With thousands of pupils across England, Northern Ireland and Wales having started their GCSE exams, everyone knows this is a stressful and anxious time for teenagers and parents alike. Add to that the normal pressures of modern life which, a survey shows, has nearly three in 10 parents admitting they left the house without seeing their children at least once a week, it is little wonder the younger generation is stressed and anxious.
The BBC reported that some 27% of 1,207 parents surveyed for the British Heart Foundation said they were too busy, in an average day, to spend any time with their children and one in 10 said the last time they spent quality time with their family was over a year ago. The charity said the ‘daily grind’ was driving families apart.
Although work appears to be the biggest obstacle to family time for parents, some 42% were concerned that social media was distracting their children from quality family time when at home.
The National Council for Hypnotherapy says: “We live in a society where great demands and responsibilities are placed on us. Today, about one in seven people are suffering from stress or anxiety at any one time in the UK.And while some people manage, more and more people are showing signs of over-anxiety, which leads to stress, which can make a significant impact on the quality of life and well being.”
The NCH, which has almost 2,000 highly trained and qualified therapists across the UK on its books, says clinical hypnotherapy has a high success rate in treating people who suffer from stress, anxiety and other such issues.
“Anxiety is a fear or concern that is exaggerated, and is out of proportion to the situation, although sometimes it may not feel like this. The symptoms of anxiety correlate with the stress response or ‘fight-or-flight’. This is primal response that protects you against threats in your environment – an adrenaline response that causes your heart to beat faster, pumping oxygen around your body to those parts that need it to protect you. You may feel as if you are on high alert as well, unable to calm down or relax, your mind may race unable to focus or quieten down.”
The NCH says it’s a normal part of the human protection system to experience this fight-or-flight response – but only when there is real and present danger. To experience prolonged flight-or-flight creates feelings of anxiety.
This can happen during exam times, for instance, and the charity Anxiety UK says people often deal with exam stress in many unhelpful ways, such as ignoring the problem, not revising because they think that they will do badly anyway and missing exams due to the anxiety that they are feeling.
While there are obvious ways to counter exam stress – like proper sleep patterns, eating correctly, and not putting pressure on the student, the BBC says stress, anxiety and late-night cramming can all have a negative effect.
Lisa Artis from the Sleep Council told the BBC that a good night’s sleep was more beneficial than doing last-minute revision into the early hours.
“Have a good routine before bed. Relaxing properly will help sleep when you’re stressed or anxious. Avoid screen time – including television – and get off social media,” she said.
The NCH agrees and says a side effect of anxiety is insomnia but people who have been treated by a therapist often find that they are sleeping much better and as a result are able to work more effectively.
“After sessions with a hypnotherapist you may feel more confident; more relaxed in situations that have previously challenged you. Many people say that they are calmer and that they have more clarity of thought – able to make decisions more easily,” says the NCH.