By Inquiry Healthy Owl Times reporters | Editor’s Note: Third-grade Healthy Owl Times reporters recently interviewed Ms. Ashley Fernandez, Inquiry’s Family Support Specialist, about anxiety and what to do when you are experiencing anxiety. Ms. Ashley’s comments have been lightly edited.
Question: What is anxiety?
Ms. Ashley: Anxiety is a feeling you have inside that you are worried about the future. Your heart might start racing. Your face could become warm and hot. You may perspire and sweat. There might be churning in your stomach or you could have a stomach ache. Your breathing could become slow and shallow or quick and racing. Your brain can have racing thoughts and it might feel like your thoughts are all over the place.
Question: What are the causes of anxiety?
Ms. Ashley: There are many causes. You could have something important coming up. You might have experienced a traumatic situation such as a car accident or an injury to a family member. Those types of situations can cause you to be worried or scared. Sometimes it can also be a big change such as moving to a new house or school.
Question: Is it normal to have anxiety? Why or why not?
Ms. Ashley: It is normal to feel anxious. Anxiety is when that anxious feeling starts to happen frequently and you’re struggling with it. Some anxiety is OK. When anxiety is happening a lot, that’s when you should talk to a parent, talk to a doctor, or talk to Ms. Asia Bey, Student Success Coordinator, or me.
Question: What should you do if you are anxious about something?
Ms. Ashley: Talk to someone you trust. That could be a parent, teacher, or maybe a friend, if they’re 18 or older. Concerns should be addressed with adults so we can help you.
Question: What can kids do to help themselves if they are feeling anxious?
Ms. Ashley: Take deep breaths, pause what you’re doing, remove yourself from other people, do something you really love to do. For instance, you can go for a run, read, listen to music, or practice positive self-talk.
Question: Is there anything you would like to add?
Ms. Ashley: Do you have someone you can trust? That’s the biggest thing. I always want kids to know they have someone they can trust. You should know who that person is.
Illustration by Angelina, eighth grade, Catholic Partnership Schools.