Executive Function Strategies Blog

The Anxious, Stressed High School Student: An Executive Function Link

Adults don’t always think of high school as the “real world,” but for students navigating that stage of life, the stress is entirely real. The academic obligations start to get more challenging and the social expectations feel more intense — just when students are beginning to add college and career decisions into the mix that will affect the rest of their lives.

While that is a lot to handle, some of that stress can be mitigated with changes to the way that they manage their demands. The two students described below illustrate the connection between stress (and the anxious feelings that come with it) and executive functioning - and how learning more effective executive functioning techniques can bring down the anxiousness and increase their success.



The Anxious College Student: An Executive Function Connection

College students have plenty of fuel for anxiety. They’re in a social and academic environment that’s significantly different than any that they’re used to. They’re often trying to balance course work with a job - in addition to social and family obligations. And they’re doing all this while also trying to chart out a plan for their entire future (and trying not to think too hard about all the student loans they’ll need to repay upon graduation). While that is a lot to handle, some of that anxiety can be mitigated with upgrades to the way that they manage their demands, or their Executive Functioning. The two students you’ll be reading about show the connection between anxiety and Executive Function - and how learning more effective self-management techniques can help to lighten the emotional load.



How to Tell the Difference Between Shyness and Social Anxiety

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Ari Fox, LCSW-R, of CopeWithSchoolNYC.com, where a version of this article was published. Please read more about Ari below.

"He's just a shy boy!" 

"She'll outgrow her clinginess."

When is a child showing typical degrees of shyness and when does it become more concerning? It can be easy for parents to overlook social anxiety in their child because they think the child is just shy or reserved. Yet social anxiety is much more serious than shyness. And while they can look similar, it’s important to understand the signs and know what you can do to help your child interact confidently and build healthy relationships.