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How Stress Can Lead To Anxiety Whilst Studying

man with hands on head in front of a pile of books looking stressed

Post inspired by Simply Academy.

If you’ve been to college or university, or even started a new job where a lot of studying was involved, you’ll know how much this can put added stress onto you on top of everything else you’re already dealing with.

Whilst studying at college or university, the pressure can be enormous. Not only do you have to turn up to lectures on time, but there’s also the responsibility of remembering everything that was said, writing assignments and then of course, the inevitable exams at the end of each year.

For me, I really struggled with the revision part of my college and university courses. I struggled to retain everything which was said during lectures and then be able to correctly regurgitate that information during exams.

What Happens To Your Body During An Anxiety Attack?

When your body experiences anxiety, it is actually be responding incorrectly to fear, which puts the body into fight or flight mode which puts your body through tremendous stress, with chemicals such as cortisol coursing through your body.

Cortisol is a steroid hormone that has varying levels in your body at any given time and usually doesn’t have a bad effect on the body, it’s only when the body perceives a threat that this can become dangerous.

black woman sat in front of a laptop with headphones on and is wearing glasses and an orange jumper

Our modern world doesn’t help with this either, with the growing amount of devices which need our constant attention and the almost continuous pinging of notifications, it can make it hard for our brains to switch off.

When you factor in studying on top of all of this, it’s no wonder that it can lead to stress and anxiety. The effects that this has on the body can manifest themselves like such: heart palpations, sweating, a rise in adrenaline, an increase in blood pressure and body temperature as well as your sympathetic nervous system taking over your body.

This doesn’t sound like it would be conducive to studying and you’d be right. Your body is too busy fighting off potential predators or threats to concentrate on the material you’re supposed to be studying!

So with this in mind it’s important to recognise the signs and catch them early before they stop you from studying altogether.

Signs of An Anxiety Attack

First of all I should say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for help. Talking about how you’re feeling is half the battle and can actually make you feel less alone.

If you’re studying for exams then talking to your course leaders about your concerns could actually lead to you perhaps having extra time during exams or extensions with coursework. Either way, letting them know you’re struggling is a good first step to lessening your stress and anxiety.

man in blue jumper white shirt and blue jeans sat on a couch opposite a therapist

It’s important that you look after yourself physically too. Ensuring you get enough sleep at night, drinking plenty of water, exercising too will help you feel better – and is a good way to rid your body of excess cortisol.

I can’t say I did any of these when I was at university and studying for exams! Like I said previously, I wasn’t the best when it came to retaining information to later write down in an exam situation and I’m still not now!

But one thing I can tell you is don’t be afraid to ask for help. I genuinely wouldn’t have passed my Biochemistry exam if I hadn’t reached out to my tutor and practised the exam over and again until I finally passed it on the third go!

So however you're feeling when you're studying, or preparing for a big meeting at work, don't forget to ask for help, prepare your surroundings so you're ready should an anxiety attack occur.

Have you ever suffered from an anxiety attack?? Do you find studying hard? Let me know in the comments!

Love, Sarah


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A 30 something woman navigating life, sharing posts focussing on mental health, midsize fashion, self-care routines and life as a vegan.

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