Urgent help
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Feeling really stressed or worried?

Everybody gets stressed or worried from time to time. Sometimes a little bit of stress or worry is a good thing, as it can help us to get things done and motivate us towards our goals. Sometimes though, we can feel too stressed or worry about things too much and this can get in the way of enjoying life and achieving our goals. When this sort of fear or worry is ongoing, even if the situation has resolved, it is called anxiety. Anxiety is a normal part of life and most people feel anxious at some time about certain life situations, even things that we find enjoyable can be stressful like going on holiday.

What does anxiety feel like?

Having anxiety might mean that we feel frightened, panicked, worried and nervous a lot of the time. It can have an effect on the way we think, feel and behave.

We might feel physical symptoms such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Shaky
  • Light headed/dizziness
  • Feeling breathless
  • Tight chest
  • Stomach ache
  • Feeling sick
  • Headaches
  • Pounding heart

We might behave in certain ways such as:

  • Avoiding situations that we are worried about
  • Being restless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fidgety
  • Poor sleep/waking through the night
  • Not eating
  • Having bad dreams
  • Angry and irritable
  • Crying and clingy
  • Complaining of feeling unwell

These unpleasant thoughts and feelings can develop into a vicious cycle which acts like an engine, driving the anxiety and keeping it going.

What causes anxiety?

There are many different reasons that we may experience anxiety; it could be due to our life experiences, our family history, experiences of trauma or because of our genes and/or our personality. Sometimes we may find the problems started after an upsetting or frightening experience in our life (like being bullied at school, having an illness, loss of a loved one or parents separating).

We may be able to manage one challenging stressful event, but when lots of things happen at once, like parents separating, moving house and changing school, it can become much more difficult.

What can help?

The good news is that there are lots things that we can do to reduce the feeling of anxiety and make us feel better.

Here are some things you could try:

  • Learn a bit more about anxiety and how it works
  • Relaxation
  • Listening to music can help us feel more relaxed. Choose tracks that make you feel happy, relaxed and positive
  • Breathing exercises
  • Mindfulness
  • Exercise
Visit our 'top tips on feeling good' page for recommended apps and more

Getting More Help

Talking to family and friends about your worries can help you feel more supported. You might want to talk to someone outside the family like a GP, teacher or mentor at school, or even a friend’s parent. Choose someone you trust and if you find it difficult to talk about how you are feeling, you could write them a letter or send them a text. Support is also available through Childline, Compass Phoenix and Recovery College Online.



Childline provides a free and confidential telephone service for children and young people up to the age of 19.

Visit Childline website Call 0800 1111


Compass Phoenix is a free, confidential health and wellbeing service for children and young people between the ages of 5-19.

Visit Compass Phoenix website Call 0800 008 7452

Recovery College Online

The Recovery College Online provides a range of online educational courses and resources to people with mental illness.

Visit Recovery College Online website

Getting Urgent Help

If you’ve seriously injured yourself or taken an overdose call 999 or get immediate medical advice from NHS 111.

If you are in a crisis and feel like you can’t cope, speak to somebody straight away. Search below for help or see the Urgent Help page for contact details for the North Yorkshire single point of access Crisis Service.

Things you might find useful

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK has a confidential helpline Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm (calls cost 7p per minute plus phone company charges).

Visit Anxiety UK website Call 03444 775 774

Your panic monster

Short film produced by The Mix, helping you understand your panic triggers.

Watch on Youtube

BBC Bitesize: Exam stress

Top tips and videos to help you de-stress, plus practical advice to help you revise and prepare.

Visit BBC Bitesize website

Are you upset by the news?

It’s important to know that you are not the only one and it’s OK to have those feelings. BBC Newsround gives some advice.

Visit BBC Newsround website

Young Minds

For advice on dealing with exam stress.

Visit Young Minds website

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