College can be scary, so here are some cues on how to tell the difference between standard-issue butterflies and anxiety that might need a little more attention.  

It can be hard to distinguish the difference between simple apprehension and an anxious episode, but science makes it easy to tell these two apart.  

According to Manhattan Wellness, the strong nervousness that we experience and refer to as “butterflies” originates from our fight-or-flight response. When we are excited or nervous about something, our bodies prepare to produce oxygen, reducing the blood flow to our stomachs and creating the feeling of butterflies.  

In contrast, real anxiety or a panic attack is much more severe and can be harmful. 

Anxiety symptoms are more physical, like sweaty palms or a racing heart. It can cause you to feel dazed and worried, with consequences if not handled proactively.  

Being aware of your emotions and what’s been affecting your life recently can be the key to managing these back to school jitters. Remember to take a deep breath and be kind to your mind.  

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