According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans aged 18 and older suffer from an anxiety disorder, making anxiety the most common mental illness in the U.S. Anxiety disorders can affect people in multiple different ways and can vary widely. Common examples are Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, social anxiety, and panic disorders.

 With the constant deadlines and sleepless nights, college is pretty much a breeding ground for anxiety disorders. Trust me, I would know. I suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and it's not always so easy to manage on top of twelve-page essays.

With finals week rolling around, anxiety issues at colleges and universities across the country are surely going to be on the rise. In my case, I find it incredibly helpful to talk to people to lessen my anxieties about school.

A quick conversation can make me see a problem in a new light, show me a new solution to what had been stressing me out, or even provide a ten minute break from my research paper on T.S. Eliot (struggle is real, you guys).

Here's some other tips and strategies that other college students use to beat anxiety during finals. Who knows? You might stumble upon your new go-to coping method, or find a way to help out a friend.

When in doubt, work it out

In the immortal words of Elle Woods, "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands, they just don't."

Okay, so maybe writing a research paper is a bit different than being on trial for murder, but Woods was definitely onto something here. When I asked one of my best friends what she does to lessen her anxiety, she cited going to the gym, even for half an hour, works wonders.

The endorphins released during physical activity act as a "natural painkiller" that can improve sleep, stabilize mood, and decrease overall levels of tension. And, even if you don't feel like going all out at the squat rack or on the treadmill, you at least have an excuse to wear your comfiest exercise pants, right?

Procrastinate (yes, really)

Obviously, procrastinating to the point where you stress yourself out more is not going to reduce anxiety. However, a large part of dealing with anxiety is knowing when to take a break.

Do you ever feel like you've been staring at your computer screen for so long that your study guides don't even make sense anymore? Time for what Psychology Today calls "active procrastination."

Active procrastination allows you to still be productive, while taking some time off from your main stressor. For example, my friends and I will often do the dishes or go for a walk to take some time off from exams.

People who use active procrastination have often been shown to feel more in control of their time, have lower stress levels, and show higher self-efficacy levels, so this might be worth a shot!

Blast your favorite song

Everyone has a go-to playlist for whatever mood they're in: my sister has music to pump her up for a basketball game, my best friend from home has her "angry jams," and I have a study playlist (picture equal parts Jack Johnson, Matt Corby, and Hozier).

I asked some girls on my floor about using music as an anxiety release, and my friend Emma put it much more eloquently than I ever could: "music [is] something to help you get out of the world around you and your own thoughts."

Yep. Sounds great to me! According to a study by the University of Nevada, Reno, music that sits at around 60 beats per minute can sync the brain with the beat of the music and cause alpha brainwaves.

Alpha brainwaves are present when the body is relaxed and conscious, but can also be used as a stress reliever and a sleep aid. So, basically, you now have a new reason to justify spending money on a Spotify Premium membership (you're welcome).

Find a furry friend

During finals, friends can either help you or hinder you. Friends can be a great support system, but sometimes, "the stress culture is so real it can get annoying" to talk to other students about finals.

So what's a student to do if they can't deal with humans for another minute? Check out if your school offers "office hours" with therapy animals during finals!

The cutie above is Dakota, Fairfield's resident therapy dog. When she holds her office hours, students come in droves for the opportunity to give her treats. Petting an animal such as a dog has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, the hormone that creates stress, in the body.

Additionally, dogs (and pets in general) hold "uncomplicated love." According to psychologist Teri Wright, "with a pet, you can just feel ... you don't have to worry about hurting your pet's feelings or getting advice you don't want."

Get creative

Ever wonder why your school's library leaves out coloring pages during finals week? No, it's not to remind you of simpler times without deadlines and endless stress.

Art therapy is incredibly helpful when an emotional burden feels too heavy to put into words. With coloring, you're focused on smaller details that you have the power to control, and you end up making something beautiful in the end.

Nearly everyone I asked about stress relief for this article told me that they love to "do something creative to unwind," and coloring definitely fits the bill. The act of coloring, like music, lowers elevated heartrates and stimulates brainwaves. Additionally, the focus that coloring requires often forces out negative thoughts in place of positive ones.

You don't even have to necessarily be artistic to enjoy coloring. All you have to do is stay inside the lines!

These days, anxiety and stress seem to go part and parcel with finals week and college as a whole. Learning to effectively manage your stress can be tough, but it's not impossible. Try out some of these techniques if you're feeling overwhelmed.

And, if nothing else, just know that it's only one week. You will get through this, you will pass your classes, and you will graduate. I believe in you guys!