Anxiety: How To Cope During School


Andrea Fabian, Staff Writer

Picture this: you’re in school. You can feel the rough edges of the seat digging into your back as you watch the laptop screen, a blur of colors all that you can comprehend as you focus in on your pounding heart. A deep thud, thud, thud ensues while you feel your heart banging restlessly against your ribcage, mercilessly tearing at the bones in order to gain freedom. Sitting, pencil in hand, you can feel the twisting of nerves around your stomach as your heart beats in a furious rhythm. Your throat begins to close, the world begins to darken at the edges as your lungs fail to expand, fail to fill with oxygen. Sitting, pencil in hand, you feel your skin flush, a wave of heat washing over you in sections. You’re sitting in class and everybody else is blissfully unaware of the hold that has wrapped itself around your entire body. This is exactly how hundreds of kids feel as anxiety hits, an unapologetic tsunami that threatens to crumble them as they work

Mental health has become a more discussed topic throughout the years, so anxiety is not an uncommon phrase among the children of this generation. It is reported to be one of the most common disorders among adolescents, and can be developed in multiple ways, yet so many teenagers are left to their own devices when it comes to anxiety attacks. So many of these kids, especially those without diagnosis, are in need of coping mechanisms; a strategy used to calm the anxiety or cope with it as it increases, usually used during an onslaught of anxiety or panic attacks.

If you or anyone you know have symptoms of anxiety, you probably know what coping mechanisms are, and how they work. They are exactly what they sound like: a mechanism we, as human beings, use to cope, though not all are beneficial. Yes, there are many helpful and working strategies out there, but there are also so many harmful ones. Many teenagers have been shown to mistake a harming strategy as something that works, and this mistake can prove to be incredibly harmful towards their physical wellbeing. On another note, whether it’s out of duty or shame, a great deal of children will dismiss the problems they struggle with simply because they feel it’s not important. This notion is one of the main reasons why mental health has been so controversial in the past. 

Because of the controversy, many people enforce the idea that mental health is not real, or simply does not exist. They express that, because it is not physically visible, is something that can be combated through mental training. This is not true. Yes, mental illnesses are not like appendicitis, where an X-Ray can see an inflamed organ and surgery can be performed. But, what many do not realize, is that the brain is also an organ. Mental health, essentially, is when our brain becomes ill. That makes it just as real as appendicitis. 

One of the most popular methods is simply breathing. Taking a breath, holding for three seconds, and releasing. This allows you to get the air you need into your lungs, and can calm your panic system. Another is taking a look around. This method is called 5-4-3-2-1. Find five things you can see and describe them, whether it’s aloud or in your head. Acknowledge four things you can tough, three that you can hear, two you can smell, and one thing you taste. This ties you back to your surroundings and helps anchor you back to reality. 

If you are struggling, it’s okay to reach out. It is okay to research the things you are feeling. Coping mechanisms are essential for people whose mind works against them. There are numerous techniques you can use, breathing techniques, meditation, affirmations, and some can work for you. If you are struggling, it’s important to note that mental health should come before school or work. There is no need to put more pressure on a teenager than they can handle, even when it comes to schoolwork. Take a step back, breathe, and know that this is okay.