Picture of Gerard Atkin
by Gerard Atkin - Wednesday, 17 March 2021, 8:41 AM

Thank you to Prefect Levi Timms who spoke about anxiety at the Prefect's Assembly this morning.

"Feeling nervous before an important game, as you head out to the crease to bat, line up the ball for a crucial penalty or prepare to sit an important examination is natural.  That nervousness is a form of anxiety.  It is part of your body’s natural response to stress.  This nervousness, anxiety and stress alert us to a threat.  These feelings have been responsible for keeping us alive for most of human history, when the world around us was a much more dangerous place.

Fortunately, today, there are few situations in which our safety is really at risk.  However, our brains and our nervous system have not managed to evolve quickly enough to keep pace with the much safer lives we live today.

While we do not enjoy this nervousness, most of us learn to cope and develop strategies to ‘get through it.’

However, for some people, the levels of anxiety can be much higher and mean that some of the daily tasks that we take for granted – such as leaving the house and coming to school – can be significant challenges.

Dr. Sarb Johal, who has advised the New Zealand government on their Covid response, explains:

“Human beings are creatures of habit.  We like predictability and routine, so our everyday lives tend to follow a familiar pattern.

In ‘normal’ times , this predictability helps most of us to navigate everyday life on a fairly even keel.  With our neat weekly schedules in place, we usually know what’s happening next, so we tend not to worry too much about what’s around the corner.  This sense of continuity gives meaning to our lives and allows us to believe that the world is a safe, stable and generally positive place – or at least, not a place that is likely to cause us harm.

The trouble is, those ‘normal times’ seemed to evapourate somewhere around March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic began rapidly spreading around the globe.

Uncertainty is recognised as a leading cause of worry, anxiety and stress.  When we don’t know what’s coming next, we feel vulnerable and this puts us on edge.”

There are some boys in our brotherhood who suffer from severe levels of anxiety, levels that can make daily life challenging.

Some of these boys have been working with our Guidance Counsellors and would like to establish a group where students who are struggling with anxiety can work together to support each other.

A link is going to be placed on the front page of Stratus.  If you believe that you might benefit from working with a small group of students who are experiencing similar challenges with anxiety, please complete the form.  The information you submit will only be seen by our Guidance Counsellors and they will make contact with you regarding the process from there."

Click here to register with the PNBHS Guidance Counsellors.