When we connect relationally with youth, we get a first row seat to some of the anxiety that fills their lives.  By being equipped to have a conversation with youth you can really help them get the help them overcome fears.

Ask youth some of these questions to process their anxiety:

When do you feel anxious? What happens and what do you feel?

Do you notice any patterns of triggers that make you anxious?

When you are most anxious, how does that impact your mood, activities and relationships?

Do you have any coping strategies for your anxiety? When does the feeling of anxiousness subside?

If you could handle your anxiety better, what do you think your life would look like?

Through these questions you can help youth to do a variety of things. You can start to watch out for triggers in their lives, and develop strategies to avoid them. Help youth to challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs by being a supportive person for them, give them reassurance about their strengths and abilities. Be patient, dealing with fears and anxiety can be a process. Make sure to connect with parents and have youth talk to them about their anxiety. Encourage youth to see a licensed therapist if you see signs of extreme and irrational worry, physical tension (like unexplained headaches) and if you notice an excessive need for reassurance during particular moments.

Stay informed about what anxiety looks like for youth, examine your programs for potential triggers (like calling up the new kid to the front), and help connect them to community resources if appropriate.

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