Stress or anxiety, is it always bad?
Stress and anxiety is a phenomenon we are faced with on a daily basis. It is a survival mechanism which has made as survive as a human species and it is a normal response to an anticipated future threat. However, when anxiety is left unidentified and not processed at can lead to many difficulties. Herewith is a quick list of possible signs and symptoms
Anxiety can manifest in 4 different domains:
1. Thoughts as stress symptoms:
- “I can’t handle this”
- Ruminating about certain situations
- Worries about being scrutinised in social situations.
- Worries about being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or offending others.
- Excessive worry about losing important people in his/her life.
- Being preoccupied with fearful thoughts.
2. Feelings (emotions) as stress symptoms:
3. Physiological responses as stress symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Grinding of teeth
- Spasms in the neck or shoulders
- Muscle aches
4. Behaviours as stress symptoms:
- Emotional outbursts or meltdowns before school about clothing, shoes, hair or a sporting activity
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
- Unnecessary perfectionism
- Inattention poor focus
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty slowing down before bed time
- Sleeping difficulties (falling asleep, staying asleep)
- Selective mutism during situations expected to speak e.g. school speeches or classroom discussions.
- Surges of intense fear and physical discomfort (panic attacks)
If these signs and symptoms have persisted for more than 3 months and you feel that it is having an impact on your child or adolescent’s school achievement it is important to consult a psychologist.
It is important to note that although your child might have a lot of these symptoms they do not necessarily have an anxiety disorder but learning to cope with his/her anxiety can be very beneficial.