Eskenazi Health pediatrician
Anxiety is an unpleasant emotion that we all experience. It’s a feeling of apprehension, nervousness or unease, typically about an upcoming event in our lives or something with an unsure result.
Anxiety can lead to physical discomfort resulting in dizziness, numbness in the hands and feet, sweating, a fast heartbeat, muscle tension and quickened breathing.
Severe anxiety can also lead to panic attacks that can cause an individual to feel like they’re suffocating, having a heart attack, losing control or cognition. Children and youth can lose focus in school, be hyperactive or have problems sleeping.
Although children, youth and adults all experience different degrees of anxiety during their daily lives, there are a number of strategies available to help them cope with its debilitating effects.
We suggest learning as much as you can about anxiety, which will help you reduce its frequency and intensity, and discuss this with your children and teens.
Another recommendation is to make a list of problems you have to overcome and rank them from the most difficult to the least problematic. Take on the easiest challenge first with a positive outlook, work to solve it and move on to the next one. You’ll build confidence as you go, and you’ll realize the frightening symptoms of anxiety impacting you or your children can be helped.
When facing difficulties in your life that cause anxiety, take them on while utilizing relaxation techniques. Try breathing through your nose and holding it for several seconds before pursing your lips and gradually releasing all the air out that you can. Continue doing this until you feel more relaxed.
Additional ideas you might try include reading a book, calling or getting together with an old friend, taking a hot bath, playing sports, listening to your favorite music, working out or practicing yoga or meditation.
Look for ways to simplify your life by setting up a schedule and staying with it. Exercise regularly, do the things you enjoy, get plenty of sleep, eat a balanced diet and restrict your intake of coffee and alcohol.
For more advice for children and youth, see HealthyChildren.org
If your anxiety becomes too overwhelming, schedule an appointment with your physician. If you are in need of a primary care physician, call 317-880-8687 or visit www.eskenazihealth.edu/doctors.