Any anxiety is a problem, but when you have maths anxiety life just does not add up. In reality it is not uncommon. It can be an extremely difficult problem to deal with. The difficult feelings of near panic when faced with a maths problem are hard to deal with. If the mind goes blank it can be really depressing. It can and does have a serious impact on many peoples’ lives.
The difficulty arises partially as a result of the cultures that we live in. Many people connect cleverness at maths with some sort of weird person. Only odd people like scientists, mathematicians, scientists like maths, in fact all those people who it is generally considered need to get a life!
If you suffer from maths anxiety and it interferes with your life, what is needed is a strategy to both cope with and deal with the problem before it arises. First of all it is important not to try and hide the anxiety or try to deny it. Be assured that it will not go away if you do that, if anything it will get worse. Face it head on and learn to deal with it. The best way forwards is to try and understand why the anxiety exists, look back into your past and try and discover if there was a focal point that might have been responsible for the way you feel now. If it helps commit all your memories to paper as well as how you feel when one of the anxiety attacks comes on, but don’t be afraid to talk about it with someone you really trust and get them to respond with their own feelings.
If the anxiety is a problem in your working life you need, when the problem comes up, to relax and think about it. Do not allow yourself to give in to the voice that says, “I can’t do it.” If it is difficult, move on to something else and come back to the original problem a little later, you will be surprised at how your mind would have subconsciously dwelt upon the problem and made it a little easier to cope with. Never be tempted to forget about the problem.
Another way to address the problem is to set yourself a maths-learning task that you can do in the privacy of your own home. An hour or so a week will make a lot of difference. Quicker than you think the problem will begin to disappear. If a fixed structure works for you then enrol in a home study course in maths. This will enable you to have examples to work through, and they will be there to go back too if you don’t understand something.
Learning maths in this way may sound strange, especially if you are in a job that you think does not require any mathematical skills, or you are a house person. But this is far from the truth. Maths is about calculation and solving equations. If your boss says to you “We have 200 widgets and need to fit them in the back of the firm’s van.” He/she is asking for a calculation. If you are at home and thinking, “I have seven people for dinner, how much food do I need to get to feed them all,” this is an equation. A good knowledge of maths will make even the most simple task a lot easier and, believe me, it will reduce the stress and anxiety that can be associated with maths.
It all adds up if you are careful.