Anxiety is very common - up to 1 in 6 young people are thought to experience anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling of fear or panic. In some situations, like before an exam or giving a presentation, this is completely normal, and even healthy, but if you feel anxious, fearful or nervous for long periods of time without an obvious reason, it might start to interfere with your life and become a problem.
How do I know if I have anxiety?
There are a range of physical and emotional symptoms you might experience if you have anxiety. These include:
- Overwhelming feelings of panic/panic attacks
- Trouble sleeping
- Finding it hard to concentrate
- Trouble eating
- Feeling tired and irritable
- Racing heart
- Feeling faint.
For more information about the symptoms of anxiety and advice on coping with it, watch the below video titled 'You are more than your anxiety'.
What can I do?
If you think you might have anxiety, there are ways of coping with it, and there is help and support out there.
Tips for coping with anxiety:
- Set aside some 'worry time' dedicated to expressing your worries - if a worry crops up through the day, try to ignore it until you reach your 'worry time'. You might even find you aren't so worried about it by the time it comes around!
- Share your anxieties with others who are feeling the same - if you go to the ChildLine website messageboard and search under topic anxiety, you can see others who are talking about anxious feelings.
- Write down you worries in a notebook, put it away and let it go.
- Every night, write down something positive that happened that day or something you are happy or grateful for. You could even write on post-it notes and stick them around your bedroom to remind you of the good things in your life.
- Look after your emotional wellbeing by eating well, getting enough sleep and staying active with exercise and sports. For other ideas see our page 30 Day Whats Up Challenge.
Talk to someone:
- Talk to someone you trust - this could be a parent, friend, teacher,
- Get online peer to peer support and advice from friendly counsellors through Kooth,
- Speak to a school nurse through Chathealth
- Get advice from the Emotional Wellbeing Hub (helpline 0345 600 2090)
- Speak to your GP
- Chat to a professional 1-1 online on ChildLine website.
Look at information and advice on these websites:
There are loads of websites with information and advice on dealing with anxiety. We recommend:
- Take a look at information and workshops about anxiety on the the Wellbeing Service website
- Young Minds website, they have some handy advice on their page on anxiety.
- The Mix has some useful tips and personal stories from other young people, visit The Mix anxiety pages.
- You can also try doing NHS self help guide
- Find information about different types of anxiety on AnxietyUK website
Find a useful App:
Also see our page If the App fits- health and wellbeing apps
Help with panic attacks
A panic attack is a sudden and severe attack of fear and anxiety, with symptoms such as a shortness of breath, pounding heart, feeling like you might faint and a sense of 'doom'.
To manage your panic attacks:
- See advice on getting to know your panic attacks from The Mix website
- Watch this video on taming your panic attack monster.
- Listen to this recorded message on the No Panic website, which provides calm and reassurance when you are having a panic attack, visit www.nopanic.org.uk/panic-attack Or call their helpline on 01952 680835.
Think you might need some help from a professional?
You can receive professional support from:
- The children and young people's Emotional Wellbeing Hub - you can make an online self-referral for support or call the helpline on 0345 600 2090, if you are worried about yours or a friend's emotional wellbeing and need advice.
- Your GP - for help at any age. Anything you talk about is confidential and will be kept between you and your doctor.
- Kooth - they provide professional support and free online counselling to young people in Suffolk aged 11-25.
- The Wellbeing Service - If you're 16 or over, you can also refer yourself to them. They offer short term counselling, phone support, and wellbeing workshops.
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