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What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of fear, panic or nerves.
Anxiety happens when we feel stressed or there is something uncertain or unpredictable in our lives that we are worried about, usually something that hasn’t happened yet.
There’s lots of reasons why we get anxious feelings, which could be because of school or college, relationships, money, social situations, life changes, or how we feel about ourselves.
It is completely normal and healthy for us to feel anxious from time-to-time, especially:
- Before an exam
- When speaking or presenting to a group of people
- In a situation where the outcome feels uncertain
“How do I know if I am feeling anxious?”
You may experience a range of feelings which include:
- Butterflies in your tummy
- Generally feeling stressed or worried. If these become overwhelming you may experience a panic attack.
- Trouble eating and sleeping making you feel tired and irritable
- Can’t concentrate or keep over-thinking things
- Trembling or racing heart
- Feeling faint
You might also have feelings of depression too.
Watch this video ‘Practical Tips for Dealing with Anxiety’.
The video below has a good technique that you can use to help manage your worries by looking at the things that you can and can’t control.
For managing anxiety
- Try focussing on your breathing or try the ‘Grounding Technique’ below.
- Connect with people to talk about how you are feeling. Speak to a trusted adult or use an online forum like Kooth or the Childline messager board for anonymous support.
- Write down your worries in a notebook, put it away and let it go (especially before bed when we have racing thoughts).
- Take time out – take a relaxing bath, read a book – small things that make you relax and feel happy.
- Look after yourself by eating and sleeping better – try to eat more fruit and veg and get enough sleep.
- Reduce your social media and screen time and move more – go for a walk, run or swim.
- Take a break from the news – if current news is making you feel anxious.
- Spend time in nature as nature makes us feel calmer.
- Challenge your thoughts – is what you’re worried about likely to happen?
Try the Grounding Technique If you feel anxious or worried, try this to help calm your body and mind: Take some slow, deep breaths and think of... 5 things you can see in the room 4 things you can feel (e.g. feet on the floor, bottom on the seat) 3 things you can hear (like the birds or traffic) 2 things you can smell or like the smell of 1 thing you like to do How do you feel now?
Where can I get support?
- Talk to someone close to you that you trust – a parent, carer or teacher.
- Get free online counselling support from Kooth
These websites have good information and advice for anxiety:
Also see our page ‘Useful Apps’- health and wellbeing apps
- Free Wellbeing Service Anxiety workshops – if you’re 18+
Try this simple breathing technique. Follow the arrows to slowly breath in through your nose for 4 breaths and out through your mouth for 4 breaths. Read more Breathing exercises for stress – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
Page updated on November 20th, 2023 at 01:28pm