What are the tips to deal with dissertation anxiety?

 This blog answers: What are the tips to deal with dissertation anxiety? What are the signs and symptoms of dissertation anxiety? What are some other ways to manage dissertation anxiety? What are the therapy options for dissertation anxiety?

What are the tips to deal with dissertation anxiety?

Some tips to deal with dissertation anxiety are:

Set your priorities right

Being in the final year is stressful in its self where students are trying to handle various commitments simultaneously. In such situations, it is very easy for students to get distracted or procrastinate due to the overwhelming feelings stemming from deadlines and submissions.

However, students must understand and prioritize tasks that are most important and hold extreme value. They must try and focus on the tasks that need more attention and time rather than those that can be put off for a little while.

Working on one’s dissertation might be very stressful yet is very important for students in their final year, it’s a key to getting closer to their goals and dreams and hence they must prioritize it in every means.

Students can also try and make a plan about how they will be working on their dissertation and stick to this plan in a way that does not pile up all the work for the end.

Note that something is better than nothing

Many students experience dissertation anxiety due to the overwhelming feeling of not being able to keep up with their To-Do List. In such situations, students must remind themselves that doing little by little is better than not doing anything.

Students might find initiation the most difficult part of an assignment or a task however once they begin it gives them a sense of importance and responsibility which act as a motivating force to keep them going.

Break it down into smaller tasks

Completing a dissertation is a very time-consuming and long process that takes months together. Hence individuals must break down the task into small manageable pieces such that they can achieve it and yet not get overwhelmed by it.

Breaking down a big task into smaller pieces can also act as a motivating source for students to keep going and achieve their goals.

Work when you feel most productive

Students are sometimes required to work smart rather than hard. Students must understand and acknowledge their ability to be productive.

Students can’t be in the zone all the time hence trying hard even when a student is feeling distracted is not going to lead them anywhere towards their goals.

Students must sit down and work on their dissertations while they feel they are present in the moment and are ready to work on their important tasks.

As when students try to work when they are distracted along with incomplete work they also experience a sense of anxiety of wasting time.

Take breaks

Every individual needs a break in their day-to-day life routines. The same holds with the students while they are working on their dissertations. Working on a dissertation is not a one-night task rather takes months together.

In such a situation students must actively take breaks in between and indulge in activities that are pleasurable and help to ease them off.

Taking a break does not only give them time to do things that they enjoy but also helps to enhance their mood and productivity.

Take the help of a friend

Many students might find it difficult to stick to the plan that they have made to complete their dissertations. In such situations, students can rely on their fellow mates who are in the same boat.

Working with fellow students gives them a source of motivation and encouragement to achieve their goal of completing the dissertation without experiencing a sense of anxiety.

Rely on your support network

At the college level students are provided help in the form of support networks whom they can depend on at the time of difficulties and challenges.

Completing a dissertation is not an easy task rather is very challenging. When students experience anxiety about their dissertation, they must rely on the support network that they are given access to clear their head and continue with the task smoothly.

These support networks might include supervisors, teachers, senior students, and other members who can be of help to them in completing their dissertation without feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

 What are the signs and symptoms of dissertation anxiety? 

Anxiety is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms such as:


  • Sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sense of choking
  • Complaints of chest pain
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and their environment
  • Fear of impending doom
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Increased heart rate

What are some other ways to manage dissertation anxiety?

Identify and acknowledge the triggers

The most significant strategy that can be used to control one’s anxiety is by identifying and acknowledging those triggers.

Being able to recognize what makes an individual anxious makes them better equipped to take action.

Relaxation techniques


Even though anxiety can be bought under an individual’s control it cannot be predicted. In such situations, it is necessary that an individual actively carries out relaxation techniques.

These might include meditation, yoga, and deep breathing which helps to reduce the intensity of anxiety within a short period.



A key to reducing the frequency and intensity of anxiety attacks could be spending time with close family and friends.

The kind of emotional and practical support provided by these social and personal groups help the person feel connected and aid in distracting one’s mind from negative and recurring thoughts that lead to anxiety.

Apart from friends and families, individuals can also consider speaking to groups of people that are experiencing similar problems.

Set realistic goals

When an individual is feeling overwhelmed, setting goals and targets keeping in mind priorities can help resolve overwhelming feelings of fear or panic.

Setting goals provides structure and routine to an individual’s life reducing space for uncertainty which can be a major trigger for anxiety in many cases.

Take up new challenges

Apart from doing activities that an individual is usually fond of and has expertise in, trying new and challenging activities that put an individual outside their comfort zone in a healthy manner may help reduce the stress and anger temporarily.

Signing up for new activities also provides a path to meeting people with similar stories and concerns.

Lifestyle changes

An individual’s lifestyle plays a major role in their experience of anxiety. An unhealthy and busy lifestyle usually leads to unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, lack of adequate sleep.

A combination of a well-set diet, exercise, and sleep can help to regulate an individual’s mood and equip them with a favorable coping mechanism.

These coping mechanisms in turn help to get control over once anxiety concerns in a more adaptable manner.

lack of proper diet, sleep, and exercise can make an individual sluggish, dependent, moody and vulnerable to anxiety attacks.

Making journal entries

Last but not least having a journal to write down how a person is feeling and thinking when they are anxious helps them to reflect upon their thoughts and feelings.

Putting down one’s thoughts and feelings onto a paper helps to provide a sense of temporary relief.

In the case of journal entry, a person does not even have to fear being judged by another person regarding their thoughts and feelings.

What are the therapy options for dissertation anxiety?

Cognitive-behavioural therapy

Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps an individual to control their anxiety by using strategies like relaxation and breathing. It works on the principles of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a kind of therapy in which an individual is exposed to a particular stimulus that they usually fear or are anxious about in a graded order.

As and when the individual gets comfortable with the situation or stimulus introduced or exposed to them with each session, individuals get more comfortable with a real-life situation that might have otherwise been a source for triggering anxiety.

Group therapy


It is based on the principle that when an individual interacts with other people who are suffering from the same fears they might not feel left alone or isolated. Group therapy usually involves a group of individuals who are experiencing similar symptoms and problems.


Anxiety can also be treated with the help of medication prescribed by a health care professional.

Though medication alone cannot help in reducing persistent anxiety it can help in restoring a sense of control and bring temporary relief. 

Online therapy  

In cases where reaching out physically to a professional is impossible or discomforting an individual can opt to seek help through the online medium. 

In this, the therapy sessions are carried out one-to-one over a video or audio call. Some individuals also prefer interacting with the therapist through text as well due to various reasons. One of the most common is the fear of being judged by the therapist or some personal hesitation. 

Online therapy can help individuals to regulate some aspects of their anxiety that aids individuals in carrying out a stress-free life over time


Completing a dissertation involves many episodes of anxiety and panic. However, students must use the resources that are available to them and motivate themselves to finish their tasks at a consistent pace such that they do not feel overwhelmed.

Frequently asked questions: What are the tips to deal with dissertation anxiety?

How to handle stress in a dissertation?

Some tips that individuals can adopt to handle dissertation-related stress are:

  • Breakdown the task into smaller tasks
  • Take breaks
  • Take help from friends and teachers
  • Make a plan to follow

What makes a poor dissertation?

Editing and proofreading one’s work can result in a poor dissertation and failure. A dissertation must contain original data that individuals have uncovered themselves.

Are dissertations stressful?

Dissertations can be very stressful due to their long-term process and challenging requirements. However, the amount of stress experienced by every student might vary depending on various factors.

How hard is a dissertation?

A thesis or dissertation is one of the longest and challenging tasks that a student is required to complete in their final years.



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