Tips to Lower Anxiety from Empower Counseling: The summer between high school and college can be a time of uncertainty and anxiety.

As humans, we tend to like predictability. We like to know what is going to happen next, so that we know we can handle it….that we will survive. Transitioning from high school to college is a big step.

In high school, you had a strict schedule, you followed the rules laid out by others, and you most likely had someone else making sure there was food to eat, and clean clothes to wear.

College will be completely different. There will be no one there monitoring whether you are doing homework, playing video games, or scrolling on your phone. There will be no one there telling you when to go to bed, when and what to eat, or to wake you up to go to class.

Thinking about being self-sufficient and completely in charge of yourself all of a sudden can be scary in and of itself. However, when you add in all of the social and academic unknowns, the anxiety can be downright debilitating.

Our minds are adept at preparing us for the worst. Our minds are usually not good at sharing with us possible best case scenarios. If you have time to sit down and think about what college night be like, you brain will most likely hammer you with negative “what ifs”.

“What if I don’t find any friends?”

“What if my roommate is a nightmare?”

“What if I get dropped from rush?”

“What if college is too hard for me?”

“What if I just can not do it?”

If your brain throws these “what ifs” out at you, your brain is completely normal (but not always helpful).

Another reason the summer between high school and college can be a stressful time, is that you might feel lonely. It can be difficult when your high school friends scatter, going on trips, working, etc, and you are not surrounded by them like you have been in the past. Everyone is going in his, her, or their own direction, and looking forward to the future. But you are not at college yet, with new friends.

This time can also bring up feelings of sadness or melancholy because of all the “lasts” you are experiencing- last beach trip with your high school friends…last high school party….etc.

So you are winding up a stage of life that was known and comfortable (for the most part) and embarking toward the unknown. Yikes.

Here are some tips for lowering anxiety from Empower Counseling so you can enjoy your summer break to the fullest!

Be intentional!

Think about what you want your summer to look like. Design the best summer for you. What does that look like? What memories do you want to make? Work? Vacations? Travel? Time with friends? Think about it. Daydream about it. Then do your best to make it happen. Once you have your plans, do what you can to live in the present moment and enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Take Action!

If you find yourself worrying about something in the future, ask yourself, “Is there any action I can take right now that would lower my anxiety?”. For example, if you are worried that you do not have everything you need to go off to school, sit down and make a list, and write on your calendar when you are going to gather these items. You will feel better.

Sitting around in the “what ifs” your brain throws at you, will lead to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Getting up and taking action, will lead to thoughts like, “I can handle this” and help you feel more confident about your transition.

If you are struggling with anxiety about the future, reach out to Empower Counseling. Our knowledgeable and compassionate therapists, Kathryn, Adam, and Kristine, specialize in Acceptance Commitment Therapy for anxiety and difficult life transitions. We can help you move away from anxiety and toward a more confident future. If anxiety has transitioned to depression, or substance abuse, we can help.

Empower Counseling is convenient therapy for teens, college students, young adults, and professionals living and working near Mountain Brook, Homewood, Vestavia, Hoover, and other surrounding areas of Birmingham. Kathryn, Adam, and Kristine offer appointments to fit your schedule, including evenings and weekends.

Call Empower Counseling today 205-730-6570.

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