I have been increasingly aware that many of the students that RiSE interacts with (that have been diagnosed with learning differences and ADHD ) seem to have a higher likelihood of having anxiety. We know this is true statistically, but seeing it firsthand in our student’s stories has heightened my awareness.
Personally, I recently lost my father unexpectedly and the grief that I experienced made me look for ways to manage the anxiety that I was feeling. We all experience anxiety and stress but thought I would pass along ways that I have found from either hearing the students stories or through my experience. I am hoping that sharing these strategies will be helpful if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, no matter your age:
• Focus on your strengths and joy. Take a moment to see when you are laughing and smiling and make sure that you include this in your life. Is this when you are with friends, alone reading, walking in nature, playing a sport, lifting weights, singing? Find it, feel it and do more of it.
• Becoming aware of your mind’s inner critic or CRITICS. What are your thoughts saying? Listen. Most of this continual chatter is not even true and it is self-defeating. When you become aware of it, you can quiet the negative messages and insert positive ones and affirmations that you are safe, loved, competent and so on. Do some Google searching on “self-defeating thoughts” and you will find that the situation is usually your mind’s speaking an untruth.
• Meditation and Being Mindful, sometimes this can include staying in the moment without “future tripping” or being fearful of the test, the performance, or perhaps the conversation. Being mindful makes you stay present and this helps lower the anxiety. There are some amazing Apps and podcasts that you can use on the smartphones to give a few minutes a day to remain calm. Search Itunes for meditation and listen to samples that are free and the speaker sounds calming to you. Even a few minutes a day can calm your spirit.
• Physical activity, there is no better way to burn some of that anxiety and nervousness. I found the morning was the best time to have a better all round day.
• David D. Burns book, When Panic Attacks is terrific. It gives you many ways to look at your anxiety and work through it. I liked the daily mood log which you can do daily requiring only a couple of minutes a day on a specific situation or interaction that heightened your anxiety. By doing this you have a better understanding of your trigger. Here is the pdf. which you can print and do without ordering the book.
The “And So On” Blog by Jena Young
Jena Young is an advocate for students who learn differently and the Co-Founder of RiSE Scholarship Foundation, Inc.
The advice in this blog is from her personally and not intended as professional advice from RiSE.