Drawing of a boy raising his hand in the classroom

The Anxiety Tree

James Hourihan, Author


I recently had a student in a train the trainer session who had high test anxiety.  I’m sure we have all met someone with higher than average levels of anxiety regarding some aspect of life.  This person’s anxiety level was almost to the point of interfering with their ability to make it through my course.  If you have a friend, acquaintance, or someone you know with anxiety you know what that looks or feels like.  At some point their anxiety begins to affect their ability to interact with the world around them.  

Let’s Talk

This particular student confided to me their test anxiety level before I was able to take any specific action to assist them.  Using the skills we teach, I sat with this person and thanked them for sharing with me.  We talked for a bit about their education experience and how that planted the seed for the anxiety tree that is currently growing in their life.  We sat and talked for only a few minutes, but, in that time I worked at creating a connection with this person.  After that brief conversation this person thanked me for talking with them and understanding.  

Let’s Listen

By the time the class completed their last test, this student, who had finished every test either last or next to last, was done before half the group had finished.  Not only that, but their work was clearer and more concise on the last test, than it was on the earlier tests.  In talking with this student later, they told me that conversation I had with them relaxed them and helped them with the last test.  They thanked me for taking the time to talk with them, understand their perspective, and let them know that I thought they would be OK.  

Trim the Tree

OK, so that is one example of one student on a train the trainer course.  How does that relate to life in general?  How many people do we encounter who are carrying around their own ‘anxiety tree’?  Seeds of these trees have frequently been planted long before we meet them.  By the time we encounter them the seeds have taken a deep root.  By taking the time to talk with the person and create a positive relationship we are doing the equivalent of a little tree trimming.  We can help the person to see around, or through, part of their shrubbery to see that there are people around them who care.  

Positive Healthy Relationships

Think about creating that positive healthy relationship with people around us.  How does that make them feel?  What does that relationship do to the quality of their day/week/life?  If we are able to take a basic concept like always work on building a positive and healthy relationship with everyone we encounter and actually put it into practice, look at the effect we could have on the world around us.  

Today’s guest blog is by Dr.Dale Shannon who has a Ph.D. in Organisational Communication. He is also a Faculty Member of Mandt Training Systems.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive our helpful learning resources for free

Further Reading From Timian