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How Do I Support My Student With Anxiety? Part Two

In our previous FAQ post, we looked at the stress students today are facing, the role stress takes in their lives, and the difficulty they have in regulating that stress. For our first tip on how to support a student who is struggling with stress, we recommended bypassing the “I’m so stressed” escape route by digging into the specifics of what they are feeling beneath the stress. The causes of stress can be obvious- school, exams, responsibilities, the need to succeed, and more. However, the attachments to stress are multi-leveled and complex. After we paint a bigger picture of what else is driving stress for a recovering student in our life, we can better support them.

Help For Now

During a stressful moment, one of the most helpful things we can do to support a student in our lives is to help them get grounded in the present moment. Much of the stress students endure is future based, living in fear of what’s to come in regards to work load, success, or failure. Though they are taking steps toward their future, they have little control over the future at any given moment- which is one of the most difficult lessons students will come to learn.

Grounding is a practice which helps take the mind and the body out of the anxiety of the future and anchor it into the present moment. Many practices for grounding exist, but one of the easiest and most helpful practices for grounding is just taking a few deep breaths and letting the mind go of all worry, as much as possible. The nervous system begins to reset as oxygen makes its way through the blood stream and into the brain, activating the parasympathetic nervous system and calming down an overactive amygdala, which regulates fear and anxiety.

Help For Later

As helpful as getting grounded in the present and deactivating an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be the student still has finals to take, responsibilities to be accounted for, and obligations to fulfill. We can ask our students what, if anything, we can do to help and what if anything, they need from us in support. After pausing to take a few deep breaths and connect with themselves, a student will leave survival mode and be able to clearly think about what could support them most. Whether that is a snack, emotional support, cheerleading encouragement, or more, we can do our best to fulfill their needs however we can.

At The Guest House Ocala, we offer residential treatment programs specialized for the care of traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our trauma treatment programs and our concierge style customization for every guest: 1-855-483-7800