Alex's Answer

I've got anxiety

Your Question

How do I deal with my anxiety 

Answer

Hi, welcome to Ask Alex. 

Thank you for reaching out to us; we are here to help and support you. Firstly, well done on seeking help with your anxiety.  

Anxiety is when your mind gets worried or scared about something, even if there might not be a real danger. Anxiety can sometimes serve a purpose in that it can help us respond to a threat to our safety, and anxiety can also help us focus on the task at hand (e.g., studying for an exam) and increase our chance of success. If anxiety isn’t managed to may it spiral out of control and it can negatively impact on our wellbeing and impair our ability to respond to situations/events/scenarios in a rational manner. So how do we tackle this?  

It is about trying out different techniques and finding which ones work best for you. Here are some things you could try:  

You could do some breathing exercises and mindfulness activities (meditation, yoga, colouring in) when you feel a bout of anxiety coming on. The 5-4-3-2-1 exercise is a way to bring yourself back to the present moment through your senses and eases the anxiety in the moment. To do this activity notice and say out loud or internally: 5 things you can see (pick a colour, for example, 5 blue things), 4 sensations you can feel (e.g., your back against the chair, cool air on your hands), 3 sounds you can hear, 2 things you can smell (it’s OK to actively smell things, like the laundry detergent on your clothes) and 1 thing you can taste.  

Another way to manage anxiety is to try writing out a situation that you feel triggers your anxious feelings (e.g., doing a presentation in class, talking to someone new, writing a test), now write the best and worst possible outcome of this scenario. You could also ask yourself if the worst possible outcome did come true, would it still concern you in a week, a month and a year? Often when we look at it, the worst potential 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 can sometimes worsen our anxiety. 

Light exercise in general can also be helpful in reducing anxiety as can listening to a favourite song. 

It can be very helpful to keep a log of your daily activities and keeping track of your anxiety levels – notice when you are most and least affected by your anxiety. This can give you a clearer picture with regards to the pattern of your anxiety and may help with sourcing triggers and intervening before it becomes too much.  

You may have a trusted adult that you could talk to about the anxiety you are experiencing like a parent, aunt/uncle, friend, teacher, neighbour or grandparent. Speaking to a trusted adult can help you to tackle the issue head on and if needs be, they can assist you in accessing services (e.g., your GP) available to young people who experience anxiety. Sharing the problem helps a lot 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 may find this video link useful:  You Are Not Your Thoughts  /www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QXmmP4psbA     

If you do not feel ready just yet to speak to a trusted adult in your day-to-day life, please remember that our Childline service is here for you. You can reach out to talk or chat to us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and our services are free and confidential. You can talk to us by phone by calling 1800 66 66 66, chat to us one-to-one on our webchat on www.childline.ie (just click on the Live Chat tab). We will not judge anything you say or tell you what to do. We will look at what options may be available to you, with you.  

We hope that you find the information provided above useful and again, we would like to thank you for reaching out to Ask Alex. You have made the first step by speaking out here, please continue to look for the help and support you deserve.    

Look after yourself,   

Alex 

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