Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. While there are different types of anxiety, in general anxiety is a feeling of intense, excessive, and persistent worry and fear about everyday life situations. Stress and anxiety often go hand in hand. Stress can be what causes anxiety symptoms, and anxiety can make stress worse.

Signs and symptoms

  • Feeling nervous, restless or tense
  • Trouble concentrating or thinking about anything other than the present worry
  • Difficulty controlling the worry
  • Having a sense of impending doom, danger or panic
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly (hyperventilating)
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Feeling fatigued, weak or tired
  • Other physical symptoms such as stomachaches, headaches or muscle tension
  • Difficulty sleeping

Causes and risk factors

  • Anyone can experience anxiety

  • Stressful situations (public speaking, job interview, first date, or taking a test)

  • Major life event (death of a loved one)

  • Having a medical condition that requires daily treatment

  • Certain medications can cause anxiety

  • Work stress or job change

  • Change in living arrangements

  • Pregnancy and giving birth

  • Family and relationship problems

  • Verbal, sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or trauma

  • Financial stress

  • Stress from unpredictable or uncertain world events, like a pandemic

  • Use of illicit drugs

  • Sometimes the cause is unknown


  • Some self-treatment could include:

    • Physical activity

    • A healthy diet

    • Regular sleep

    • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine to help manage symptoms

    • Mindfulness and relaxation exercises to help reduce anxiety

  • Use the 3-3-3 rule

    • Start by naming 3 things you can see around you

    • Then identify 3 sounds that you hear

    • Lastly, move 3 body parts of your body (fingers, toes, or clench and release your


  • Joining a support group

  • Talking with a licensed mental health professional, such as a therapist

  • Take medications as prescribed by your doctor or psychiatry provider


    Make an appointment to see a doctor if you:

    • Are more anxious than you think is normal
    • Get overly anxious about things that other people handle more easily
    • Are having a lot of physical symptoms of anxiety
    • Cannot keep up with your responsibilities at home, work, or school
    • Are struggling to maintain relationships
    • Abuse alcohol or other substances
    Seek medical attention IMMEDIATELY if you
    • Abuse alcohol or other substances
    • Are thinking about suicide
    • Are unable to keep yourself or other people safe
    • Are unable to care for yourself


      Coping mechanisms to may help you handle life stressors. Some things to try include: 

      • Exercise

      • Meditation

      • Relaxation exercises, including deep breathing

      • Visualization

      • Good sleep habits

      • Healthy diet

      • Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and sugar consumption

      • Developing and using a support system (could include friends, family, peers,

        community, etc.)

      Campus resources

      Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
      CAPS is a free mental health service on campus that is covered by student fees. They have psychologists and counselors that help to explore feelings and thoughts and learn ways to improve mental, psychological and emotional well being. They offer crisis care, after-hours, individual counseling, couples/partner counseling, groups and workshops.
      • Location: University Health Center 550 N 19th Street Suite 223
      • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday
      • Phone: 402.472.7450
      • Website: https://caps.unl.edu

      Big Red Resilience and Well-Being

      BRRWB is a free well-being resource for students that helps students understand emotions, manage stress, build strength, connect with others, develop grit and navigate transitions. Services include well-being coaching, money management, well-being assessments and more. 
      • Location: University Health Center 550 N 19th Street Suite 127
      • Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
      • Email: resilience@unl.edu
      • Website: https://resilience.unl.edu
      • Instagram: unlresilience

      Psychiatric Medication Management

      Staffed by a team of psychiatric providers, this medical service includes evaluations, education and medication management. This service is not covered by student fees but can be submitted to private insurance. For urgent medication concerns, call 402.472.5000 and follow the prompts. For serious side effects after hours, visit the nearest emergency room. 

      National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

      • 1.800.273.TALK
      • Available 24 hours
      • Free and confidential