How to Deal with Anxiety at School


Anxiety can make it difficult to concentrate in school and can decrease student academic performance. Various grounding methods, accommodations, and safe spaces can help students with anxiety at school.

I’m sure most people aren’t strangers to anxiety. Whenever it flares up (especially during school), it can be very disorienting. For this reason, I have decided to help all of us anxious people by telling you about some grounding techniques and places to go around our school to relax when having an anxiety flare-up. 

One of the best places to go when your anxiety kicks up is our very own Wellness Center located in BT1. The Wellness Center is open every school day and during class. On Fridays, our very own special therapy dog Brutus comes around various classes to help students release some tension with some loving cuddles. Another place to go when you need some space is the library: it is always quiet and calm, people tend to keep to themselves, and reading is a very good distraction to help your conscious mind focus so that your subconscious may relax. Lastly, the bathroom may seem like an obvious choice but bathrooms are very unpredictable. Anyone can walk in and most teachers aren’t as lenient when you have to get to the bathroom as opposed to openly asking to go to the Wellness Center.

Despite knowing where to go it is important to know what to do. Many people approach their anxiety differently: some may need someone to talk them down, others prefer isolation, while others have a specific activity or thing that helps them. That being said we can’t always use our preferred method and anxiety can strike at any moment during any situation; therefore, consistently reliable methods for quick relief are necessary. 

Some popular grounding methods (techniques for dealing with anxiety and distress) include a fidget toy, breathing control, counting in your head, and stretching. All of these are pretty self-explanatory. It’s best to have at least a few grounding methods because there are some situations where one grounding method may not be appropriate or possible. For example, when counting in your head you can count from 0-100 normally or in reverse. You can also count objects like the number of vents in the ceiling or how many people are around you, etc. The point is to have your brain focus on something besides your anxiety. For breathing exercises, you may be inclined to only take deep breaths but that doesn’t work for everyone. Instead, you can try holding your breath or taking short inhales and long exhales. These methods can be helpful since they bring hyper-self-awareness to your body and moves you out of your mind. When it comes to fidget toys, remember anything can be a relaxation device from a pen to a piece of string. The point is to focus on whatever you’re doing enough to where your mind has no room to think about anything else that might be causing you distress.

As you can see, most coping mechanisms for anxiety have to do with getting out of your head and distracting it. With that being said, anything that helps you not think about your anxiety is a viable coping strategy as long as it helps you continue being productive, safe, and healthy. If you have frequent anxiety attacks that make it difficult to be in school and learn, please visit Cam High’s Wellness Center to find support.