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Mental Health

You Are Not Alone

Why are we prone to anxiety and how can we calm ourselves down?


Many of us worry from time to time, some more than others. We all fear and worry, whether it’s something little or something big. These feelings are normal and can even help us develop as a person. Anxiety is helpful and gives us the ‘rush’ to do a good job, such as preparing for a job interview, presentation and exam. Once the situation has eased, the anxiety eases.

On the other hand, anxiety as a mental health condition is different. For example, you feel anxious about small things or even everything. Anxiety is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health illnesses among students. It is what we feel when we are worried, tense, stressed or afraid, particularly about things that we think could happen in the future. Anxiety can become a bigger problem if it impacts your ability to live your life as fully as you want. 


Types of anxiety

There are many different types of anxiety which is why it can be hard to detect when you or someone else is struggling. A couple of examples include separation anxiety and social anxiety. Separation anxiety is caused when you are worried about being detached from someone. This might be your family or even your friends. Social anxiety is when you are self-conscious and find it difficult to engage and participate socially with other people. 

The causes of anxiety are very complicated. Many can occur at once, and some may lead to others. Possible causes are difficulties at work or school, relationship problems, and family issues.


What it’s like to have general anxiety

People with general anxiety worry endlessly over everyday issues or situations. This can be money, health, family or social worries. Most people with general anxiety do realise that there is no need to worry about these things. They tend to not be able to relax and concentrate. They can get physical effects such as headaches, muscle pains and even unexplained pains, along with shaky muscles and panic attacks. Insomnia or even staying asleep for too long is a problem.


Medication and treatment

Most anxiety disorders get better with therapy, but this type of treatment can vary. Medication can also help but a mixture of both works best over time as it is not something that can be sorted overnight. Symptoms often worsen over time if not treated with therapy or medicine. Have you heard of the ‘3-3-3 Rule’? It is a method that can help people calm down and relax during stressful moments. According to, here is how you can follow the rule; Name 3 sounds that you hear, move three parts of your body (fingers, shoulders and feet) and point out three things you see. It’s an ever so simple rule to follow and can help many people during tough moments. 


We recently interviewed Elizabeth Pemberton aged 18 from Eastbourne (not her real name). She has personally experienced general anxiety.


How did you first come to the realisation that you had anxieties? 

‘I first realised when I was with my friends and I didn’t feel comfortable with the environment.  I then realised that my hands were shaking and it felt like I couldn’t breathe.  From then I realised it more and more and noticed that I was making reasons as to why I couldn’t go.’ 

Did you speak to anyone about your anxiety? 

‘I didn’t want to speak to anyone about it because I felt as if I could just swallow it and that I wouldnt fit in with anyone if they knew how I really felt.’  

Did you do anything to help treat it? 

‘As I was young I didn’t know of any ways to help treat it as it’s not spoken about a lot and isn’t the most comfortable thing to talk about especially as a young teen. However I researched different calming methods myself such as music and counting and the 3,3,3 rule. I found counting and the 3,3,3 rule really helped me and it still helps me when I’m overwhelmed. ‘

Did it affect your college grades and work life? 

‘For me it didn’t affect my college grades as I spent most of my time at home doing my work, however it did affect my placement as I would try to get out of going but I passed my college course. With work I try to hide it as much as possible as my workplace is a very social environment, and others rely on my communication skills and friendliness. However I have very bad days where I wake up and don’t want to go as I may have had a sleepless night, but working on those bad days can sometimes be a distraction or can make it worse.’ 

What advice would you give to other students whether they have anxiety or not? 

‘Even if you know you have it or you don’t or you know someone who does I would encourage you all to speak about it more and not keep it in, you can speak to an adult, a friend or someone you trust. You should feel comfortable and confident enough to speak to those you trust about it as it can affect everyone differently.’


If you are in need of any help or support, there are lots of social media accounts that can certainly help. A few examples are:


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