What to do if you are worried about something

Everybody worries, it’s perfectly normal, parents worry, teachers worry, your classmates worry and sometimes you will worry too. The best thing to do with a worry is to DEAL WITH IT – but how? Whether your worries are big or small, you can take these 3 steps:

  • Try to work out what you're worried about and tell a trusted adult.
  • Think about ideas that might make the situation better.
  • Ask for help.

1. Work it out.

Sometimes, you will know exactly what you're worried about. These are the easiest worries to deal with, you just tell a trusted adult – this might be a parent or a teacher for example and you TELL.  It really is that easy!  Just TELL and the trusted adult will help to sort it out.  Worries hate it when you bring them out in the light of day, often they just go away on their own but sometimes they need a bit of a push from a trusted adult.

Other times, you might not know exactly what the worry is, you just know you’re having problems.  For example it might be that you’re worried about a teacher who seems mean. But maybe what's really bothering you is that you're having trouble with a particular subject or time of day.  If you get some help with that subject, or support at that time of day the teacher may not seem so mean, after all.  Again to get this sorted you’ve got to TELL.  You could tell a trusted adult, a parent, another teacher, a teaching assistant, the Headteacher, Mrs Farmer,… the list is endless after all you’re in a school and everyone is pretty good at helping you with subjects and troublesome times of day so TELL.

Some problems, like family problems, or problems with friendship groups, can be quite big and complex because they involve lots of little parts and other people, which makes it hard to decide on exactly what it is that’s causing the problem.  Talking it through with a trusted adult can help narrow things down so you can focus on the actual problem - or at least the main part of it.  Again the first step is to TELL and let an adult help you.  Grown-ups struggle with these problems in their own lives too because relationships with others are not always easy and take work – but they can be sorted and improved.

What if you can’t work out what the problem is?  Then jump to step 2.

2. Think of ideas to make it better.

This is a really important step, because you know that some things will make things worse and you really don’t want that to happen, so focus on finding good solutions and making positive choices. There is almost always something you can do to help you feel less worried. Sitting there worrying is no fun and it won't solve your problem. But being proactive, not only can you find a solution , but you will have the opportunity to show others what a positive and sensible person you can be.  These are really important personal qualities, and people notice them, it’s not easy and you will need to work at it.

Friendships can be a BIG worry sometimes, for example if you’ve had a argument with a friend, you might write down all the actions you could take — from writing the friend a nice note reminding them that you are actually friends, you usually get on really well and would like to make up and move on with your friendship together, or inviting him or her over for a play date, or inviting them to join you for a game in the playground.  Sometimes when you are calm you might think, actually this problem was caused as a result of my actions, words or behaviour and if I really want to make things better I need to be the bigger person and apologise.  It may be that your friend is the one who needs to make the apology to you, if this is the case you need to give them the opportunity to say sorry by being calm and approachable because they might be worried about how you will react to them if they have caused you upset.

What if you can’t think of ideas to make the situation better?  Then jump to step 3.

3. Ask for help.

The funny thing about worry is it often makes you feel lonely too.   That’s because worries love hiding on their own in the little dark corners of your mind away from people who will tackle them.  You know what you’ve got to do…you’ve got to ask for help so your worries can be addressed.  Now the worry inside your head might be saying things to you like …. "Why should I bother to tell? He/she can't do anything about it."   That’s because that really is all your worry has left to cling on to – trying to make you doubt yourself. You’ve got to be strong, don’t listen to it no matter how loud it shouts!  Ask for help because….:

  • You don't actually know that no one can help until you share your worry.
  • Just by telling someone what's bothering you can make you feel a little better.

As soon as you tell, the worry is worried because it knows that who ever you told parent, teacher, sister, brother, friend, your friend's mum, Mrs Farmer, the Headteacher, a relative etc will be busy thinking of ways to help you and get rid of the worry.  

A Final Word About Worry

Did you know worry is not all bad? If you weren't worried (at least a little) about that spelling test, you might not study for it. And if you weren't worried about getting sunburned, you might not wear your sunscreen.  These worries are little ones and you can sort them by doing the right thing.  Be positive and take charge of your worry and do not let it take charge of you.

If after reading all of this you are still worried about your worry because either you don’t have a trusted adult, your friends can’t help you by finding one of their trusted adults, or you just can’t face talking to someone you know about your worry, call Childline on 0800 1111, someone is there 24 hours a day, they are very experienced and they can help you with even the biggest worries.