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Anxiety and stress

Ngā Anipā

18 August 2023

Feelings of anxiety can happen when we're faced with uncertainty or threat. Feelings of stress can occur when we feel threatened or experience an increase in stressors. While both feelings are normal, there are things you can do to help manage anxiety and stress if they start negatively impacting your daily life.


Individual experiences of stress and anxiety can vary widely among people, but some common physical experiences include:

  • Nervousness
  • A tight or lumpy feeling in your stomach and/or chest
  • Difficulty concentrating, sleeping and breathing
  • Feeling tense and irritable

Examples of anxious thoughts that can contribute to the above are:

  • Worrying that something bad is going to happen
  • Being afraid of not being able to control the outcomes of things
  • Self-critical thoughts such as “I’m not good enough”


Managing stress and anxiety

There are many healthy ways to help ourselves cope with stress and anxiety, and you should choose the ones that work best for you. You might need to try a few out to see. Approaches that may help include:

  • Breathing exercises: do some deep and slow breathing exercises when anxious - slowly inhale in and count to 3, slowly exhale out and count to 3.
  • Stay active. Do a physical activity that you enjoy outside. 
  • Share what's going on: talk to someone you trust about what is going on for you. This could be a friend, whānau member, a UC support service, or an external support service such as 1737.
  • Give yoga a try – checkout the RecCentre to see what yoga offerings are taking place there. 
  • Reset your thoughts: try drawing, reading or doing something else you enjoy
  • Get comfy: Use a heavy blanket such as a duvet and snuggle under it. Have a warm drink (ideally caffeine-free) and take a break
  • Cut down on stimulants: Avoid substances like caffeine, alcohol and cannabis, as these can aggravate anxiety
  • The power of sleep: Practice good sleep hygiene – aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night
  • Dedicated relaxing: Relax regularly i.e. take a bath, read a book or listen to music

If you or someone you know is in distress on campus, please contact UC Security on 0800 823 637

If you or someone you know is in distress off-campus, please contact emergency services on 111 or Crisis Resolution on 0800 920 092

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