SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Although heading back-to-school is an exciting time for most students, this year may cause more anxiety for some.
A new backpack and sneakers may trigger the exciting feelings of heading back-to-school for some students, but for others, it could trigger a lot of emotions and anxiety.
Dr. Barry Sarvet, a child psychiatrist with Baystate Health, said this school year is causing some students to have anxiety.
"The whole environment is full of stress that affects kids, even if it's not direct,” Sarvet noted.
After remote and virtual learning this past school year, Sarvet said they're not sure what to expect.
“This a much bigger transition. They've been out of school for a whole year,” Sarvet explained.
Sarvet suggested parents talk to their children about their feelings and they may also want to introduce them to mindfulness.
“It's our ability to see things clearly, without letting our emotions hijack our experience,” said Dr. Shalini Bahl-Milne, the founder of "Know Your Mind.”
Bahl-Milne works with students, specifically in her community of Amherst, to help them overcome fears and anxiety. She said students, and everyone, can benefit from learning how to control their thoughts.
“Even if it's a small step we take that allows us to feel some control over the situation, that wires the brain, 'Ok, I can do something about it,’” Bahl-Milne explained.
Through her training methods, she said students can transform their anxiety into opportunities for growth by managing their flight-or-fight response to their advantage, shifting from hopelessness to hope by doing simple acts, such as sending kind wishes to others, and transforming their negativity bias by focusing on what's going well in their lives.
“If it's like 'Oh, I'm concerned and I'm afraid I might get the pandemic or COVID if I go into the classroom.’ If that's the fear, then what can I do about it? How can I use this energy to take care of myself, to remember to wear my mask, to do the social distancing?” Bahl-Milne said.