Tips for Tackling Anxiety

Author: Rich Atkinson

Anxiety topped the list of emotions felt during the pandemic for 5,000 U.S. educators. 1

Yet teachers are not alone.

The teen’s heart raced, his chest tightened, and he wiped his sweaty palms on his pants. Did he have what it takes to pass the physics exam today? It was worth twenty-five percent of his grade.

Gulp!

“Approximately 1 in 3 U.S. teenagers suffer from an anxiety disorder.” 2 As a teenager, Tom struggled with anxiety. His grades declined as he missed homework assignments. An ultimatum of getting professional and academic help turned him around, so he did not get booted out of school.

Two things changed Tom’s trajectory: a teacher and a mental health professional. Today, Tom shares his story at school assemblies, online webinars, and in books. What he shares resonates with teens and helps them achieve mental wellness. 3

Don’t let anxiety become your identity by repeating anxiety-filled moments in present or future situations. Take a deep breath and then breathe out slowly to quench some of the common symptoms of anxiety: 4

Physical Symptoms

  • Shortness of breath
  • Racing heart
  • Headaches
  • Stomach issues
  • Sweaty palms

Emotional Symptoms

  • Feelings of dread
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Tense

For other tips and tools, fill out your contact information for The 7 Tools for Reducing Anxiety. The tools offer holistic approaches to healing, such as counseling, exercising, and healthy eating.

A helpful resource is “The Anxiety Reset: A Life-Changing Approach to Overcoming Fear, Stress, Worry, Panic Attacks, OCD, and More” by Gregory L. Jantz. It contains self-assessment tools to help people identify what triggers their anxiety.

Each chapter ends with reflective questions for you to ponder. For example, Chapter 11 discusses a person’s “inner dialogue or self-talk?” Is it positive or negative? Other chapters ask How would you describe your emotions? What are treatment options? How can I find relief? What are the roots of my anxiety? Healthy eating and exercising are also part of the process.

Community

Another step toward healing is connecting with others in a safe environment where you can share struggles. A professional counselor is a great place to begin. A friend or support group is another option.

Celebrate Recovery is a support group for people 13 years old and up, which offers a safe place to share your hurts, habits, and hang-ups. People share their struggles in a confidential, small-group setting. The program helps more than those who suffer from substance addiction. Those who struggle with anxiety and perfectionism can find help as well.

Neely Counseling has a podcast. This resource tool is not a substitute for a licensed counselor. Podcast topics include avoiding approval-seeking behaviors, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, and more. Dr. Helen Odessky (Author of “Stopping Anxiety from Stopping You” ) defines anxiety, gives tools for addressing anxiety, and discusses what happens when you try to avoid tackling your anxiety (Episode 44).

Resources abound for helping individuals overcome anxiety. As a teacher, we know you deal with this tension in your students and yourself. What steps will you take today to tackle stress and worry in your life?

3 – Video interview with Tom Thelen on Eight West News posted on Mental Health101.org.

Rich Atkinson

Rich began his writing career with a community paper in Ohio.

He has worked for a magazine. Travel assignments have taken him outside the country to Haiti and Guatemala. In the U.S., he has journeyed to Atlanta, Boston, Milwaukee, and many other places for feature stories.

When not writing, Rich finds time to read and enjoys listening to authors discuss writing on podcasts and in YouTube videos.

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