggering someone’s anxiety. This is due to the high content of caffeine in coffee which can create sudden havoc to the psychological state of our mind. When you reduce your caffeine intake slowly, it will alleviate your migraine issues and help you to sleep better at night. What I usually do to satisfy my coffee cravings is by having dandelion latte — it is caffeine-free and tastes exactly like coffee.
If you drink coffee to keep you up or make you feel energised, I highly recommend you swap your coffee to matcha. Although matcha contains caffeine, it contains lesser caffeine compared to coffee and is also believed to have a stress-reducing effect with the presence of L-theanine phytonutrients, allowing caffeine to be absorbed in your body at a much slower pace. So, you still get the caffeine’s awakening benefits but with no consequences of caffeine spike.
Exercising is a bit of a cure-all. Regular exercise has proven to help with overall well-being and just one vigorous activity can help ease anxiety symptoms for at least a few hours. As exercise and other physical activities produce endorphins — chemicals in our brain that act as natural painkillers, you’ll have a better ability to sleep and reduce stress. So, try to take every chance you get to move your body. Even if it is just a 20-min brisk walk a day, your body will thank you! This can be an immensely positive impact on your physical, emotional, and mental health just within a short period.
Personally, I enjoy sipping on any hot herbal and caffeine-free tea throughout the day. There is a small study which proves that chamomile tea helps with anxiety as they found that long-term chamomile consumption reduces moderate to severe symptoms of generalised anxiety disorder. However it does not extensively lessen the pace of relapse. I highly recommend incorporating it into your daily routine — it’s a wholesome calming ritual regardless. My ultimate favourite besides chamomile tea is ginger tea.
Ashwagandha is a potent anti-stress agent and an amazing herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It checks stress-induced changes in adrenal function as it decreases the neuron activity and inhibits nerve cells from over firing, resulting in a calming effect. In a recent study, it’s proven that taking 250 mg or 600 mg of Ashwagandha per day resulted in lower self-reported stress levels, as well as lower cortisol (stress hormones) levels. Not only that, they have reported on significant improvement in sleep quality. So, in order to know what dosage will work well for you, do consult a qualified pharmacist before starting it and do your research before choosing a brand as Ashwagandha is only a supplement, not a medicine.
Filtering who you mix with is extremely important while you grow up. But, this process can be quite daunting because some friends either take a toll on your mental health or make you feel like home. No matter how old you are or what you’re going through, healthy and close friendships encourage positive mental health and well-being. At this point, we should only have friends who make us feel better, not the opposite. When you know you have good friends, talk to them whenever you are feeling stressed or catch-up for some tea and share things. I’m certain that we all have that one friend who’ll always be there to make us laugh or to text us and say, “It’s okay, we’ll get through this together!”.
I can reassure you that although anxiety is a super unfortunate feeling, things will be fine as long as you know how to deal with it.
Dharini Mohan is currently in her final semester of Bachelor’s of Arts (Honours) Accounting & Finance at Taylor’s University. She was also one of the leaders for Peers Assisted Learning Services (PALS) under Taylor’s Business School in her past semesters.
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