Anxiety is a state of apprehension, worry, and concern all at the same time. There are places and situations where a little anxiety can be a good thing. In most places, however, it is negative.
Anxiety disorders disrupt the lives of 30 percent of all teen girls and 25 percent of all teens. These are recent statistics found on promisesbehavioralhealth.com.
In fact, according to adaa.org, anxiety disorders affect 40 million United States adults each year, which is 18.1 percent of the population. This means that the most common illnesses in the United States are actually anxiety disorders.
Anxiety sounds common, right? Well, all of those statistics only include severe anxiety. Overall, anxiety is even more common. All teens experience anxiety at some point in their lives.
“I think that schools need to do more to help students deal with anxiety," said junior Ashley Sparacio. "I don't think everyone realizes how much anxiety impacts a student's academic performance and social relationships, not to mention their overall mental and physical health."
In order for one to cope effectively with anxiety, it is important to recognize the symptoms of anxiety and how severe they can be.
According to healthyplace.com, some severe symptoms of anxiety are palpitations, depression, eating disorders, short temper, sleep problems, emotional instability, significant weight loss or gain, and not being able to find joy in daily life. According to hivehealthmedia.com, some less severe symptoms of anxiety are headaches, nausea, trembling, chest pain, fainting, numbness, chills, lack of energy, shortness of breath, hot flashes, stomach issues, and sweating.
Though some of these symptoms are more severe than others, they all mean something: Yes, the anxiety is there.
The next step is identifying the causes of anxiety.
There's a wide scale of how sensitive one may be to feeling anxiety. Anxiety is rare for some. They will only experience it when they are having serious trouble in their lives. These could include general family issues, relationship drama, bad grades, social shyness, firsts, and much more.
For others, though, anxiety will creep up at the slightest provocation.For example, a high school student may experience anxiety at the thought of a history quiz, a ride on the bus, a new friendship, or even another gym class.
Sophomore Nicole Bellesfield was brave enough to step forward with her own experiences.
“In my daily life, I experience anxiety quite often,” Bellesfield said. "Sometimes I don’t even know what is causing me to be anxious. I tend to become more anxious when I have a very important test coming up, a musical performance, or if I just feel that something in the universe feels off.”
Since anxiety is clearly common in the day to day life of many teenagers, more and more research has been done on the topic. It can negatively affect people in many ways. In fact, a severe case can even lead to death.
According to decodedscience.org, a group of Australian researchers conducted a study on the relationship between anxiety and suicide. They found, when studying 7,500 different participants, that 23 percent of the participants with anxiety symptoms had suicidal thoughts.
It is important to remember that severe anxiety is not the only kind. The reasons behind anxiety vary for each student.
“I usually experience anxiety when I feel unprepared for something, which can be due to school or, more often, before social events where I don't know many people or have a clear idea of what to do,” said Bellesfield.
It’s clear to see that there are countless reasons people are affected by anxiety. The reasons, as well, are numerous. When it comes to anxiety, there isn’t a group of willow trees, a group of oaks or a section labelled “pines”. Unique stories of anxiety are crafted every day from just normal day-to-day life.
"I've felt anxiety from a number of things," said junior Ivana Karataseva. "The main source, for me, is not knowing how well I'll do on a project, essay, test, etc. I'll have studied for the test or worked hard on the project, and yet still feel like I have no control over the outcome."
Teens feel anxiety in a number of different ways. They also cope with with it in a variety of ways. Some of the most common ways of releasing anxiety are exercising, music, hobbies, extracurriculars, social media, talking to friends or family, or journaling.
"One way I keep anxiety away is by focusing my energy into doing extracurricular activities," said sophomore Alyssa Robles. "Another technique I use is working on my bullet journal. It helps me de-stress by the artsy nature. Being able to write my stress out helps me a lot."
Not only can teens find ways to release anxiousness with their own hobbies, but they can use suggested backed-up methods with statistical research. According to neurocorecenters.com, four 20-minute meditation sessions reduced anxiety by nearly 40 percent. They also found that healthier eaters, with their diets including omega-3, probiotics, b-vitamins, etc., had naturally decreased anxiety.
Bellesfield discovered a simpler approach. "I've found that doing things that make me happy, talking to people I trust, and getting a good amount of sleep all help to relieve my anxiety."
While keeping busy may work, it can sometimes be a distraction. Simply focusing on calming activities can help relieve stress or anxiety. .
"I try to distract my brain from whatever it is making me feel anxious," said Bellesfield.. "To do that, I lay down and listen to music, draw, play my instruments, etc. Those are things that I just enjoy doing."
Ultimately, each individual must find his or her own escape from anxiety. For the more serious cases, outside help must be taken into consideration. For others, a calming hobby or activity may be the way to go. Meditation and a healthy diet/schedule are also common ways to relieve the pressure.