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We all feel worried, stressed or anxious sometimes, and that’s ok. It can be your body’s way of telling you something isn’t right or safe, or can even help us stay focused and achieve more. These feelings exist on a continnum and sometimes it's difficult to know some of the differences between anxiety, stress and worry, so hopefully this page will help.
From time to time, everyone feels fearful or worried and this is completely normal. Worry can be useful, by providing us with protection from threatening situations. For example, if you are worried about a drama performance, this may motivate you to learn your lines or practice which can be helpful. However, too much worry can be debilitating and make everyday a struggle as it can stop us from getting to sleep, interfere with our ability to concentrate, and can make us fearful about trying new things.
Sometimes, one worry can lead to another then another, leading us to feel like we can’t stop worrying. Worry can also cause us to experience uncomfortable physical feelings in our body, such as feeling tense, sick, dizzy, getting a knotted stomach or headaches. If you start to feel like you are worrying more, it's important to speak to somebody you trust such as your parent, carer, teacher or best friend as they might have some ideas of how to help. You can also access further information on worry and ways in which to manage this at GetSelfHelp website.
Everybody feels stress at some point in their lives. Most of the time, it is an understandable reaction to a situation they are in where they feel overwhelmed. However, if we feel overwhelmed for a long time, it can become uncomfortable and disrupt our everyday life.
When thinking about stress, sometimes it can be helpful to think about something called the Stress Vulnerability Bucket. Imagine there’s a bucket you carry with you which slowly fills up when you experience different types of stress. Sometimes you feel strong enough to carry a lot of stress, but it’s important to find activities which help you lighten the load. Watch this video to learn more about stress/vulnerability bucket and think about ways you can reduce your stress- including talking to people around you, doing things you enjoy etc.
Anxiety is when you feel fearful or nervous about certain situations, or when you are worrying about things that might happen. We usually start to label something "anxiety" when there is physical response to the worries in your head,
Some physical responses include feeling sick, feeling breathless or feeling tense, whilst some emotional responses are feeling fearful or panicky, irritable or upset. When we experience these uncomfortable sensations, our natural response is to want to avoid, escape from or do something to make the anxiety go away. Whilst this can feel helpful in the short-term, on-going avoidance or escape where there is no real risk can stop us from learning that we can cope with situations.
One of the ways to reduce feelings of anxiety is to understand them better. By understanding how anxiety works, you can then recognise the reasons why you are feeling anxious and then start to break the vicious cycle. There are different types of anxiety that young people can experience. Click on this useful link from AnxietyUK to find out more to find out more.
Once you have learned more about what is going on for you, these useful links can help you with ideas and resources to help manage your anxiety-
NHS inform anxiety self-help guide
GetSelfHelp information sheet on anxiety
Anxiety self-help guide from Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
Shyness and Social Anxiety self-help guide- 'Moodjuice'
GetSelfHelp information sheet on social anxiety
Social Anxiety self-help guide from Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
GetselfHelp information sheet on panic
Panic self-help guide- 'Moodjuice'
Panic self-help guide from Norhumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
Have you tried the advice and self-help information on this page? AND/OR Have you sought support from somewhere else (e.g school) but feel you need more help?
If so, you can speak your GP/ School/ Social Worker to discuss a referral to our services.
You can also now speak to a emotional wellbeing/ mental health practitioner for advice:
24 hours a day
We also offer a self referral service, please visit our Self referral page for more information about this process, including when it may/may not be appropriate.