Where can I find help?
If you are feeling anxious too often or for too long and it’s starting to affect how you feel, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust – whether a teacher, parent, carer or your best friend. Or, if you prefer, you can talk to Childline on 0800 1111 or you can find other people you can talk to here. The most important thing to remember is you’re not alone and you can find support.
So what does anxiety feel like?…
What is anxiety and why do we feel anxious?
When you feel anxious you might notice
- your heart beats faster
- your throat goes dry
- your stomach starts to churn
- you feel sick or dizzy
- you feel hot and sweaty
- you feel like you need to wee or poo
- you feel strange like you’re not really there
- you can’t think straight
These sensations are all part of a normal, natural response which developed millions of years ago, to help us react to sudden life-threatening dangers. Early humans often needed to either run for their lives, or be ready to fight, when faced with a dangerous animal or a hostile tribe. When we feel anxious it’s actually the body going through some temporary changes to help us react more quickly and create more energy for running.
Although we no longer face the same kind of dangers, this response – known as ‘Flight or fight’ – can still save lives sometimes. It can help us move quickly out of the way of a speeding car, for example. The trouble is everyday worries and fears, which are usually not life-threatening, can trigger the same response so that our bodies respond to protect us as if we were in real danger.
What's the difference between anxiety and stress?
Anxiety is when you feel fearful or nervous about certain situations or worried about things that might happen. All kinds of things, big and small, can make people feel anxious – everyone is different. You might be worried about taking an exam, having to speak in public, problems at home or even going out on a date.
Stress is when you feel overwhelmed by too many problems or too much pressure and start to find it hard to cope. Stress can trigger the ‘Flight or fight’ response causing feelings of anxiety.
While these feelings will usually go away they can sometimes develop into a panic attack. Panic attacks can be scary but can’t cause you any physical harm.
Things you might find useful
Information about stress and anxiety, including symptoms, managing anxiety and panic attacks.Visit website
Your panic monster
Short film produced by The Mix, helping you understand your panic triggers.Watch video
Free app suggesting activities to help you feel happier and more in control – for moments of anxiety or low mood.Find out more
A fun and easy to use intro into 10 minute meditation – offers a free 10-day trial. More features available with subscription.Visit website
BBC Bitesize: Exam stress
Top tips and videos to help you de-stress, plus practical advice to help you revise and prepare.Visit website
ChildLine: Worries about the world
Some things that are happening in the world can make us scared. Or feel confused, unsafe or like we don’t have control. ChildLine’s info can help you make sense of things and how to get support if you’re worried.Visit website