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 a range of steps you can take to actively recognise and manage these experiences. Learn how to manage anxiety and stress if they crop up.


Stress and anxiety will feel different for everyone, but some common physical experiences are:

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

Anxious thoughts can also contribute to the physical feelings above, or sometimes they can be independent. Anxious thoughts may include:

  • Thinking something really bad is going to happen
  • Fear of losing control
  • Self-criticism such as “I can’t do this” or “I’m not good enough”


If you require urgent or crisis mental health care please call Crisis Resolution on 0800 920 092 or dial 111.


Managing stress and anxiety

There are many ways that we can help ourselves cope with stress and anxiety, and you should choose what works best for you. Some approaches that may help include:

  • Doing some deep and slow breathing 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. 
  • Talking to someone you trust. This could be a friend, whānau member, a UC support service or an external support service such as 1737
  • Give yoga a go. There are some great workouts that you can try to help manage anxiety and stress.
  • Resetting your thoughts by drawing, reading or doing something else you enjoy
  • Using a heavy blanket such as a duvet and snuggling under it
  • Having a hot drink and taking a break
  • Avoid substances like caffeine, alcohol and cannabis, as these can aggravate anxiety
  • Practice good sleep hygiene. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep a night
  • 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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