This article will discuss why school can cause anxiety in young people. The article will explain what anxiety is, the main reasons kids and teens can develop anxiety, how they can cope, and what are ways parents and teachers can help.
My school gives me anxiety
You go to school for many years in your life, and at some point in your life, you can notice that you start to feel different when you are there. And suddenly going to school doesn’t seem so pleasurable as it used to.
It could be that your school is giving you anxiety. It might be hard to deal, emotionally, with all the things you might be dealing with in school. And this overwhelming situation can make you want to avoid being there.
Many things can cause school anxiety, but before talking about them, let’s discuss what anxiety is.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a worrying feeling that causes the person to experience physical symptoms, along with thoughts of fear. Everyone feels anxious at some point in their life, it is something that protects us from harm. But to some people, and in some periods of their lives, it can become too intense.
Anxiety becomes a problem when it makes the person feel overwhelmed, distressed, and that they are unable to manage the situation. When it goes on for a long time, it can be said that the person is going through an anxiety disorder. And with time, this can cause the person to isolate.
Anxiety causes physical and emotional symptoms. Let’s discuss the physical ones:
- Racing heart
- Fast breathing or being unable to breathe
- Feeling sick, such as nausea, or diarrhea
- Dry mouth
- Tense muscles
The most common emotional symptoms are:
- Negative thoughts: worrying, feeling scared
- Loss of control
- Fear of an impending doom
- Overly alert
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fear you won’t be able to do things
Why is school giving me anxiety?
Now that it is clear what anxiety is, let’s discuss what factors you are exposed to at school can give you anxiety.
Relationship with your teachers
The relationship students set with their teachers will always be remembered by them. It can be a positive or a negative experience. It leaves its marks. So when the student feels unsupported, and not cared for by their teachers, it can make them anxious.
Relationship with your friends
The same is true about their relationship with their colleagues. It is the most positive part of school for the majority of students, but for others that go through bullying, or don’t fit in with their colleagues, the relationship with friends can be something that can cause them to be anxious.
Even though nowadays there are many anti-bullying programs, kids can still have trouble dealing with this, as nowadays it even goes on online. It can make them feel insecure, worry about when the next bullying situation will happen, and how embarrassed they will be.
Too many activities
Kids nowadays have a full schedule. Since toddlers, they take part in so many activities that would make even grown people tired. This can make them stressed, constantly worried about delivering things on their due date, and being great at it.
All of this pressure can make them afraid that the worst can happen, which can lead to anxiety.
Not enough family time
All this school work can take over their life in a way that they feel it is impossible to rest or have some fun time with their families or friends. This can cause them to isolate, and feel less connected to their loved ones.
Not enough time to take care of yourself
Students can also be so overwhelmed with their school work and the idea that they need to succeed, that they are not able to take care of themselves. Sleeping and eating well, having some time to exercise is impossible. All of this, with time, can affect their cognitive functions, including their mood.
Too much hard work
As part of the idea that kids need to succeed, nowadays they are showered with information, things to learn, and pressure to be great. The first thing is that this method doesn’t work in all children, which can be a problem.
But even if it does, it can cause them to be under so much pressure to produce high scores, this can lead, for example, to test anxiety, in which they can feel anxiety symptoms every time they are being tested.
How can I cope with school anxiety?
School anxiety can affect your behavior and how you feel. It also impacts how well you will do in school, and it might even make you want to avoid going to school. Let’s discuss what are ways to cope with this.
Do activities that give you positive emotions
This will help you disconnect from all the pressure you have been under. It can give you a sense that there is more to life than school, and that will put things under perspective for you.
Mindfulness and breathing exercises
When you feel too overwhelmed, or going through a panic attack, breathing exercises and the practice of mindfulness can help you center yourself. This will make it easier for you to disconnect from the anxiety and the negative thoughts running through your mind.
Take some time out
Even though it may seem like you are on a tight schedule, try to reframe it. Keep in mind that if you take some time out you will be able to work even better. Taking some time to yourself can improve your ability to focus, and you will be a lot more energetic when you return.
Talk to people you trust
Having people around you that can support you is important at these moments. It gives you the chance to vent, as well as hear their feedback. You might notice that this will pass and that you are not alone.
How can parents and teachers help?
It can be hard to see your children or students going through this. So here are some ways you can help them.
Practice breathing exercises
A great way to bond, show support, and understand is by bringing some of the practices they do to feel better to your family routine. You can all work out together, or go hiking on the weekend. Making the breathing exercises a part of the family routine can make them feel more connected and less ashamed.
They are under a lot of pressure. Communication is key at this moment. If their anxiety comes from bullying, be by their side to resolve it. But if it comes from the expectations of success, let them know that the important thing is for them to be happy. Put success in perspective and let them know you are by their side.
Encourage them to do something that relaxes them
If you understand they are constantly anxious, you should encourage them each time they express the desire of doing something they find exciting. This will allow them to feel it is okay to leave the books and focus on good times.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Why is school giving me anxiety?
What are the signs of school anxiety?
Kids going through school anxiety will show changes in their emotions, that can be unable to relax, get more irritated, or even have trouble focusing. Their sleep pattern will change, and so will their social relationships.
Their grades and overall school performance can change, and they might start to experience panic attacks. They might not want to go to school, and school refusal can turn into tantrums.
If you notice your kid is obsessed with perfection and is constantly thinking the worst will happen, it can indicate that they are going through school anxiety.
What is school refusal?
School refusal is when a kid is going through emotional matters that can cause them to not want to go to school. It does not always have to be related to their school life, but it usually is. It can be that they are being bullied, or feel unsupported by their teachers.
The student can also feel like they are under a lot of pressure to succeed, that the school keeps telling them that they need to go to a great university, and their parents might do the same. Kids may also avid going to school because they don’t feel good with their colleagues, they might not identify with them.
When you notice your kid is experiencing school refusal, it might be important to talk to them and understand what is happening so you both can think of a better way to handle it.
Can anxiety lead to depression?
Yes, anxiety can lead to depression. A person can become so overwhelmed with how they feel, that they can get isolated, sadder, and start to develop more and more symptoms of depression.
This is why it is extremely important to treat anxiety when you notice the first signs of it. Try to readjust your lifestyle, look for professional help, and you can learn what is going on with you, and navigate it better so it doesn’t get worse.
What are the best treatments for anxiety?
Anxiety can be treated in some ways. Therapy can usually help people understand the root of their problems and what is triggering them. Aside from that, depending on how intense the anxiety is, it might be important for people to take medication to control its symptoms.
Aside from that, anxiety can improve by doing some simple lifestyle changes. For example, working out can improve a person’s stress level. Meditation can also help you focus on your feelings at the moment and make you understand more about them.
Are parents to blame for school anxiety?
Not necessarily, but they can be a factor to make it happen, or even to make it worse. If parents demand too much of the kid, that pressure can make them develop school anxiety. You should let them know you will be happy with them with whatever grade they get, or whatever college they get into.
Let them know that the most important thing is to see that they are working hard. And the outcome is just a consequence of that. Be supportive of their success, but even more when they don’t go so well. This will let them know you are by their side.
This article discussed why kids and teens might be developing school anxiety. It highlighted some reasons why this can happen, and what anxiety is. Along with that, the article also discussed how they can cope with the feeling, and what ways parents and teachers can be supportive.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.