The Reality of Anxiety

November 5, 2017

Have you ever felt so much stress that it has consumed you? Has thinking of the worst possible outcomes ever stopped you from doing something? It’s okay to admit that anxiety has affected your life. So many students are affected by anxiety on a daily basis. The reality is that you are not alone. Just ask your friends.  At least one of them has probably gone through something similar. According to the American Psychology Association, “Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” It runs rampant in schools and colleges across the nation. In fact, over 40 million Americans are affected by anxiety.

In society, there is a stigma around anxiety, as it’s classified as a disorder. Why call anxiety a disorder when it affects so many people around the world? The pressure that we put on ourselves and the pressure that schools put on us are huge factors. As students, we always strive to be the best, but that pressure builds up over time and can ultimately break us down mentally. So many students at LOLHS feel this way:

“I wanted to make my parents proud; I wanted to do well in each class. I was afraid to fail. It seemed like I did not have enough time in the day to do everything.“

“It’s a feeling that never goes away.  It stays there and makes you feel like you are not capable of doing anything for yourself– almost like you are trapped in your own mind and no matter what you do, you can’t escape it.”

“I keep rereading the question and I start to shut down.”

Causes of Anxiety may include stress from school, work, or personal relationships, stress relating to finances, and traumatic events. Some symptoms relating to anxiety are nervousness, feeling of danger or panic, rapid breathing, trembling, difficulty focusing or thinking about anything other than what you are worried about, overly obsessive or compulsive behavior, and a strong desire to avoid things that can cause that anxiety. It’s important to understand what your triggers might be and how to control the anxiety. Anxiety does not have one label, and will be different for each person. It’s up to you to find out what works best for managing your stress.

Some possible ways to combat anxiety are going for a walk to clear your head or exercise in general. Yoga is a great way to relax the mind and soul. The Yoga Shop in Old Saybrook offers a free class to new members. Try it out; you might be surprised how much it can help. In addition, writing in a journal can be a therapeutic way to empty out the mind. A trick can be to throw away the piece of paper at the end to symbolize leaving the negativity in your life behind. Another way to relieve stress through journaling is by writing down all the positive events or things that happen each day. By keeping the journal, it will remind you of all the good things in your life instead of the bad. And even drinking more water can help.  Dehydration can make the anxiety worse. Lastly, talk with someone; your friends are willing to listen. You may think they don’t get it, but help them understand what you’re going through. Talking through your emotions helps tremendously.

Remember that you are not alone. Someone may not seem like they have anxiety, but in today’s society, it only takes a smile to hide how someone is truly feeling. Our mental health needs to be a priority for us all. High School is only four years, but our health stays with us forever. By learning to control anxiety now, you can prevent a mental breakdown later on in life. Anxiety does not consume us.  We can control it.



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