Anxiety is a hot topic in schools for good reason. Here is a post from the leader of our Wellbeing Hub about what anxiety means and how we can help each other to cope with it.
Mental Health and Wellbeing is certainly becoming a growing concern for both adults and children. Part of the challenge is to ensure that people are educated, feel informed and have the tools to support themselves and others, whether that is as a pupil, colleague or family member. This blog focuses particularly on understanding anxiety and is split into three key messages that will be helpful to all teachers.
To reduce or cope with anxiety, you have to understand what it is. Anxiety is normal and is an essential aspect of being human; it is our natural response to danger. It is important to teach pupils what anxiety is, so this is included regularly in our PSHE programme and House Assemblies.
A key concept is that Anxiety is illustrated through a cycle theory: there are situations influenced by our physical responses, behavioural responses, and thoughts about our self/outcomes. These can be negative experiences, which can then impact on how we manage nervousness and anxiety in future situations. In the same way, if we can understand how to have a positive response in these 3 ways, then the cycle will be in a positive spin and not a negative one. For example, in the next section the technique of controlled breathing can help us to take control when we are feeling anxious and reverse the cycle.
You can help manage anxiety using key techniques. This is one reason why it is important to teach the topic of anxiety frequently, to enable coping methods and strategies to become weekly and daily practices: skills used before triggers become overwhelming. The aim of this teaching is to help people identify the triggers for their anxiety and which coping mechanisms work for them.
Coping Strategies can include: Box Breathing, 54321 Grounding Exercise, Relaxation, Tracing Fingers and others.
Here is a presentation given to our Wellbeing Hub as part of their training this year: Clare Laker Training Presentation edit
Help Individuals to help themselves to break the cycle of extreme anxiety by supporting each other through trying these techniques. Please look at the following links to build up an understanding of of how we might do this!
Further reading and YouTube resources:
- Dan Siegel – “Flipping Your Lid” – YouTube Podcast: youtube.com/watch?v=gm9CIJ74Oxw
- “Breathing Like a Navy Seal” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq5EOFWYDCI
- Childline, “How to Cope with Anxiety” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvM_TtQi9DU#action=share
- Self Help Books:
- Starving the Exam Stress Gremlin – Kate Collins-Donnelly
- Starving the Anxiety Gremlin – Kate Collins-Donnelly
- My Anxiety Handbook – Overcoming Your Child’s fears and worries.