Sharyn Delgado

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					Dealing with Student and Teacher Anxiety
           By Sharyn Delgado
                          M.S., M.Ed., LPC, LPC-S
     AISD Behavior Intervention Counselor & Private Practice Therapist
   Course Objectives:

A. Definition of Anxiety/ Panic

B. Causes of Stress/Anxiety/Panic Attacks

C. Signs and Symptoms

D. Healthy and Unhealthy Anxiety

E. Classroom, Test, and Everyday Strategies
   to Deal with Anxiety
             What is Anxiety?

Webster defines Anxiety as…

an abnormal and overwhelming sense of

apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs

(as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt

concerning the reality and nature of the threat, and by self

doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it.
              Anxiety Disorders:
            How Do They Manifest?

•   The human body is an amazing machine, providing exactly what you
    need at the very moment that you need it. When you exercise, your body
    produces sweat to cool itself off. When you need energy, you feel
    hungry, leading you to eat and supply the needed energy.

•   Likewise, anxiety is a normal aspect of the human condition; it is a
    reaction to stress. It helps you cope with tense situations or remain
    focused for long periods of time. It also alerts you to danger in the
    environment. But when anxiety becomes an extreme irrational dread of
    everyday situations and begins to interfere significantly with normal
    functioning, it is no longer assistive and adaptive, but has become a
    hindrance to your overall daily functioning and outlook of life it must be
     Generalized Anxiety Disorder

 Affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1 % of the U.S.   population,
     in any given year.

 Women are twice as likely to be affected.

 The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the
  life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and
  middle age.

 Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is
  evidence that biological factors, family backgrounds, and life
  experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.
Today, anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric

    disorders in children, with an estimated 5 million young people struggling

    with these illnesses. A full 13% of women in America have an anxiety


If left untreated, anxiety disorders can paralyze an individual’s life. To say

    nothing of the destruction of the entire family system where no one – not

    brothers, sisters, husbands, or parents -- is spared. Untreated anxiety

    turns into depression.

But if caught and treated early, recovery can be a reality. Research indicates

    that the sooner a patient of any age receives treatment, the more likely

    he/she is to recover from an anxiety disorder.
           Causes of Stress and Anxiety
Abraham Maslow’s 1943 paper on “A Theory of Human Motivation” s
    Causes of Stress and Anxiety

 Financial Problems                    TAKS performance
 Single parent                         Fitting in with other
 Parents/Extended                       Staff member
                                        Change in
 Marital Problems
 Children’s Problems
   Drugs, pregnancy, normal teenage
                                        Change in work
                                         hours/ conditions
 Unbalance Lifestyle
       Signs of Anxiety                     Signs of Stress Disorders:
 Muscle Tension                             Re-experiencing the trauma

 Fatigue / Restlessness                       (flashbacks or nightmares)

 Difficulty Sleeping                        Avoiding activities, places, or

 Irritability / Edginess                      people associated with the

 Gastrointestinal Discomfort or Diarrhea      triggering event

 Palpitations / Sweating and/or             Difficulty concentrating or

   Trembling                                   sleeping

 Shortness of breathing / Sense of          Being hyper-vigilant (watching
   choking                                     your surroundings or loved ones)
 Nausea or upset stomach                    Feeling a general sense of
 Dizziness                                    depression, irritability, doom and
 A feeling of being detached                  gloom with diminished emotions

 Unable to think / concentrate                such as loving feelings or
                   Sometimes we also see…
•   Intense fear of social and performance situations

•   Crying/ Tardiness and/or Absences

•   Difficulty with Transitions ~Fears situations such as unstructured interactions with peers,
    initiating conversations, performing in front of others, inviting others to get together, and/or
    talking on the phone

•   Social Withdrawal

•   Strong, tense reactions to common life events

•   Loss of appetite

•   Concentration Difficulty

•   May sit alone in the library or cafeteria, hangs back

•   Excessive shyness ~concerned about negative evaluation, humiliation, embarrassment, or
    public speaking
    Healthy and Unhealthy Anxiety

Certain levels of anxiety are quite normal, in fact can
  help you perform better by making you feel more
  alert and attentive. However, when anxiety
  reaches a certain point, it can interfere with your
  ability to concentrate, recall information, and
  daily functioning.
How can we help?
      First Steps to helping…
•   Educate about the signs of anxiety

•   Teach relaxation skills

•   Identify and notify anxious self-talk and cognitive processing
    (The goal is for the anxious child/person to examine, test out, and reduce his or her negative
    self-talk, modify unrealistic expectations; and generate more realistic and less negative self-
    statements. Changing children’s anxious and negative self-talk – but not positive self-talk –
    mediates the changes in anxiety that are associated with anxiety reduction. {Treadwell &
    Kendall, 1996} )
•   Children learn active problem-solving skills that assist in development of
    a behavioral plan to cope with their anxiety.

•   Anxious children place high standards for achievement on themselves
    and are critical of themselves if they fail to meet these standards, so the
    child is encouraged to reward both complete and partial successes.

•   The ultimate goal is to equip children with skills that will help them
    manage anxious distress.
   Other Classroom Strategies
• Ask the child for suggestions on how to help?

• Model Self-talk

• Create a safe and stress free environment

• Teach relaxation techniques

• Others??
   – Midbrain
   – Make sure you are healthy so you can radiate peace outward
Just imagine yourself in a student’s place..

You know how to work multiplication word problems. You’ve done it
   a hundred times in class and most of the time you pass with an
   average grade. Then a test is placed in front of you. You are told
   that this is a very important test, and that how well you score will
   determine what you have and have not learned. You MIGHT
   even be told that this will effect whether or not you go up to the
   next grade level. Now you are getting nervous and your palms
   are sweating. You have butterflies in your stomach. You think I
   can do this, but you aren’t quite sure. The more you think about
   it, the more nervous you get. Suddenly all you can think about is
   how nervous and/or scared you are. The teacher announces that
   it is time to open the test booklet and the time will begin. You
   see the first question and your mind goes blank.
            Test Anxiety
•    Normalize it with students
    (remind them how fear is keeping them from using the “thinking”
     part of their brain-their ability to rationalize)

•    Modeling self-talk
•    Make the first exam relatively easy.
     Research on motivation indicated that early success in a course increases students’ motivation and confidence
     (Lucas, 1990). In particular, students who do well on the first test generally improve their grades on subsequent
     tests (Guskey, 1988).

•    Give more than one examination.
     (Periodic testing during the semester has been shown to improve students’ performance on the final exams
     (Lowman, 1984).

•    Avoid “pop” quizzes
•    Give students advice on how to study
     Help students develop appropriate study strategies to organize and understand the information from the assigned
     readings and class notes.

•    Plan for “what ifs”

•    RELAX
     The teacher must be relaxed about THE test. His or her mood radiates from them to their students.
        Everyday Strategies
1.   Education: understanding the condition

2.   Physical: calming and balancing the body (lifestyle)

3.   Mediation: interpreted broadly, “mediation” includes prayer,
     guided imagery and relaxation techniques.

4.   Cognitive-behavior .. becoming aware of how your thoughts
     impact your behavior.

5.   Be kind to yourself  by taking care of you.
        Just breathe…
                     Panic attacks

•   In order to have a panic attack, you have to tell yourself something that
    is not true. The truth is that panic attacks are not dangerous.
•   When you have a panic attack, you temporarily lose your perspective
    and don’t see the truth. When you regain your perspective, your panic
    attack will end abruptly.
•   What people really fear is what they imagine a panic attack will lead to.
    However, the only thing a panic attack ever leads to is the panic attack
•   Look at a panic attack as an opportunity to master panic.
•   Taking an objective perspective and reminding yourself of the truth at the
    time/times of high anxiety is the key to overcoming panic attacks.
•   What if’s??
                Thoughts to Ponder..
• Do you think there is an association between anxiety,
  depression, and burnout?

Helpful reminders:
• Be authentic-be aware of YOU, your body and mind
• If you don’t have to be perfect then others around you don’t
  have to be perfect.

• A thought in itself cannot make you anxious. You
  have to believe the thought, and you have the power
  to choose whether or not to believe it.

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