Embracing anxiety

This is a good list of apps and sources of support gathered by Sarah Wilson, author of "First, we make the beast beautiful", a book encouraging people managing anxiety (the world's most common mental illness) to feel not just better about their condition, but to be delighted by the possibilities it offers for a richer, fuller life.

What if we could make anxiety useful?

As mentors, we may need these resources for our self, to understand what our mentees are living with, or to share with other mentors and mentees. More lives than ever before are touched in some way by feelings of anxiety or more intense versions of generalised or specific anxiety disorders; either through personal experience or connection to another, so it's helpful to understand more about "the beast", as explained by Sarah Wilson.

We all do the best we can at the time with what we know or have at hand. Often the greatest learnings can come from hearing of blind spots learned by others through experience.

Karen Young of Hey Sigmund shares this insight and more in this article on how to support children and adolescents with anxiety ride the waves of life:

"When children show overwhelming fear or anxiety, it’s completely understandable that a loving parent would want to protect them from those bad feelings. Sometimes, whether through exhaustion or a lack of options, it can feel as though the only way to soothe their distress is to support their avoidance. 

This can lead to short-term relief for everyone (which sometimes is desperately needed!) but avoidance has a frustrating way of making things worse in the long run and keeping the anxiety well fed.

Excessive reassurance, changing plans to accommodate the anxiety, or supporting avoidance too often are all intended to support your child, but they can actually make it easier for anxiety to flourish. 

To avoid this, validate your child’s fears, then gently encourage them towards brave behaviour. This way, they’ll feel the comfort and security of you, without letting anxiety steer them away from the things that can grow them.”

How can you share the concept of anxiety with children and support them?

Renee from www.gozen.com works with kids and their mentors around the world to support their experience with anxiety.

Once a medical doctor has cleared the person and they're sure what they're experiencing are panic attacks, then as a first step Renee teaches kids that while irritating, upsetting, uncomfortable, not fun etc., panic attacks are not dangerous.  These feelings will pass when we understand and embrace the messages from our body.

Hey Warrior is a book about anxiety for children aged 5 to 12 years.  Kids can flourish with the right information. Understanding why anxiety feels the way it does, and where the physical symptoms come from, is an empowering step toward embracing anxiety and potentially turning it around.

Be a warrior not a worrier!


Melissa Shadforth