Support for Students
Although anxiety is a natural feeling, lots of people require support in order to manage their anxiety. Feelings can be overwhelming and faced with these alone, individuals can cope by using avoidance strategies.
When learning to manage your anxiety, identification and changing negative thought patterns is key to your success. As part of this, learning about your thoughts, feelings, behaviours and physical responses and how these all interact is an important step in learning to cope with difficult feelings and situations. A really useful starting point for this is to map out and think about your experiences in situations that are difficult using this resource (click here).
This section aims to provide some information about ways that can help you to better manage anxiety. Don’t try and do all of these at the same time, but maybe pick two or three that you think sound helpful for you. Try and do this with someone if possible and let them know what ones you have chosen to try.
- Talk to someone you trust. Talking to someone about how you are feeling can be really important and this could be a family member or someone at school. By doing this, you may realise you are not the only one experiencing these feelings and adults are able to help in different ways when they know how you are feeling.
- Try out different relaxation techniques. Everyone is different and you need to find out what works for you to help relax or calm down. For some people it will be listening to music or going for a walk, for others it could be using some breathing techniques or reading a book. The following are some example techniques that may be helpful. You may want to adapt these to suit you or do some research into alternative techniques that might suit you better. The important thing is that you are exploring different strategies to help and reflecting on how useful they are. Find what works best for you and practise regularly - developing new and supportive habits takes time and practise.
- Try doing something physical. Some people benefit from using stress balls or fiddle toys and they find this can reduce anxiety through distraction (if the mind is occupied, it is distracted from focusing on the anxiety). You could also try other exercises and make a note of how you are feeling during this or afterwards. Exercise is recognised as being particularly beneficial for anxiety and low mood.
- Keep a diary. Notice and record how you are feeling on a daily basis and identify what triggers the feelings, what helps and how long the feelings last. Remember to record times where you feel good too and record successes and achievements.
- Distraction techniques. If you notice yourself worrying a lot about something and are finding it hard to stop yourself, try out some distraction techniques, e.g. doing difficult sums in your head, looking around you and thinking in detail about your environment.
- Understand the feeling won’t last forever. This could involve thinking about times before when you have felt as bad but later felt better. This is about accepting and understanding how you feel but also knowing the feeling will change.
- Analyse your thoughts using the balance thinking resource (below). Often it is easy for thoughts to become unbalanced and overly negative. After making a note of the thought, consider whether it is accurate and think about what evidence you may have to support or not support that thought. Try and finish with developing a more balanced/positive thought that you can write down and remember when you need to. (Take me to the balanced thinking resource)
- If you are anxious about doing something, think about why that is and what the threat could be. How could you test out your assumptions in a safe way to see if the threats/fears are realistic or are they exaggerated?
- Move forward in small manageable steps. Talk to someone about how you could gradually face your fears in small steps and use coping techniques to help you manage, e.g. use the step-ladder approach.
- Try and eat a healthy and balanced diet.
- It is very important to have a good sleep routine and to get enough sleep. If you feel you would benefit from more sleep, talk to someone about what could help.
- Stay away from recreational drugs, alcohol, late nights and excessive screen time. These do not help you.