BUILDING SELF BELIEF AND LIFESKILLS TO MANAGE AND OVERCOME ANXIETY AND STRESS
ANXIETY, STRESS AND DEPRESSION IN TEENAGERS HAS REACHED EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS
As teachers I am sure you have noticed that more than ever teenagers and even younger children are suffering from anxiety, stress and panic disorders.
We are maybe getting better at recognising this and there is certainly more support to help students that are feeling this way, but despite that the problem continues to grow. In a recent department of education study 37% of 14 year old girls rated themselves as emotionally distressed. The boys about half that figure. The problem seems to be greatest amongst those from well educated backgrounds as the pressure to succeed is greater. It is also higher amongst divorced and separated families and families where there is unemployment or long term illness
Probably the most distressing figure is the 50% increase in hospital admissions for self harm during the course of the above study.
A significant finding was that these youngsters did not feel in control of their own destiny. So why does that matter?
If we are to feel optimistic, confident, capable, proud, have high self esteem, happy etc we need to feel that what we do will create these feelings within us. When we rely on the feelings of others to create those feeling for us we have handed over control. Fundamentally we can only influence anothers feelings, we are not responsible for them, so if a student believes that they must get top marks to make a parent happy, but that parent is not happy for other reasons then they find themselves never achieving their aims even if they have top marks.
Anxiety and panic creates a sense of being out of control which reaffirms the belief that they are not in control of anything let alone their destiny.
SO MUCH MORE TO SAY! I could go on forever on this subject but here are some very important facts:
Here are some basic errors people of all ages make when they are trying not be anxious;
They try to not be anxious! Yes you read that right; when we try not to do something we are taking our awareness to what we don't want rather than what we do.
They believe their thoughts; our thoughts are only that, they are not fact ad they will be influenced by our emotional state, so if you are already anxious and depressed the chances are you will have thoughts that reaffirm that perspective.
They imagine impending disaster, they effectively hypnotise themselves into a negative state by exploring all the worst possible scenarios, seeing them, hearing them and feeling them as if the worst has already happened...it may never but it is much more likely to now!
Then there is belief and conditioned response: if a student consistently gets very anxious while studying and works too hard, restricting sleep etc but still does well, then they risk believing that they have to behave this way to pass exams. As this behaviour is now linked to reward the brain will unconsciously drive them back towards that same behaviour the next time there is an exam.
HELP IS AT HAND
DON'T PANIC!!!! HERE IS THE GOOD NEWS!
It doesn't have to be this way, CBT combined with NLP, Relaxation and breathing exercises and positive visualisation are all fast and effective techniques for exiting panic and anxiety and creating calm, confidence and control. These are basic life skills that everyone should know, they are relevant for all situations and all levels of anxiety.
If you keep doing what you have always done you will get what you always got.
You cannot use the same kind of thinking to solve a problem that you used to create it in the first place.
I have worked with hundreds of students in school workshops, and many on a one to one basis teaching them the skills and techniques they need to take control of their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and to eliminate the trigger situations that in the past would have created anxiety and panic. I have taught them that they have the ability to control not only the physical responses that happen in the body, when faced with a "stressful" situation, but how by changing their thinking and the subsequent images in their heads, they are able to experience what they do want; to feel calm, confident and in control of themselves and their destiny.
Dont delay research shows some teenagers take 5 years before they get the help they need
How I can help with the STOP PANIC STAY CALM workshop
In this active workshop the students learn some fast and effective techniques to stop panic if it does start as well as creating the ability to remain calm, confident and in control so panic doesn’t happen in the first place.
Techniques the students learn;
· Easy and fast relaxation techniques
· Using the breath to take control and calm the physical responses
· Create the positive emotions and beliefs they do want by using anchoring techniques
· See things how they want them to be
·Understanding and Controlling thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
The students also learn to understand and normalise the physical sensations and processes involved in panic;
Fight or flight response; what it is and why we have it.
Symptoms; Understanding the weird and wonderful sensations of feeling panic or the anxiety are not to be feared (panic is a fear of fear), when you understand what is happening in the body to create those symptoms you will know there is nothing sinister going on it is just your body preparing to save itself from a perceived threat
Cues and the thought / feeling / behaviour cycle; what triggers panic in the first place and then how our thoughts and feelings increase the effect to a point of panic.
Breaking the cycle; How and when to break the cycle to stop the panic.
The Results - what you can expect;
In a recent workshop with 30 anxious pupils held at Ferndown Upper School the pupils were asked to complete feedback by answering the following questions;
Did you enjoy today's workshop? 28/30 replied yes
Have you learnt some valuable techniques to stop panic? 26/30 replied yes
Were the techniques easy to learn? 26/30 replied yes
Can you see yourself using these when needed? 25/30 replied yes
Would you recommend this workshop to others? 24/30 replied yes
If you would like to give your students the benefit of these techniques or would like to know more then please contact me by clicking below.
There is also an online STOP PANIC STAY CALM course available to expand upon what is taught in the course, you can preview the first 3 parts of the course by clicking here