What to do when I’m worried, scared or nervous

There’s lots we can do to help ourselves calm down if we feel scared or anxious.

Fear and anxiety

Fear is a normal and healthy emotion – although it’s not very pleasant. It often has physical signs like feeling sick, tense, shaking, sweating, or getting butterflies in the stomach. If we’re scared or frightened because we’re in real danger, we need to respect that fear and act on it (i.e. run away from the angry tiger that is chasing us and shout for help).

Anxiety (feeling worried or nervous) is generally fear in the wrong place. We can feel anxious about something that hasn’t happened, might not happen … or something that isn’t happening at the moment (like messing up a test or a date; or people being mean to us).
Think of it like a see-saw: With fear, our response to a threat is balanced and in proportion to a real threat; with anxiety, we are weighed down and more fearful than is necessary.

What can I do?

If you feel anxious, there are many things you can do to help yourself feel better:

Say it: Talk to someone you trust about how you feel: it usually helps to get things out. They may be able to help you work out a good plan for dealing with your anxiety or its root cause.
Services like Kidsline, What’s Up, or Youthline also offer to listen and support you.

Breathe: Breathe in for 3-5 sec, out for 3-5 sec. Keep on until you feel calmer. Some people like to draw the sides of an imaginary square or a star while they are doing this. It’s a great thing to do while you’re waiting to make that speech in class, or sing solo at assembly.

5,4,3,2,1 Grounding: Think of five things you can see, four you can touch or feel, three you can hear, two you can smell and one you can taste. This lets your upstairs brain get back in control. It’s a really good thing to try after you’ve had a fright when you need to calm down.

Relax: Your anxious body is like a stack of stiff raw spaghetti. Lie down, and working your way up from your toes let it relax and become floppy like cooked spaghetti. Maybe try this if you can’t sleep at night because you’re all worked up over something.

Distractions and apps: We can use activities to take our mind off things (“distract ourselves”). Try telling yourself jokes, drawing stars, reciting times tables, or listing all the characters in your favourite story as you wait at the dentist. There are also lots of apps available to help with anxiety that work by either distracting or calming us.

Exercise: Works as a distraction and also to release emotions and tense muscles. Walk, swim, dance … do yoga or stretches. It will all help.

Calming jars, and bottles: Put glitter, sequins, beads, food colouring, water and maybe hair gel or clear glue or in a bottle or jar and screw the lid tight. Shake it and imagine that’s how your jumbled thoughts look when you’re anxious. Watch how everything settles after a few minutes if it stays still. Try shaking your jar when you’re upset, and calm down as it does.

Happy place: Find one in your head – or in real life – and go there when you need to.


 “Coping Skills Spotlight: 5,4,3,2,1 Grounding Technique”. Retrieved from: https://copingskillsforkids.com/blog/2016/4/27/coping-skill-spotlight-5-4-3-2-1-grounding-technique 11 December 2017.

Mental Wellness Counselling.com, 14 December 2017. “How to[HO4]  Make a Glitter Jar for Meditation”. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMUrRnj68wI 13 December 2017.

The Brain from Top to Bottom, McGill University, nd. “Managing Stress”. Retrieved from: http://thebrain.mcgill.ca/flash/capsules/outil_jaune02.html 12 December 2017.

Women and Children’s Health Network, 14 April 2016. “Stress – Learning to Relax”. Retrieved from: http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=287&id=1738 11 December 2017.

Useful links

“What is Resilience?”, “Loving Ourselves”, “Handling our Feelings”, “What are Feelings?”, “Stress”, and “Managing our Functions ” Life Education Factsheets.

“Calm Down and Release the Amygdala[HO6] ”, 16 January 2013. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zs559guIGDo 12 December 2017.

PreschoolInspiration .com., 13 November 2014. “Six ways to make a Calm Down Jar”. Retrieved from: https://preschoolinspirations.com/6-ways-to-make-a-calm-down-jar/ 13 December 2017.

Kidsline http://www.kidsline.org.nz/Home_312.aspx

Youthline https://www.youthline.co.nz/contact-us/

What’s Up? http://www.whatsup.co.nz

1. Who is the main person or group of people in this news article?

2. What was the key event from the news article?

3. Where did this event take place?

4. When did this event take place?

1. Find a quote from the main person in this news article?

2. In your own words describe what happened in this news article.

3. Find out where this event took place and include some information about this place.

4. Tell us when this event happened and explain what might happen in the future.

5. Explain in your own words why this event took place.

Current Events Web
Find the Who, What, Where, When, How and Why in the article to complete this worksheet.

I Think Because
Share what you think about the article and explain why.

My Questions
Write a question map about questions that you have after reading the article.

News Review
Give the news article you have read a review

Write what you KNOW about the topic in the article, what you would LIKE to find out and then what you have LEARNT.

Newspaper Bingo
Play newspaper bingo. Find a number of different articles to complete the grid.

Questions and Answers
Write a set of questions and then their answers after reading the article.

The Big Idea
Find the big idea by highlighting the 5 W’s and 1 H. then select 25 of key words associated with the article.

Word Investigation
Vocabulary exercise where students find key words within the article.

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4 months ago

bruh it’s scared why can it be nervous well not in my world

13 days ago

Yeah it seems more for adults



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