How Educators Can Help Relieve Anxiety in the Classroom

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How Educators Can Help Relieve Anxiety in the Classroom

anxiety in the classroom

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, it’s estimated that 40 million adults suffer from daily anxiety. Any teacher can tell you, though, that adults are not the only ones who deal with this issue. Many kids must combat feelings of restlessness, nervousness, and tension as they struggle to perform in the classroom. This can jeopardize their ability to learn and lead to worsening feelings of failure if the anxiety is left untreated. Unfortunately, treatment is not always accessible for kids, but there is a lot that educators can do to alleviate students’ anxiety in the classroom. Teachers should follow these four steps to alleviate this common experience.

Integrate Daily Breathing Activities

One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety — for adults and kids alike — is to practice intentional breathing exercises when symptoms start to flare up. There are many different exercises that work for this purpose, but one of the most common is the 4-7-8 technique. Students should be instructed to close their mouth and gently inhale through their nose while counting to four. They should then hold their breath while counting to seven. Finally, they should audibly exhale through the mouth while counting to eight.

Identify the Root Cause of Anxiety

In most cases, anxiety does not occur in a vacuum. Rather, it is typically caused by a specific trigger that generates negative feelings for students. Some kids may have anxiety generally related to school and academic expectations while others may be experiencing anxiety as a result of bullying. If the latter is true, teachers should take steps to combat the problem and eliminate bullying behaviors in the classroom.

Build a Support Team for Students

Students who struggle with anxiety may feel as though they’re alone. They may not have many opportunities to talk about their feelings, so they might not understand that other people deal with anxiety, too. It’s important to let these students know that they have a team of cheerleaders who are backing them up and rooting for their success. These students should also know that they can talk about their feelings and discuss their concerns whenever they feel like they need to.

Talk Openly About Feelings and Frustrations

Talking about feelings isn’t just for kids with anxiety. It’s a great tool for every student, and it can even help to prevent anxiety before it arises. Teachers should make time in their daily schedule to host an open forum about feelings, frustrations, and any other topic that students want to address. Doing this can eliminate the stigma associated with anxiety and empower vulnerable students to seek out the support they need. This, in turn, will create a classroom full of healthier and happier students.

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