Giftedness and Anxiety: Part 3

By Erin Peace, LCSW, RPT: ACE Academy School Counselor

Date: February 5, 2022

Parts 1 and 2

In Part 1 of this blog series on giftedness and anxiety, we explored the definition of anxiety as well as the way it manifests between the interrelation of thoughts, emotions/body sensations, and behavior. Part 2 included formation on how to help your gifted student manage the physical sensation of anxiety through progress muscle relaxation and managing sugar/caffeine intake. In Part 3, we will review ways to help your student identify their anxious thoughts.

Anxious Thoughts Overview

When we experience anxiety, we tend to think the following thoughts: 1) The worst case scenario will happen; and 2) I will not be able to handle the situation. Although we can’t control when these thoughts arise, we can be mindful of the situations that trigger them; we can also control how we bring awareness of these thoughts and how we respond to them.

Mindfulness and Awareness

Mindfulness is the nonjudgmental awareness of what is happening in the present moment, and we can help our students use this tool to identify their thoughts and emotions. If a student can name that they are having a “worry thought” or an “anxious thought”, then we can help our students accept that the thought is present while also challenging the content of the thought. Students can practice mindfulness in a variety of ways, and this article includes multiple activities that parents can use to help their children practice this concept. I practice mindfulness with students often, as we can practice it anytime, and anywhere, including an activity as simple as brushing our teeth.

After students have a grasp of using mindfulness, I also recommend that students track their anxious thoughts, along with what occurred right before experiencing the anxious thought. I have provided an extreme example of this below (although it is extreme, I have heard this thought many times from gifted students!):

Thought Log

I am providing a sample thought log below; encourage your student to fill it out for a week to gather more data. By empowering your student to identify their triggers, you can then help them be proactive about reducing their anxiety.