Stress / Anxiety

A person lying in the grass with their hands on their head.
Ouch - we all get stressed and we all get anxious at one time or another - so you're no exception! A bit of stress and a bit of anxiety is fine, in fact it can actually help you get things done. What is bad, is when your stress and anxiety gets so absolutely overwhelming that it stops you from doing anything and makes you feel totally hopeless. Time to take action then.......

How do you know if you're stressed?

A boy looking unhappy with his hand to his head.
Well even if you might not know - everyone around will! You might...
  • Get grumpy
  • Lose your sense of humour (assuming you had one in the first place!)
  • Feel tired all the time
  • Find it difficult to get to sleep
  • Go off your food or overeat
  • Get very jumpy
  • Have difficulty in concentrating
  • Be unable to decide what you want to do or make decisions.
If you are very, very anxious then you might:
  • Get sweaty hands
  • Get butterflies in your tummy
  • Feel hot and cold
  • Want to pee all the time
  • Feel that you are going to crap in your pants
  • Feel sick
  • Feel your heart beating harder and fast.

What can you do about stress?

A pair of legs with football socks and boots about to kick a ball.
Exercise can help with stress.

There are in fact quite a few very easy things to do about stress. These include:

Avoid caffeine

Stay away from coffee, tea, and coca cola, as they all contain caffeine and will make your anxiety worse.

Talk to people

Talk to your mum, dad or a friend about your anxieties as sharing them with other people often helps.

One at a time

Make a list of all those things which are making you anxious and think about what you might do about each of them individually. Problems looked at one at a time are easier to deal with than a vast great lump of problems.

Get moving

Take some exercise - run, swim, dance, play football - it doesn't matter what as they all help produce "endorphins" in your body which make you feel good rather than anxious.

Take time out

Give yourself a break and do something that you really enjoy.

RELAX!

Learn some relaxation exercises like this one:

  1. Write down three kinds of time when you feel completely happy and relaxed, like lying by the sea, kissing your boy/girl friend, lying in a hot bath etc.
  2. Then lie on your back and take 12 very slow deep breaths.
  3. Then tense up your whole body for about five seconds as hard as you can and then relax each bit of your body bit by bit - your face, your left arm, your left hand, your right arm……………etc.
  4. Then lie completely relaxed and think about those lovely times when you feel most relaxed.

Try changing the way that you think about your life

Instead of thinking...

  • I am a failure
  • No one loves me
  • I can't do my homework
  • Everyone else is better than me

...try instead thinking:

  • There are things that I can do well
  • I've actually got some good friends
  • There is some homework that I can do O.K.
  • There are some things that I am better at than other people

The more you concentrate on the things that you can do and are good at, the more you will find that you can cope with the stressful ones. OK so this all sounds easy, we know life's not that simple, but give it a go and surprise yourself. Certainly better than spending the same time worrying about things that you cannot do!

  • Then lie completely relaxed and think about those lovely times when you feel most relaxed.
  • Try changing the way that you think about your life

    Instead of thinking...

    • I am a failure
    • No one loves me
    • I can't do my homework
    • Everyone else is better than me

    ...try instead thinking:

    • There are things that I can do well
    • I've actually got some good friends
    • There is some homework that I can do O.K.
    • There are some things that I am better at than other people

    The more you concentrate on the things that you can do and are good at, the more you will find that you can cope with the stressful ones. OK so this all sounds easy, we know life's not that simple, but give it a go and surprise yourself. Certainly better than spending the same time worrying about things that you cannot do!

    Why do you get anxious?

    An illustration of a boy and a girl with a yellow glow surrounding them

    Most of it is due to some stuff called adrenaline. When you feel anxious or stressed, this hormone called adrenaline gets pumped round your body. Adrenaline is released by your adrenal glands (on top of your kidneys) when you sense danger, to prepare the body for 'fight or flight'. This adrenaline:

    • Helps your muscles get more oxygen and sugar so they can work harder to help you escape the threat.
    • Makes your heart pump more blood faster ("Pounding") to your muscles and brain (which can help you think more clearly).
    • Increases the tension in your muscles making you 'feel' tense.
    • Changes the blood going to your muscles and skin making you feel hot and cold.
    • Makes you want to pee and crap.
    • Makes you want to panic.