Young person writes about how to overcome anxiety

A young person (NRM) who has worked hard to overcome her anxieties and worries, shares her thoughts about what has worked for her. She hopes that her strategies will help other young people with big "worry contemplations". Here is step one of her methods (more to follow):

  • Concentrate on something still - a book, a tissue box, an object which remains static. Just sit and stare at it. (You can blink and breathe by the way). If it's a book, don't read it, just concentrate on the still object. The worry contemplation, whatever it is, is trying to invade, right? Those intrusive thoughts just keep popping up, but stay calm and take deeper breaths than usual, think positively and try to blank out any noise and sound. Imagine clouds in your mind - sweeping towards you - they part, sweep past you and then clear. It may help to close your eyes, sit up, focus and then relax. Try to ignore annoying distractions such as voices, phones or other outside noises. If someone is provoking you, asking you what you're doing, just say you will be with them in a minute. Take your time and try to do this until you begin to feel content and still. Let the clouds keep moving past you until the worry has faded and the clouds are gone.

Comment: Alison Roy, child and adolescent psychotherapist responds: "Being still and learning to focus on your own thoughts and feelings is very important, especially in a world which keeps changing and at times, seems threatening and overwhelming. This time of year can be difficult as well as exciting - for children and young people in particular. The start of a new school year is a time when many things (and sometimes people) have changed. Learning to have some control over your thoughts and feelings by understanding them and to be content with yourself, without always having to please or keep up with others, is very important. There are many pressures, including those to belong and fit in. Fears and worries about being different, alone or failing in some way, can feel very powerful."

Thanks to NRM who has written her strategies down and has had the courage to share them. Over the next few weeks, we will be featuring (and tweeting) her thoughts and strategies.