Do you suffer from math anxiety? What exactly is ‘math anxiety’ definition?
It is a feeling of fear or worries before attempting a mathematical sum. An individual suffering from such restlessness can get panic attacks. Even the thought of working with numbers may bring fear to their minds.
According to the researchers, people suffering from math anxiety also overwhelm their working memory. Usually, this section of the human brain helps in reasoning and decision-making. As the memory stops working, calculating sums becomes difficult in their minds. As a result, the brain gathers a misconception that they are poor in math.
What Is Math Anxiety?
Anxiety or fear related to math issues is known as math anxiety. It is a method of characterizing anxiety in a particular situation rather than a specific medical condition.
Individuals with math anxiety could experience panic attacks when they apply their mathematical abilities. Some people may only share it when they cannot use a calculator or write a math test. Others might experience it even though they have access to these resources.
Anxiety in math is a common phenomenon. About 93% of adults in the United States have experienced arithmetic anxiety. The report is based on a study published in 2018.
A severe version of the disease has affected 17% of Americans.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Math Anxiety?
You may relate the symptoms of math anxiety in students with other types of anxiety attacks. Following are some typical variations:
Panic or worry
Muscles getting tensed
Anxiety attacks can affect students’ thinking capacity. It is again the effect of the working memory of the individual. Since the particular memory system holds multiple pieces of information in the brain, the human brain can initially relate to that portion of the memory. But, because of anxiety, the brain may go completely blank.
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What Causes Math Anxiety?
It is time to focus on the causes of math anxiety. Following are some of the common reasons.
Research in 2021 finds that negative school environments and family situations may contribute to arithmetic anxiety. Instructors who portray math as a complex subject or give students the idea that they lack mathematical aptitude may frighten their students. For instance, learners with a fearsome math instructor can begin to dread math class. Thus, it can be one of the math anxiety causes.
Negative Situations In The Classroom
Making blunders in front of classmates can sometimes embarrass or cause inferiority complexes.
Parents or other adults who care for children must help them reduce math anxiety.
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In 2019, a research program conducted a study. It examined 49 papers to evaluate the connection between arithmetic ability and math anxiety. It discovered a strong correlation between anxiousness and poor math performance.
People who believe they struggle with math may feel they are inherently flawed at it. As a result, it adds to anxiety.
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Prejudice And Biases
A belief persists that girls experience more math anxiety than boys. According to researchers, this results from misconceptions about mathematical aptitude.
Some people think boys are just better at it than girls. It could be a false unconscious idea that influences their teaching or parenting. In another way, it could be a conscious belief that they are unaware of their hold on mathematics. Here, both types of biases can affect the behavior of an individual.
How To Get Over Math Anxiety?
Are you wondering about how to overcome math anxiety? It is essential to know the causes first. After that, go with the treatment procedure. The following two steps will help in overcoming math anxiety.
Step 1- Diagnosis
It is crucial to recognize math anxiety immediately. The fifth edition of the book ‘The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders’ does not categorize it as a separate disorder. The text revision was (DSM-5-TR). As a result, individuals who only feel anxious in the circumstances involving math might not fit the group of particular anxiety conditions.
Alternatively, a physician might examine whether a patient satisfies the requirements for a social anxiety disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. People may also choose to seek help without taking this path.
An individual does not need a formal mental health diagnosis to receive help with math anxiety. A physician can suggest therapists or child psychologists who can provide treatment.
Step 2- Therapy For Math Phobia
A combination of counseling and teacher assistance can treat math anxiety.
A doctor or mental health specialist might recommend the following methods:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) instructs patients on how to swap anxious ideas for rational ones.
In exposure treatment, a patient gradually gets exposed to the source of their fear in controllable doses.
Parents and educators can set an example of a friendly approach toward arithmetic.
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Strategies For Reducing Math Anxiety
How to reduce math anxiety? We must note math anxiety is a psychological response to math. However, the reaction obstructs the student’s ability to solve mathematics. Following are some strategies to reduce math anxiety for a student.
Focus On Basic Arithmetic Principles.
The reason why students get math anxiety or stress is unclear. They panic as they already have inbuilt negative thoughts about several mathematical expressions. Thus, the first step is to begin from the root and then learn every arithmetic principle.
Be Aware Of Thoughts, Feelings, And Actions.
The thoughts, feelings, and actions differ from one individual to another. If you have unrealistic thoughts about mathematics, you must realize and fix them immediately. You must convert the idea to a more positive and rational one.
It is one of the thumb rules we have all heard since childhood. As you learn about a specific principle of mathematics, you can solve the sum related to it. But, to master a particular field of mathematics, you need regular practice.
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Students can always seek help if they face trouble solving mathematical problems. The subject teacher is ready to help you all the time. Also, you can seek online assistance from other expert math tutors.
Master A Few Anxiety Management Techniques.
Today, some therapies can reduce your anxiety. Following are some of the anxiety management techniques you can try.
Deep breathing helps you calm your mind and body.
If you feel overwhelmed after engaging your mind too much in a particular math sum, take a break.
Take enough rest and sleep to think and reprogram again.
Practicing mindfulness is another effective way to reduce your anxiety.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Is Math Anxiety A Disorder?
Doctors labeled math anxiety as a chronic disorder. Too much worry and fear cause it. It leads to panic attacks. A student or an individual gets it while solving a mathematical problem or appearing for a math test. However, they also build Math phobia to avoid facing mathematics.
At What Age Does Math Anxiety Start?
Researchers say math anxiety starts quite early. It can be as early as five years of age. It includes anxiety snowballing, which leads to losing focus on the mathematical concept. Also, they avoid math, which can only worsen the situation as the child ages.
How Does Math Anxiety Affect The Brain?
There is evidence that says math anxiety severely disturbs math learning and math test performance. It affects a part of the human brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). It is part of the frontoparietal network.
Is Math Anxiety Real, Or Is It Imagined?
Shreds of evidence say anxiety in maths has a real influence on math performance. However, 93% of adults in the United States report negative emotions when hearing about math assignments and exams. They suffer from symptoms like increased heartbeat, sweat, etc.