Experiencing some stress, worry or anxiety while being at university is normal, and happens to everyone at some point in their life. It is common to experience a rise in anxiety levels during your transition year to university, which can be especially tough being in a new environment.

At times small amounts of anxiety can help motivate us, for example, to create a structured revision plan. When anxiety is prolonged, intense and starts to get in the way of day-to-day functioning it becomes a problem. It can be difficult to control worries, leading to a constant feeling of worry and anxiety that could have a detrimental impact on daily life. Anxiety has an impact on how we see ourselves, others, and our future.

General anxiety management advice;

Sleep is important for managing anxiety, as it can help you cope with the difficult thoughts and feelings.

What we consume can impact anxiety, including caffeine, alcohol and too much unhealthy food. Mind have an excellent video around “food and mood”.

Physical activity can be helpful, even going for a short walk around the town can boost your mood.

Manage your worries

Setting aside specific time to focus on your worries – called “Worry Time”. You can do this by setting a timer for 10 to 15 minutes and noting down all of your worries. This can help reassure yourself that you have thought about your worries but in a controlled way. You can use a Worry Tree to give this some structure and to understand the difference between hypothetic worries and problems.


At times anxiety can fill our heads with so many thoughts, worries and things we need to do. A helpful exercise is to write everything down on a piece of paper.

This doesn’t have to be neatly done, just write everything down all over the piece of paper.

You can read through it after, and identify things you need to do in the many things you were thinking about.

Breathing exercises

The NHS has some helpful resources around breathing exercises, here is one we use with students.

  • Sit down with both feet placed on the floor.
  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

This HeadSpace video may also be helpful if you would like more directed experience.

What support do we offer?

Student Services works collaboratively with you in several ways to help you manage your anxiety. We offer guided self-help, one-to-one sessions with a practitioner and facilitated group sessions to help you create proactive and helpful strategies. You can book an appointment to speak to a member of staff or email for advice.

Alternative Internal Support

You can access self-help through various University channels such as:

  • ShelfHelp, which provides eBooks or physical copies which can help you understand and manage anxiety.
  • SilverCloud, which provides various modules to work through at your own pace to help understand and manage anxiety with cognitive behavioural therapy techniques.
  • TogetherAll - a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing. (This service is available until February 2023. After this time, we recommend students reach out to SHOUT).

External Support

If you would like to access some self-help materials here are a list of alternative support resources.