What is anxiety?

Anxiety is common emotion people experience in times of stress or discomfort. This emotion is usually easily managed and will pass once the stress/discomfort is resolved or dealt with. Anxiety disorder occurs when anxiety becomes unmanageable, over-active, and/or debilitating. Anxiety disorders can manifest in a range of ways, and it is not always obvious what is happening. A nagging voice in the back of your head can seem like a voice of reason, especially if it is responding to normally stressful things like university assignments or personal conflict.

Anxiety as an emotion is not inherently bad, however, anxiety disorders can make life extremely difficult, as well as causing feelings of isolation and distress. If you have/think you might have an anxiety disorder, even if it seems manageable, it’s good to seek help to prevent it getting worse and to reduce the disruption to your life.


Do I have anxiety?: 

Symptoms of anxiety include: prolonged feelings of agitation, sometimes for no clear reason, and physical symptoms like a tight chest and hot and cold flashes. Another common symptom is obsessive avoidance of situations that cause anxiety, which for students can often result in missing a lot of lectures and tutorials, or avoiding studying and not completing assignments.

For a more comprehensive answer, you can read beyond blue’s Signs and Symptoms page, or take their check list. A GP or mental health professional is the best place to get a comprehensive assessment and official diagnosis.

Simple management strategies:

Management strategies are simple tools that can be utilised to reduce or manage feelings of anxiety. Different things work for different people, so it’s good to talk through your options with a councillor or therapist. Breathing exercises are a simple way to calm down over-active anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Calming activities like mandalas, being in nature, and meditation, can also be effective in reducing anxiety throughout the day. If you can, try to take short breaks during work or study to do something that makes you feel at ease, like going sitting in a park, drinking something warm, or reading a book. Frequent steps back from commitments can help prevent anxiety from escalating.

More here: 

Anxiety support group:

Anxiety support group is run every second Tuesday at 4:15pm, Training Room 1 Union House. It is a quiet, safe space to talk about anxiety issues confidentially.

Mental wellness support group:

Mental wellness support group runs on alternative Tuesdays with anxiety support group, in the same time and space. It’s a confidential space to talk about neurodivergent and navigating study, work and relationships.

SEDS & Advocacy:

If you have anxiety, it is a good idea to apply for ongoing special consideration early on, in case you need it.

If you are having trouble applying and are unable to contact SEDS, or if you need support clearing up issues with the university that have already happened, Advocacy offer support in advocating for yourself, as well as understanding the legal and administrative processes involved.

You can also contact us, or come in during our office hours, with any questions you may have about SEDS and any coursework issues you might have. We are open 11am-6pm Mon-Thurs, on level one Union House (across from stop one and near the stairs).

Counselling and Psychological Services UniMelb

This service is free and completely confidential for UniMelb staff and students.

Location: Level 5, 757 Swanston Street (stop 1), Parkville Campus
Disabled access: at the rear of 757 Swanston Street (North-West side)

Monday-Friday: 9am-5pm
Wednesday: 9am-6pm during semester

Phone: +61 3 8344 6927


Break Free From Anxiety Workshop

A workshop run by counselling and psychological services unimelb.

20th June 2018 (more details TBA)

Other resources: