How to Be Ready for Anxiety at School

Two Parts:Avoid AnxietyDuring Anxiety

School can be a source of anxiety for youth and is becoming more prevalent. Here are some ways to reduce the stress and anxiety that may be dredged up by school.

Part 1
Avoid Anxiety

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    Prepare. Preparation is the key word. It avoids last-minute stress and give you a good feeling when you know everything is taken care of. Try to have everything prepared the night before.
    • Clothes. Choose which clothes you're going to wear the night before. Put them somewhere in your room so don't have to go looking for it. Also, this way you know that it's not still in the dryer or something like that.
    • Books. Look at your schedule to see which subjects you have the next day. Put this in your bag and make sure you don't forget anything. Also check if you have the school supplies in your bag, such as: agenda, case, calculator, etc.
    • Homework. Be sure you have finished your homework. Try to do your homework as soon as you know what to do. This way you won't have last-minute stress when you forgot something or something happens. This will also help avoiding late nights when you have underestimated your homework.
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    Find ways to avoid stressful situations. Does your friend keep making racist remarks and making you feel upset? Stop hanging out with him. Are you overwhelmed by your coursework? See if you can switch to a lighter schedule. This is not "giving up"—it is making decisions to protect your health.
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    Break big tasks into smaller pieces. Turn a two-page essay into a list of paragraphs to complete one at a time. (You don't have to start with your first paragraph!) Turn a long reading into 5-page sections, or go one chapter at a time. This will help make it more manageable, and you can reward yourself each time you get one piece done.
    • Remember, avoidance makes anxiety worse, and taking small steps reduces anxiety. Do something now.
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    Keep a gratitude journal. Every night, write down two things that you're grateful for today. Let it become a habit. Studies have found again and again that thankful people are happier people, and experience less anxiety.
    • "I'm thankful that my little brother hugged me today and asked to play with me. I can tell he loves me very much."
    • "I'm thankful that my mom took time to help me with my physics homework."
    • "I'm thankful for the warm, sunny weather there was today."
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    Get outdoors. Spending time outside can help you feel more relaxed and energized. Try taking walks with loved ones, playing backyard sports, swimming, hiking, or biking. Even taking five minutes to walk around the block is better than not going outside at all.
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    Work on self care. Your health is important, and taking good care of your body will place less stress on your mind. Get 8-10 hours of sleep, fill 1/3 of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and find little ways to get exercise. You are your own best friend. Take care of yourself.
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    Spend lots of time with people who make you happy. Help them with projects, snuggle, go places together, or just hang out. Spending time on people who make you feel relaxed will help you unwind.
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    Schedule yourself free time. This may seem counterintuitive, but giving your brain a break will allow it to perform even better when you work. Relaxation will help your mental health. Try snuggling, knitting, reading, hanging out with loved ones, or working on your hobbies.
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    Search the internet for tips from other people who struggle with anxiety. People with anxiety disorders often congregate in disability/mental illness communities, such as mental health websites or parts of Tumblr. You can ask them for advice, read the resources they write, and support each other.
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    Talk about your struggles. Try to talk with a specialist (like a psychologist or school counselor) about it and search for some helping tricks. You could also talk about it with a friend or just write about it in a diary. Having someone act as a sounding board, or simply being able to vent, will help keep the thoughts from consuming you. Also, you can find out what makes you panic and what makes you relax.
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    Request disability accommodations. If you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you have a documented disability and can receive help. This may include extended time on tests, flexibility with due dates, or allowance of extra absences due to frequent illness. Accommodations are required of many schools, and will help you get the equal access you deserve.

Part 2
During Anxiety

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    Identify your feelings. Are you nervous, worried, stressed, on edge? Why do you feel this way? Understanding your feelings and labeling them is the first step in handling them.
    • The website tumblr has a lot of relaxation blogs that can help refocus and reassure you.
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    Try relaxation techniques. These will help you focus on something besides your worries—either something physical or something imaginary. Tell yourself that the next five minutes are for relaxation only, and you can do something after that.
    • Count, or recite multiplication tables in your head.
    • Focus on your senses and what's around you. Describe it to yourself in your head.
    • Do breathing exercises.
    • Imagine a nature scene in your head. Build the details into the nicest place you can.
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    Use a comfort object or favorite fidget toy. Toys such as tangles, stress balls, or tiny stuffed animals may be relaxing to you. Try manipulating a toy in one hand while you write with the other.
    • If your teacher asks, explain that it helps you focus. As long as your toy is not disruptive (i.e., silent and fairly discreet) it should be allowed.
    • Vitamin drops, hard candies, and gum (if allowed) can provide a similar relaxing effect.
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    Avoid using technology as a distraction. Finding random YouTube videos or playing on your phone will only allow anxiety to build up under the surface. You need to do something productive, either to lessen the thing that is causing your anxiety, or to counteract anxiety symptoms.
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    Take one small step to fight whatever problem you're afraid of. If you're scared of an essay, write two sentences of it. If you're worried about your grade in your Java class, work on a program or study code a little. Sometimes, the act of doing something (even something small) can greatly relieve your anxiety. Say to yourself, "There, brain! I did something. Now be quiet!"


  • Don't just keep walking around with it if the anxiety stays or gets worse over a longer period of time (when it stays longer than a month and grows, you should do something) and get help! Anxiety is not healthy if it gets you sick or stays for a long time.


  • Talk to your school guidance counselor or your general doctor if you think your anxiety might be disordered (i.e., if it keeps interfering with your life). If you took the time to seek out this article, there's a fair chance that you could benefit from telling a doctor.
  • Don't hide your anxiety. You may be facing a legitimate, treatable medical condition. You deserve to get help, and you are not being a burden to your parents. Most parents would rather pay a little extra to have a happy child, rather than not buy pills/therapy and have an anxious and unhealthy child.

Article Info

Categories: Surviving School | Anxiety Disorders