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Stressed Out? How to Manage Anxiety and Stress

“Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on, but you keep going anyway”  25% of teens fit the criteria for an anxiety disorder.  If you are part of this 25% here are some tips to help to manage anxiety and panic attacks.

1. Regulate your breathing

-Breath in for four seconds, hold for eight seconds, then exhale for seven seconds.

2. Keep a journal

-Try writing down a bunch of calm happy thoughts in your notebook or do the opposite and write what is bugging you to get it out of your system.

3. Have an Escape Plan

-Have some sort of escape plan for any situation, you don’t even have to leave the room, just find something you can immerse yourself in until the feeling has passed.

4. Repetitive Motion

-Human brains respond to rhythm, we have evolved to find patterns and rhythms in everyday live.  For example if you wear a ring try spinning it around on your finger.

5. Notebook

-Keeping a journal or a notebook can help you manage your anxiety, writing down exactly what you are feeling and getting it out on paper prevents you from keeping it pent up inside your mind.

6. Water

-(This trick works really well for me)  The feeling of water running over your skin can be majorly calming.  If you are at home and are stressed over homework or a project late at night come to a good stopping point and take a hot shower.  when you come out of the shower you will be in a much better mindset to finish whatever it is that you are working on.  If you start having an anxiety/panic attack in class ask the teacher if you can go to the restroom,  then wash your hands the water running over your skin will give you the same calming effect as a shower.

7. Tea

-Tea has natural calming properties drinking a hot cup of tea can calm you down and it's good for you.

8. Self-Care

-Proper self-care is important, try not to compare yourself to others so much and try to just focus on yourself every once in a while.  Self-care is not selfish, and when you always focus on others that is when your own self doubt can creep in.

9. Anxiety Space

-Find a nice quiet spot in your room or in your house, maybe by a window or door and set up a little space there, put a chair and maybe a bin with some coloring books or puzzle books.

10. Scribbling

-Take a pen or a pencil and scribble on a piece of paper in a repetitive way.  That like spinning a ring has a calming effect and is a safe way to take out stress and anger.

11. Ripping Paper

-This goes along with the repetitive motion idea take a paper and rip it into really small pieces.  This works best when you feel a panic attack coming on.

12. Listening to Music

-If your teacher will let you listening to music can calm you down, it is something your brain is familiar with and it can have a calming effect.

13. Stop it Early

-If you feel a panic attack coming on take care of it early, it can prevent it from escalating and getting much much worse.

14. Deep Breath Thoughts

-When doing the breathing exercise from #1 imagine while your exhaling you’re breathing out all the bad thoughts that are causing you to have a panic attack.

15. Stress Ball

-If you have a habit of pinching yourself or digging your fingernails into your hand try getting a squishy stress ball, that way you can continue to dig your fingernails into something other that the palm of your hand.

Anxiety can be a scary thing and really hard to deal with hopefully these tips can help you manage it a little bit better.  If you have an anxiety disorder even if is not officially diagnosed just know you are not alone and there are people to talk to if you ever need help, there are teachers, friends, and Dr. Trainor in the guidance  office.  I know how hard it can be to talk about your anxiety but trust me, talking about it is one of the best ways to help it get better.  Good Luck managing your anxiety and stay safe.

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