Author Tessa Zimmerman’s guide to coping with anxiety

In an interview Wednesday, 21-year-old Tessa Zimmerman, founder of ASSET Education, gave CU students advice for coping with stress and anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety related disorders affect about 18 percent of the United States population. Zimmerman founded ASSET on the premise that middle and high school students are not receiving the necessary assistance and tools to cope with their anxiety.

“I grew up with anxiety. I saw that no one was approaching it from what young people can actually do, and when I learned all these different tools and resources I wanted to share my story and highlight that we need to equip young people.” Zimmerman said.

Here is the advice she had for CU students.

  • Find what causes you to be stressful and anxious- is it when you walk into a large lecture? When you’re at a party? When you’re taking a midterm?
  • Know what the signs of anxiety are- sweaty palms, obsessive thoughts, inability to focus of the present, racing heart
  • Find ways to calm down- focus on your breathing by putting your hands on your chest or stomach.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones- rather than saying “I am stupid” or “I am unsuccessful”, say “I feel stupid” of “I feel unsuccessful.” By changing this inner dialogue, the way you perceive yourself will also change.
  • Find a supportive community- focus on people that can help you make major decisions in your life. These people will be a mentor figure.

Zimmerman’s new book I Am Tessa details her struggles of coping with anxiety as a young student. All proceeds of the book goes towards equipping teachers and schools with ASSET resources.

“I didn’t want this to be another woe is me story. That’s not the point of the book. The point of the book is that you have a choice in how your story unfolds.” Zimmerman said.

Contact CU Independent General Assignment News Editor Kristin Oh at

Kristin Oh

I am the copy editor and news reporter and am passionate about social justice issues such as race relations and women's rights. I am majoring in journalism and media production and am planning on graduating in December of 2019.

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