Math anxiety is the fear of solving math problems. Although it’s not a medical condition, it is described as a form of anxiety that occurs in a particular situation. A person with math anxiety might feel anxious while using their math skills, whether in math class, at school, or calculating a grocery bill. For some people, it may only resurface when they cannot use a calculator or write things down. While for others, it may affect them even when they have access to all the tools.

Math anxiety is quite common. About 93% of adults in the U.S. have experienced some degree of math anxiety, and about 17% of U.S. residents have encountered severe forms of this condition.

Symptoms of Math Anxiety

Most symptoms of math anxiety are the same as other types of anxiety, such as:

·       Panic or worry

·       Palpitations

·       Tense muscles

·       Sweaty palms

·       Lightheadedness

Anxiety can make it challenging to think and concentrate, which means that an individual with math anxiety may find it harder to solve math problems. Researchers believe it might be because of anxiety’s effect on working memory (part of the brain that simultaneously retains multiple pieces of information).

Other Signs of Math Anxiety Are:

Avoidance: People with this kind of anxiety avoid situations that require math skills. This results in a lack of confidence since they barely practice the subject.

Low Confidence: Individuals with math anxiety usually believe they suck at math, so they don’t enjoy or embrace it.

Low Grades: Children with math anxiety may face difficulty in math classes and other subjects requiring math, like science, resulting in poor grades.

Managing Math Anxiety

Multiple treatments are available for managing anxiety; using these strategies can help your child cope with math anxiety:

Deep Breathing: Breathing exercises can help a person’s nervous system when they feel stressed or anxious. They can use these exercises during class or exams to relieve their anxiety.

Journaling: Expressive writing before an important test can improve your performance. Research shows that writing down feelings and thoughts can help reduce nervousness. By jotting down your feelings, your worries become external and free space in your working memory, so you can focus on the task instead of stressing out about it.

Get Support: Many tutoring programs cater to math anxiety. The main objective of this tutoring is to improve a student’s math abilities. Even though they don’t usually address how a student feels or thinks about math, students find this additional support helpful.

Practice: It may seem daunting to keep trying, and avoiding math altogether may seem like the perfect solution, but it will only reinforce math anxiety. Instead of avoiding the subject, try practicing in a low-pressure and quiet setting. Or maybe even try math games and apps. Practice makes perfect, always remember.

Math anxiety affects many individuals across the world. It’s nothing to be afraid of. If your child or student suffers from it, try helping them through the abovementioned ways. Get them books that can spark their interest in math, like Shelton Davis’ Rayna & Omar: Learn 2 and 3 Time Tables.