New College Students Urged to Confront Their Social
SATURDAY, Aug. 28 (HealthDay News) -- Anxiety can be a problem
for some college and university freshmen, but there are a number of
ways they can cope with new experiences and challenges, an expert
The first step is to get to know your anxiety, Martin M. Antony,
a psychology professor at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada,
advises in a university news release.
Understanding the nature of your discomfort can help reduce your
anxiety, he explains. Ask yourself what triggers your anxiety and
if there are certain situations that make you feel uncomfortable,
such as making friends, giving presentations, speaking with
professors, or being stared at by others.
Examine the thoughts and predictions that contribute to your
anxiety. For example, do you worry what others may think about you
or that others may regard you as incompetent, boring or
unattractive, or that you'll be embarrassed or humiliated?
Assess your physical symptoms in social situations. Do you
blush, sweat, shake or lose your train of thought?
The next step is to challenge your anxious thinking, Antony
recommends. Don't assume that your anxiety-triggering beliefs are
true. Challenge the validity of those thoughts. Also, try to change
the way you think about social situations and attempt to view them
in the same way as someone without social anxiety.
Instead of avoiding situations that provoke fear and anxiety,
confront them, Antony urges. For example, if you would normally sit
in the back row to avoid being called on by the professor, try
sitting in the front row.
Avoiding situations in order to feel safe may simply reinforce
feelings of anxiety. It's better to expose yourself to situations
you fear over and over again until you feel comfortable, even
though you will need to be prepared to feel uncomfortable during
the first few "exposure" practices, Antony said.
The Nemours Foundation has more about
going to college.
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