Have you ever been anxious?
Everybody feels anxious sometimes, especially when faced with unfamiliar, dangerous or stressful situations. Anxiety can include body signals such as ‘butterflies’, a sinking feeling, tense or uncomfortable feelings, or ‘nerves’. It’s a normal reaction to challenging situations.
As you have become a teenager, your boundaries have expanded. You have new challenges and opportunities. You want more independence and your brain is changing. Because of all these changes, adolescence can be a particularly stressful time, which can cause anxiety.
For example, you might worry about:
- starting secondary school
- looking a particular way
- fitting in with friends
- keeping someone in your family happy
- sitting an exam
- performing in a play at school
- going to the school formal...
For most teenagers, anxiety is part of the normal range of emotions. It’s usually just temporary and goes away on its own.
Anxiety isn't always a bad thing.
- Feelings of anxiety can help to keep you safe by getting you to think about the situation you're in.
- Anxiety can also be a helpful tool for motivating you to do your best. It can help you get ready for challenging situations like public speaking or sporting events.
When is anxiety a real problem?
When or if anxious feelings are very intense and go on for weeks, months or even longer, they can get in the way of your ability to learn, socialise and enjoy daily life.
How do I manage anxiety?
Managing anxiety is an important life skill. Here are some tips:
- Physical activity, sleep and healthy food and drink are really important.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs as well as unnecessary stress.
- Make time in your routine for things that you enjoy and find relaxing. These could be simple things like playing or listening to music, reading books or going for walks.
- Find someone older you can talk to such as school counsellors or chaplains.
- Stop hiding and face your fears.
How do I face my fears?
Firstly you need to know that fear and anxiety are very common to young people and most of your friends will feel like you do at some stage… some more so.
Be aware of what it is you are actually afraid of. Is it based on past experience or just a maybe?
Never let your fears make your decisions… you make them!
Acting in the face of fear is never easy but you will be so glad you did.
Taking small steps will help your courage to grow!
by Judy Theobald