I experience a lot of anxiety when I’m at school and would like some tips for dealing with it
I’m struggling with anxiety at school and they won’t help, they just make it worse :/ does anyone have any tips?
Hi there, you are very welcome to Ask Alex.
Thank you for contacting us. We understand that it’s not always easy to share our worries and concerns, but we also know how important it is to talk about how we are feeling.
We are very sorry to hear that you have been experiencing feelings of anxiety in school. You have said that the school is not very helpful, and we understand that this must be a lot to deal with on your own. We are glad that you have reached out to look for support, it’s so important to know you are not alone in this struggle.
Anxiety is a sign something needs our attention. It can be protective, letting us know there may be danger, or something is risky. It can also be a positive thing. Feeling anxious about something like an exam can be a motivator to study. But sometimes, feelings of anxiety can become overwhelming and interfere with our daily lives.
Anxiety is something we all feel. It is an experience that we have and not a part of who we are. New or challenging situations, like speaking in class or friendship worries, can cause us to feel anxious. But there are lots of effective ways with which we can manage the physical effects of anxiety. Here are some techniques which you may find useful:
- Try writing out a situation that you feel triggers your anxious feelings (e.g., doing a presentation in class, talking to someone new, playing a role in the school play), now write the best and worst possible outcomes of this scenario. You could also ask yourself if the worst possible outcome did come true, would it still concern you in a week, month, and year? Often when we look at it the worst possible outcome, not only is it not very likely to occur but even if it does happen, it may be way less catastrophic than we imagined it would be.
- Sometimes, acknowledging our worries and taking the time to say them out loud can help us feel more in control. Ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist or avoiding situations that cause anxiety can sometimes worsen our anxiety. Have a look at what is known as The Vicious Cycle of Anxiety to find out more about this: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/-/media/CCI/Mental-Health-Professionals/Panic/Panic—Information-Sheets/Panic-Information-Sheet—03—The-Vicious-Cycle-of-Anxiety.pdf
- Keep an eye on your level of anxiety by rating it out of 10. When your anxiety reaches around a 4 or 5 out of 10, you know it’s time to do something about it – trying to contain your anxiety when it’s at a level or 7 or 8 is like trying to contain an erupting volcano! You could do some breathing exercises and mindfulness activities when you feel a bout of anxiety coming on. Light exercise in general can be helpful too as can listening to your favourite song.
You may have a trusted adult that you could talk to about the anxiety you are experiencing like a parent, aunt/uncle, grandparent, friend or neighbour. Speaking to a trusted adult can help you to tackle the issue head on and if need be, they can assist you in accessing services available to young people who experience anxiety. A visit to your local GP may also be beneficial. Sharing our problems and worries can be very helpful and can have a positive effect on the outcome; it’s a starting point towards you building up the confidence and ability to take back control. Anxiety is something that may not stop completely but with the right measures in place, you will be better equipped to manage it.
You do not have to go through this alone. There are various organisations which can offer help and support to you. One such organisation is www.jigsaw.ie . Here is an article on the Jigsaw website, which you may find beneficial as it details some helpful exercises to manage anxiety https://jigsaw.ie/managing-anxiety/#helpfulexcerisestomanageanxiety
The Childline website www.childline.ie has lots of information on anxiety https://www.childline.ie/what-is-anxiety/ and tips on how we can manage anxious thoughts https://www.childline.ie/anxiety-creeping-upon-you-5-tips-on-how-to-reframe-anxious-thoughts/.
Childline also offer free service around anxiety management – our Guided Digital Self-Care Programmes are aimed at young people who experience anxiety as well as parents/carers who would like to know how best to support their child or teenager who experiences anxiety. To participate in this programme, your parent/carer/schoolteacher or trusted adult will need to refer you by completing a simple form. More information on this can be found here: https://www.ispcc.ie/guided-digital-programmes/
If you are finding it hard to talk to those in your life whom you are close to, you are very welcome to chat with the Childline Team by phone on 1800 66 66 66 or by text on 50101 or through our web chat on www.childline.ie. Childline services are free and confidential, and are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Thank you for reaching out to us.