- Deep breathing—this one works. I know because I have used in a lot. It's quick and easy and has been proven to reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
- Write it down—journaling is another proven way to reduce stress and anxiety. You may not have time to write a three page journal entry, but you can quickly note your thoughts and feelings to address them later.
- Smell something calming—lavender has calming properties. You can rub a bit of essential oil on your wrist and smell it when you're feeling anxious.
- Have a drink of water—if you're dehydrated, you can't concentrate or think properly. By having a drink you hydrate yourself, but it's also a distraction.
- Chew gum—this has also been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety.
- Relax your muscles—focus on long neck, low shoulders and loose fingers.
- Use positive self talk—remind yourself that you are capable and can do this.
- Look at the evidence—remind yourself that you have overcome every obstacle in the past and can get through this one too.
- Listen to music—it's not always possible to do this but you could listen to music before an exam or other stressful situation.
Anxiety and panic attacks usually happen at the most inconvenient time. You can't exactly do a 20 minute mindful meditation in the middle of an exam, but there are other things that you can do. Here are nine things that you can do if you need to calm down in a hurry—some of them you could even do in the middle of an exam:
Kids Helpline1800 55 1800
Free, confidential counselling service available any time of the day or night by phone or webchat.
Beyond Blue1300 22 4636
Call or chat online with a trained mental health professional any time of the day or night.
headspace1800 650 890
Online and telephone support service that helps young people who don’t feel ready to attend a headspace centre or who prefer to talk about their problems via online chat, email or on the phone.
Kids helpline has a great article on how to manage anxiety. You can find it at https://kidshelpline.com.au/teens/issues/how-manage-anxiety Everyone feels anxious sometimes but if anxiety is making it difficult to do life - you might need to see a counsellor or psychologist. You can talk to your school chaplain, a teacher, your parents, a friend's mum or your family doctor.
Lots of students deal with school anxiety. Here's a video from therapist Kati Morgan. It's from the US but is still applicable in Australia.
Note: In Australia you can call Kids Helpline for 5-25 year olds on 1800 551800.
Here are some resources to help deal with the stress and anxiety caused by the Coronavirus crisis (there are links below). I think it's fair to say that everyone is feeling a bit stressed and anxious at the moment. We are dealing with a global crisis unlike anything seen in your lifetime, or your parents' lifetime. But it's important to check the facts. The news is busy sensationalising the event which is contributing to people panicking even more. Athough they are using words like pandemic and life as we know it is changing daily, the death toll in Australia is very low. Measures are being taken to prevent the spread of this virus so that we don't put unnecessary stress on our health system and to protect the vulnerable. So just calm your farm - we will get through this. Visit some of the websites below if you need help.
In her Back to School Stress-Management Toolkit for Teens, Melanie Greenberg suggests that one way to deal with school (or any other stress) is to distract yourself. The first part of this is to write a list of things that you can do to distract yourself. The second part is to do one of them. This engages the "on task" part of your brain instead of the "worry" part. The trick is to choose short activities that won't take too long. Avoid computer games, social media and netfix - they are sure to consume too much of your time.