Mental Health

Anxiety

Occasional anxiety is a natural reaction that everyone experiences from time to time. It can be described as a sense of uneasiness, worry, fear, nervousness, or dread for what’s about to happen or what might happen.

It’s common for new, unfamiliar, or challenging situations to create feelings of nervousness and anxiety. Teens may feel anxious when faced with a large amount of schoolwork, before taking a test, entering a new relationship, or when preparing for a major social event. Those feelings can be mild or intense depending on the person and the situation. Such situations don’t threaten a teen’s safety, but they can cause someone to feel “threatened” by potential embarrassment, worry about making a mistake, fitting in, stumbling over words, being accepted or rejected, or losing pride.

Anxiety is different for everyone, but experiences often include:

  • Negative thoughts – what-ifs, thoughts about being judged or embarrassed, small thoughts that grow into big worries 
  • Feelings of fear, dread, panic, or worry 
  • Physical sensations like the urge to cry, butterflies, dizziness, nausea, or rapid heart rate 
  • Nail biting 
  • Avoidance of social situations 
  • Difficulty sleeping

How can I manage my anxiety?

  • Find something that truly relaxes you; this may look like journaling, hiking, listening to music, or meditating. It will be different for everyone, but having something positive to focus on will make the anxiety feel less overwhelming. 
  • Make sleep, food, and exercise a priority; all three 
  • Spend quality time with family and friends

Persistent feelings of anxiety should be taken seriously and discussed with a trusted adult.

(references: KidsHealth, National Institute of Mental Health)