Anxiety: A Space to Take a Deep Breath
From the beginning of this project I definitely knew that I wanted to create my project around anxiety. I feel like anxiety and depression are too often grouped together, and anxiety seems to get forgotten about because it seems like lesser of a problem. Being someone that comes from a family where everyone suffers from anxiety I know firsthand how serious of an illness it is, and that is exactly why I wanted to focus on it. For me, most of my anxiety stems from school and presentations or tests, and thats what sparked my idea to create a stress free room at school.
As a senior in high school the stress and anxiety of school continues to build up over the years. The pressure of doing well in school and getting into college really starts to become overwhelming, and I have seen it effect lots of students around me. Of course, it is totally okay to feel nervous at times, but when it starts to interfere with your everyday life that is when you know that this nervous feeling is more serious. By creating a safe place for people who are feeling anxious I think I can help to alleviate the anxiety students might experience in the long run.
To start, anxiety is a mental illness that affects 25 % of teens. Even though I know I am helping such a small group of this 25% it makes me feel good to know I have the opportunity to help in some way. My challenge for this project was to address how I could help make a difference in the lives of high school students suffering from anxiety. In my interview with a therapist in my area she told me that there needs to be more resources in schools for students experiencing anxiety. After hearing her say this it really stuck with me, and made me decide to focus on the actual person suffering, and not try to focus my project on informing people of the topic. I genuinely had no idea how I could go about helping other students because I know the topic is something that most people have no desire to talk about.
I came up with the idea to create an anxiety safe space because I realized it was something that I would have loved to have throughout my four years of high school.
Below is a draft of my prototype.
Ideally, this room would be a small room located in a somewhat remote location of my school. Inside there would be bean bags, and comfortable chairs as well as calming music. I also would like to have essential oils diffusing to make the room even more calming. Lavender oil is one of the best oils for people with anxiety because it helps to restore the nervous system and promote inner peace. Ideally, the lighting would be dim to furthermore promote the idea of peacefulness. Dim lights, or no lights help to lessen anxiety because when people are under bright lights it tends to make them feel hot, and when someone feels anxious feeling hot only heightens their anxiety. This would be a distraction free zone and no cellphones or personal belongings would be allowed in the room.
As a way to make sure the room isn’t misused there would be a teacher moderator who would make sure the room was being put to good use. This room would be open all day, so students could go in during their free periods , or different breaks throughout the day.
One main way to help alleviate anxiety is meditation. Specifically, mindfulness meditation is a great way to help those with anxiety. Tons of high powered people use mindfulness meditation as a way to take a pause in their day and to keep them focused on their work. In my stress free room mindfulness meditation would be highly encouraged because of its great benefits.
How might I go about monitoring this room, and making sure people use it for the right reasons and not just to take a nap? I think my best bet would have someone like my school’s counselor to help and monitor the room to make sure it isn’t misused. The next thing I need to do is go talk to an administrator at my school to see if this is even a possibility. I am pretty aware that it is extremely unlikely for the school to give up a room to use as this space, but I think it’s something that would be super beneficial to the students.