# Why do people get so anxious about math? – Orly Rubinsten

When French mathematician Laurent Schwartz

was in high school, he started to worry that he wasn’t

smart enough to solve math problems. Maybe you know a similar feeling. You sit down to take a math test, and you feel your heart beat faster and your palms start to sweat. You get butterflies in your stomach,

and you can’t concentrate. This phenomenon is called math anxiety, and if it happens to you,

you’re not alone. Researchers think about 20%

of the population suffers from it. Some psychologists even consider it

a diagnosable condition. But having mathematical anxiety doesn’t

necessarily mean you’re bad at math – not even close. Laurent Schwartz went on to win

the Fields Medal, the highest award in mathematics. People might think that they’re anxious

about math because they’re bad at it, but it’s often the other way around. They’re doing poorly in math

because they’re anxious about it. Some psychologists think that’s because math anxiety decreases

a cognitive resource called working memory. That’s the short-term memory system that helps you organize the information

you need to complete a task. Worrying about being able to solve

math problems, or not doing well on a test, eats up working memory, leaving less of it available to tackle

the math itself. People can suddenly struggle

with even basic math skills, like arithmetic,

that they’ve otherwise mastered. Academic anxiety certainly

isn’t limited to math, but it does seem to happen much

more frequently, and cause more harm

in that subject. So why would that be? Researchers aren’t yet sure, but some studies suggest that the way children are exposed

to math by their parents and teachers play a large part. If parents talk about math like

something challenging and unfamiliar, children can internalize that. Teachers with math anxiety are also

likely to spread it to their students. Pressure to solve problems quickly

dials up stress even more. And in some cultures, being good

at math is a sign of being smart in general. When the stakes are that high, it’s not surprising

that students are anxious. Even Maryam Mirzakhani,

an influential mathematician who was the first woman to win

the Fields Medal, felt unconfident and lost interest

in mathematics because her math teacher in middle school

didn’t think she was talented. So if you experience mathematical anxiety, what can you do? Relaxation techniques,

like short breathing exercises, have improved test performance

in students with math anxiety. Writing down your worries can also help. This strategy may give you a chance

to reevaluate a stressful experience, freeing up working memory. And if you have the chance, physical activity, like a brisk walk,

deepens breathing and helps relieve muscle tension, preventing anxiety from building. You can also use your knowledge

about the brain to change your mindset. The brain is flexible, and the areas involved in math skills

can always grow and develop. This is a psychological principle

called the growth mindset. Thinking of yourself as someone

who can grow and improve can actually help you grow and improve. If you’re a teacher

or parent of young children, try being playful with math

and focusing on the creative aspects. That can build the numerical skills that help students approach math

with confidence later on. Importantly, you should give children

the time and space to work through their answers. And if you’re an administrator, make sure your teachers

have the positive attitudes and mathematical confidence necessary to inspire confidence

in all of their students. Also, don’t let anyone spread the myth that boys are innately

better than girls at math. That is completely false. If you experience math anxiety, it may not help to just know

that math anxiety exists. Or perhaps it’s reassuring to put

a name to the problem. Regardless, if you take a look

around yourself, the odds are good that you’ll see someone

experiencing the same thing as you. Just remember that the anxiety is not

a reflection of your ability, but it is something you can conquer

with time and awareness.

I'm here for the comments. You better have me some good jokes down there! ?

thank you i do maths a levels and i needed to hear this x

Math is so interesting if taught right. Personally, I believe it is one of those fun subjects that you can teach to students without putting pressure on them. Anyways, every student is different, sometimes a good challenge can help a student improve but sometimes it hust degrades their self confidence. I agree, teachers should be more careful in the amount of pressure they are putting on young minds especialy for a subject like math.

I used to hate math and I used to prefer burning the whole world istead of studying math..now ..somehow..math is runnig in my veins ..math is not difficult ..math = practise ….but you know school and its programs are the main problem..

It’s not a myth lady.

watching this video got me anxious ?

Im getting anxious now all of a sudden by just watching this vid

I got anxiety because there is no quote in the beginning of the video?

Creative-Affective method schools are the one true way

My math teachers never knew that by embarrassing me for not knowing something, they were making it worse for me to focus and take in what they were saying. So i’d get more embarrassed then by the 5th time it’s explained to me it was like all my brain knew how to do was process humiliation.

This explains my condition so much!

I came here because I thought I had this, but I think it isn’t really the same thing. When someone starts talking to me about maths, it’s like my brain disconnects and I really CAN’T see what they’re talking about. Like they say words but I don’t hear them, it’s like I’m underwater. I try so hard to understand what they say but they have to talk slowly and let a few seconds between their sentences to let my brain process it. Idk I guess I just need a LOT of time to visualize it? But usually in class or when talking about it people just go so fast and I can’t keep up and sometimes I even start to cry because they’re asking me to do things my brain doesn’t understand.

I noticed it’s the same thing as when I listen to a foreign language; for example I’m learning korean and it’s exactly the same. When I listen to people talking in korean I have to focus really hard to understand words and their meaning. It’s the same thing when people talk in "mathematic language". That’s the best analogy I could find.

I have a big math test tomorrow, and i am really scared. help me 🙁

Maths was my favorite subject.

Until I met Calculus.

no. the fault is created by taking every new moment too fast.

Math is my favorite subject okay so I don’t need to worry

This video gave me more anxiety about math

I'm the second smartest student in class and I'm so bad at math , and I always cried because I cannot do anything to help my math but sometimes i got a good grade in math sometimes not…

When my teacher calling us one by one i my heart beat fast because in my mind if I answer the question /problem I think that my classmate should laugh at me?so when my teacher written a problem I not look at him.

Liked that they brought up teachers because they are the reason I have math anxiety today when I never did before 🙁

You had me untill you dropped the "men are better at stem than women is a myth" myth

I dont get stresed that often and yea i have goten stressed but barly

Fortunately, i've found so much great and warm math teachers. Like, you know, we can almost discuss about the subject i don't understand yet and the teacher would gladly teach me–while he also telling me some nice jokes ahahah ??

Math teacher: (walk in class) which happen to be detention teacher.. write a difficult math questions on board…

Math teacher: who want to answer the questions?

Me: have panic attack started to look at the ground

Math teacher: (point at me)

Me:(insert sad songs)

Many years ago I borrowed a hundred bucks from Benny The Mule. I've been paying him back twenty bucks a week since then and I still owe him $450. So in college, I decided to face my fear of math head-on going into Accounting 101. Yeah, RIGHT. Fifteen minutes into the first lesson I was sweatin' heavier than Al Sharpton at a 'Klan rally. So I forged right ahead anyway and wound up earning myself a "B" in the course after all was said and done.

Ty for making me feel better about my 6 over 25 quiz

I'm fine with factorization,HCF, LCM,geometry,EUCLID'S DIVISION,etc but as soon as the chapter gets involved with a, b, x, y, z … As soon as those alphabets start getting inside of a chapter in no time I find myself just sitting in the classroom with 49 other students staring at the whiteboard… Understanding nothing…. I hope I can pass my finals or I'm commiting suicide ….

The problem with advanced Math is that its really unnecessary for the average person. Math is a tool, not a measure of intelligence. If you want to launch a rocket, calculus will help you. If you want to build a house, arithmetic is more than enough.

I see others as math doers.

I can't get any answer right. That's pretty much the reason I have maths anxiety….

I just cant do math I've been doing revision so much and it's still difficult for me I have an exam tomorrow and I'm honestly not expecting to pass

Oh, easy. Cuz it's hard for most people

I hate math ohmygosh

MATH= Mental Abuse To Human lol

Its allways a far behind at maths. Why other subjects im good but not maths?

Its how fast they require test takers to finish tests. Its all about speed. I'm not positive schools are interested in actually teaching math. Its all about how fast you can do it. Nothing else matters. Can't do math quickly, get anxious, do worse, get upset, frustrated, can't think, its a spiral.

I feel like this everytime i do a test

Thanks

I am carrying out research on the effects on maths anxiety on decision making for my MSc Psychology project I would be VERY grateful if you could click on the click and complete my study, so we can hopefully gain some insight!

https://essex.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cAcsDaeKSn0CiJD?fbclid=IwAR1GTQs_8OVQ8b5RgnKQVz-bg9Klao7k7h1rUwefn2zm1h__9k4ElZgcOEc ONLY 18+ individuals please!

Mental

Abuse

Towards

Humans??

My favorite video

Math teacher?ask a question

When we cannot answer ?

It's like Do Or die?

I cried watching this lmao aaah its the sense of being rushed that gets to me

Im anxious about math because..

My parents Will Punish me Because I'm not smart at math

THEY FRIKEN FORCED ME

And they got angry while teaching me..

i just Cant…focus,BECAUSE THEY ARE MAD WHILE TEACHING ME3 words for my parents and math if you see this

stop teaching math.Imagine being called terrible at maths by a middle school teacher only to win the highest award in it lmaoo

If only maths did not have alphabets…………….

My year 10 maths teacher made me really hate maths

i get anxious even hearing the word "math" ?

I can actually do math when im budgeting my allowance. But in class i can't even do simple math.?

For me, I love certain areas in math (functions, calculus, some geometry), yet I get anxious about those areas, and constantly self-deprecate myself and my “lack of” ability. To counter this during an exam, I’ve tried humming songs I love in my head, I like some nice 70s soft rock so I’ll be humming like America or Player or something, and that makes me feel like I’m at home, solving problems in a familiar, stress free environment. I also try get a lot of sleep before a math exam and I don’t study for it much the night before, honestly I don’t study much at all but I try to understand the concept of how and why a formula works rather than simply memorising it and following my teacher blindly. I recommend trying out a question yourself before the teacher solves it, and sometimes try deviating from using the formula, make your own method that works consistently as it’ll increase your understanding. But yea, math is fun, but if it’s not, try changing your perspective and shift your mindset off of marks and try to enjoy the logic behind why things work.

Okay I dont think I have Aniexty It started this year before I was so happy but now im terrible at math

Math is easy when you follow the steps

I try to listen to the teacher but she just doesn’t explain it in a way I can understand I can do addition and subtraction but multiplication,division,decimals,fractions are very hard for me my dad works with math all the time (surveyor) and sometimes he will come in my school room (I’m homeschooled) and if I’m doing math I would have to switch to a different subject so he wouldn’t start with the “YOu shoUld kNow thIs stUFF” “itS noT thAt hArd” and then we he explains it it becomes even harder to understand I used one of those math dvds things where it has all these lessons and it made math fun and I loved it it also explained how to do the problem in a step by step way I think if I can get those dvds. back it will help me improve a lot

Does anyone just cry cause your frustrated with math hw

im not axious if i do good or not im anxious if i will get a life in the future. Well it might be the same thing

Well my teacher think that i am not good at math thats why she pick other representative for math and when im at 8th grade i show how i beat those shits

I’d not be anxious about those questions on the thumbnail.

me:

*asks my math teacher a question I don't understand*teacher:

*tells me to stand up and scolds at me*Told the teacher while he was doing a question,

"MR. BOB, WHEN WHERE AND WHY WOULD I NEED THIS FOR MY DAILY LIFE!?"

He just told his history on how he got from where he is, and what his parents did to him, and how I should be grateful for what I am. Wasted 34 minutes of Math.

Worth it. ?

I hate math 🙁

Easier to realize than to struggle with…

I did a preview of my SATs test. Got 5/40. I want to kill myself.

Schools: dont be worried 😀

Also schools: aight u lil milfs today we are testing for sats.

This is me with programming

Teacher: Solve this problem and by 5 MINUTES we will check

my classmates:

begins to solveAfter 2 mins

Teacher: did someone get the answer yet?

My other classmate: the answer is 240 papers

Me: HOW U SOLVE THAT FAST???!

When I was in elementary I was a math genius but when calculus, physics, and geometry are introduced, I started to hate math?

Today my math teacher made me really sad bc the questions that I asked was so basic and easy.. ???? like you are there for a reason and I'm paying you for that but you still have the courage to make fun of me for asking easy questions you are There for THAT like it's not a favor

I'm actually pretty good at Maths, but whenever I try to solve something new for me, I get really stressed and start crying. :,(

i’m in algebra n i’m in 7th grade atm. algebra is a 9th grade class but i’m takin it bc my school thinks i’m smart enough. the problem is that i don’t understand algebra, simply bc of the teacher. now i can’t tell anyone how to do their job, but my algebra teacher makes u go up to the board. when u go up to the board in front of everyone, u have to get it right or he will yell at you n embarrass u. i’m an introvert n i jus simply prefer to learn from visuals from far n not going up to the board. he dosent care of u raised ur hand or not. i get anxiety when i go up there. i turn red n start shaking bc das jus how i am. the only reason i sorta understand algebra is bc when i get home my grandma takes time out of her day to explain to me n teach me the lesson. das how i’ve learned bc i jus cant learn in a class where i’m not focused on learning but instead i’m focused on who he’s gonna call up to the board. i’m literally scared of that class. i despise algebra. ?

Sometimes i feel like my teacher, because kids in my class are always screaming and talking at the same time, its very stressing, and i cant concentrate at all, Also they dont pay attention to the teacher

But how to stop math anxiety i have that

Maths is so hard for me.

How to have a mental breakdown. You simply try to do a geometry problem and voila! you will have tears going down your face faster than you can say pythagorean theorum

everybody gangsta until algebra comesYo teach, I’m still waiting for that day that I will actually use x² + y +6 [(x + 2y ² = a-z] + 4x ³ + (- 2z = 6. 4) + 14y – 9Z ³= k in real life.

For me, it's because my old math teacher yelled at me when I forgot my homework, or I didn't understand a question. Like Jesus Christ ma'am maybe if you HELPED A 9 YEAR OLD DO MATH, I would be good at it.

I love math, physics and Chemistry and social studies I struggle so much in language arts

when this video is an assignment

hates math even moreSchool.

I just got 40 out of 80 for maths

I was so scared that my grandma will scold me

my anxiety is that big that i forgot how much is 20-17

I feel like I'm moving to a depressing lvl because I have a brother who is super dupper great at math and etc of others similar, and I'm not I'm in a year that i must have mastered The math I have no time to start over this ia my last school year and I don't feel anxious I feel like there's no more go live in this world cuz you must learn math and others to get a descent job

I always cry when math is happening, I just give up half way.

I think all the tips are well-intentioned, but they do little to address the underlying cause which is the lack of ability to learn math.

For one, I think it's a good idea to start learning how higher math works with a learning guide (like this one mathvault.ca/10-commandments). Once one know how to learn math on their own, the cause of math anxiety would then be addressed.

I have a math exam tomorrow, wish me luck.

I had math anxiety to?.

Because when i go to sleep i feel im gonna cry for being bad at math.

(I had i little story for you)

Past few months ago at math class, My math teacher called me to answer the problem on the board, then she tells me to explain it. I was nervous that couldn't answer cause my answer is wrong, i was just standing there silent. Then my math teacher get mad at me from a wrong answer and not saying anything. At home(night time) when i go to bed, i just couldn't help but cry by embarrassed and being guilty, especially being weak at math.

I wish i just got good at math???.

can like everyone in this comment section who are bad at math huddle together and cry, that would be very therapeutic for me rn

I’m more scared of my Math teacher then going to the Dentist.

I always used to cry when i do my math homework 🙁 but know i have i dont have the same math homework AS the class so i dont cry anymore 🙂

god i hate math

I literally cry almost everyday because of my math teacher. she makes our tests really long and I barely pass. its so dam hard to maintain my grade

Mathematics is the language of nature.

I’m taking a math test. I answered most of the questions today but I have to finish it tomorrow. The questions make zero sense for me but make so much sense to everyone else. I’d be lucky to even get a 40 on it

I can get nearly all 100's in every single class except for math.☹ I don't understand it at all.

me okay at all subjects and happy

math:This is an avenger level threat

Its all because of those god damn letters

Since im in college, ive been struggling with math and every math lesson i can't process what we learned. So i basically feel like crying because im scared of not passing the first year of college

I just don't get WHY WOULD YOU WANNA TEACH KIDS MATH IF YOU GET MAD EVERY TIMETHEY MAKE A MISTAKEEEEE , WHY?!!

???? those blue face people

This is so true, I have panic attacks about math all the time.