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School Anxiety & Overwhelm: How to Manage When Things Seem Too Much

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Teenagers and many young adults alike have started school. Some teenagers are returning to Jr. High and others High School. Young adults may be entering college or university for the first time. Other young adults are returning for their sophomore, junior, or senior years.

No matter where they are at, after a summer of fun, returning to the structure of school can be challenging. The first week of school is usually a breeze. Orienting to the class, the semester's syllabus, and not much homework. All that will change as the weeks go by.

As the workload increases, so does the stress. The higher the stress, the more likely anxiety will increase. The greater the anxiety, the greater the feelings of being overwhelmed.

And this is where teenagers and young adults have the opportunity to learn the skills on how to effectively manage the anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed.

Facing increasing work demands is not just a teenager or young adult thing as well. Adults face this on a regular basis.

It a teenager and young adult can learn the skills now on how to manage anxiety and overwhelm, they will be much better prepared for success as an adult.

Suggestions on How to Manage Anxiety & Feelings of Being Overwhelmed

There are effective skills that can be learned to help decrease teen anxiety or young adult anxiety related to the workload of school. These skills are transferrable and can be used in many other situations where one is starting to feel overwhelmed.

First, Understand the Nature of Anxiety & Challenge It

Anxiety is helpful particularly in life threatening or dangerous situations. It will create a cascading effect in our bodies to help us fight the danger, run from the danger, or for certain dangers, freeze.

When anxiety for teenagers and young adults become problematic is when these same alerting systems are triggered when we start to feel overwhelmed. For example, when the academic workload becomes heavy, our anxiety may trigger thoughts like:

  • "You're never going to stay caught up."

  • "You're never going to get caught up."

  • "You're going to fail that test/quiz."

Anxiety may create these thoughts in an effort to motivate. But what is does instead is decreases motivation and effort.

When anxiety increases to this level related to your academic ability, the first thing to understand is your anxiety is lying to you. Challenge the lying, anxious thoughts that anxiety creates with facts and evidence.

For example, you can challenge the above thoughts like this:

  • "How many times in school have I not been able to stay caught up? And when I do get behind, how many times have I not been able to get caught up?

And if I have been able to stay caught up or been able to catch up in the past, what makes me think I won't do it now?"

  • "How many times have I truly "failed" a test or quiz that I studied for? There are times I may have not gotten the grade I wanted. But how many times have I "failed?

If I have done well on each or most of my tests/quizzes in the past when I study, why wouldn't I now?"

When we challenge anxious thoughts with facts and evidence, it can help decrease the anxiety. The more the anxiety is decreased, the less overwhelmed we will feel.

Break Things Down into Smaller, Achievable Parts

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One skill that is very important to learn as a teenager or young adult is the skill of breaking things down into smaller, achievable parts. When we have a text on 3 chapters in history, we don't have to study all three chapters all at once. That IS overwhelming to think about.

And this is where scheduling comes into play. Much of getting good grades is centered around being organized.

If there is a history test on 3 chapters in 5 days, break it down into smaller, achievable parts:

  • Plan out one day where you will study chapter 1.

  • Then plan another day where you will study chapter 2.

  • Then the final day where you study chapter 3. You may also want to throw in a review day where you will review all 3 chapters.

Just the very act of planning out how to study for the test in smaller, achievable parts can alleviate much of the anxiety a teenager or young adult may feel. When you do this with each of your classes, it suddenly becomes clear that what you felt was overwhelming before you had a study plan, is actually very doable and achievable.

Sleep, Exercise, & Support Your Brain Health

Teenagers and young adults should be getting between 9-10 hours or restful, uninterrupted sleep a night. Realistically with the demands of school, if they can get close to 8 hours of restful uninterrupted sleep, this can help with anxiety.

Exercise for many teenagers is often built into the school schedule. If they are a part of athletics at school, this should be an easy one.

Studies have shown that 30 minutes of rigorous exercise 5 days a week is as effective as anti-anxiety medication. When you do this for 6 months, exercise has been shown to be more effective.

The brain is where anxiety originates from. The healthier the brain, the more optimized the brain system is and can help reduce anxiety.

Sugars and simple carbohydrates are toxic for the brain. Caffeine restricts blood flow to the brain which can reduce its ability to function at peak performance.

Caffeine also increases anxiety. If your teenager or young adult struggles with anxiety, one thing that can help is to eliminate or at least, restrict caffeine.

When the Anxiety & Overwhelm Become Too Much for Too Long

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It can be challenging for parents to know when to seek out help for their teen's anxiety. With many young adults who are away for college, parents mostly rely on the young adult's self-report.

Teen anxiety and young adult anxiety can result in similar outcomes. It places an artificial ceiling on your teen and young adult's ability to perform and achieve at levels they are capable of.

This can become increasingly frustrating for teens and young adults. It can also impact their self-esteem and sense of self-worth. They look at other teenagers and young adults who are excelling and compare themselves.

If teen anxiety or young adult anxiety has become an obstacle to your teen or young adult's happiness and success, it may be time to reach out for support. A teen therapist or young adult counselor are those who specialize in teen therapy and young adult counseling.

Anxiety is the #1 emotional challenge that people in the United States experience. This means that there are so many great approaches in treating anxiety.

Anxiety does not have to be a part of your teen or young adults story this school year. Contact us today to meet with one of our teen counselors or young adult therapists for anxiety.

Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Providing Teen & Young Adult Counseling for Anxiety in Katy, Tx & Houston

With 70+ years of combined experience in teen therapy and family counseling, our teen and family therapists are here to help. Teen anxiety and young adult anxiety are highly treatable.

We use those approaches that have been shown to be effective. We want to help you and your family overcome the challenges that anxiety places in your way.

If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy at our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen & Family Counseling, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Talk with one of our caring therapists

  3. Start the healing today

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling

At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of therapy approaches that are supported by research and shown to be effective. Some of the teen therapy and young adult counseling we offer are:

Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy

Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)

Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)

Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)

Group Therapy for Teens

Body Image

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

To succeed in any relationship takes work. This is a common understanding that many of us have.

However, sometimes life will throw challenges at us that create situations that put strain on our marriage or relationship. It may be due to:

  • Choices and actions that have been made by one partner.

  • Financial downturn in the economy creating financial strain.

  • Feeling like you're growing apart.

  • Feeling like you don't have as much in common as you used to.

Whatever the reason may be, marriage counseling and couples therapy can help. Couples therapy and marriage counseling has also been found to work in less time than individual therapy can.

If you've worked hard for this relationship and find that there are now barriers in the way of maintaining a healthy relationship, contact us at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.

About the Author

A man with glasses, a beard, wearing a mint green polo shirt, folding his arms, smiling, with the logo for katy teen and family counseling on the wall behind him. He provides neurofeedback for ptsd houston, texas and counseling for ptsd katy texas 77494. He also provides therapy for trauma katy, tx and ptsd treatment katy, tx 77494.

Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003 and is the Owner & Lead Clinician at Katy Teen & Family Counseling.

He specializes in leading teams of high performing therapists who also specialize in teen therapy, counseling young adults, and family counseling.

Jason is also a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling providing coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.

Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our website.

He has also been a guest on Fox 26 Houston and on a podcast, "Grow a Group Practice" with Alison Pidgeon.

If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy call, text, or email us today!

Phone Number: 281-519-6364

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