Primary School – Worry and Anxiety – Short description
What is worry, what is anxiety?
Worry and anxiety often get confused because they are both what happens to the brains and bodies when we experience stress. Worry tends to be about thoughts and concerns we might have over specific things. Anxiety is more physical, something we feel in our bodies, and is often becomes non-specific and embedded in the way we respond to stress.
How to identify worry, anxiety and more serious presentations?
As both are related to stress, identifying if a child is suffering with worry or anxiety can be difficult. We can start to differentiate between worry from anxiety by looking at how a child experiences their stress response, particularly by looking at the duration, content, physical presentation and impact on the child.
What can teachers do to improve and support young people that maybe suffering with worry or anxiety.
There are lots of ways teachers can help children who are experiencing worries and anxiety. Research suggests that increasing a child’s sense of control over the anxiety and increasing their confidence in their ability to deal with their worries is effective. Depending on the needs and age of the child, the student may need some scaffolding and modelling from adults until they feel able to manage their worries independently.
Everyone gets anxiety. It is a natural response people have to fear, threatening situations and worrying that something bad might happen.
We have developed two videos to help teachers facilitate conversations around worry and anxiety. You can use the first video with your class or groups of pupils. The second video will talk you through how to use the first and give you some ideas on how to facilitate discussions around emotions. We also have some emotion based exercises in our resource section.
3 top tips!
Stress and anxiety are different, we need stress but not so much it makes us anxious.
Helping young people recognise the importance of stress and how to manage for their own benefit.
Understanding that anxiety is physical. Often unlearning how the body responds to stress and trauma is key to improving anxiety.