**What is arithmetic anxiety?**

Arithmetic anxiety is a negative emotional response or feeling of tension and anxiety to situations involving numbers, math and calculations. Arithmetic anxiety has a significant impact on all areas of life, both on daily life and on academic performance, for example: giving a tip, calculating change, choosing a career, within a classroom, choosing courses. Arithmetic anxiety has a wide range of responses, ranging from mild frustration to a huge emotional outburst.

Arithmetic anxiety was defined as early as 1957 by Dreger & Aiken and has 3 characteristics: **1.** It must be distinguished from general anxiety. **2.** It is not directly related to general intelligence. That is, it may adversely affect intelligence achievement, but is not caused by a low level of intelligence **3. **There is an inverse relationship between arithmetic anxiety level and academic performance in mathematics. That is, the more anxiety there is the less good the math performance in mathematics.

__Arithmetic anxiety is due to one of the following reasons:__

**Environmental background:**Negative experience as part of arithmetic lessons or with a specific teacher.**Personal background:**Low self-esteem, inability to believe in yourself.**Cognitive background:**Low intelligence abilities, cognitive difficulty in arithmetic or difficulty in working memory.

__What is the relationship between arithmetic anxiety and arithmetic achievement?__

The relationship is two-way: on the one hand, arithmetic misunderstanding and repeated failure cause avoidant behavior and arithmetic anxiety. On the other hand, arithmetic anxiety will cause __avoidance of arithmetic__ and will increase the gap between the student and their classmates. Therefore, children with arithmetic anxiety will show avoidant behavior. Moreover, arithmetic anxiety, like other anxieties, causes a Romination mechanism (thoughts that are repeated in the same way that can not be detached from, for example: “I can not”, “I will not succeed”, “I will fail”). The recurring thoughts “consume” the working memory resources until less cognitive resources remain__ for calculation__. As a result, __arithmetic achievements are impaired__, especially as math becomes more complex, and involves many steps and procedures which require more resources of working memory.

__Risk factors for developing arithmetic anxiety:__

- Low mathematical ability or skill
- Working memory is lacking
- Lower-than-average motivation

__Other factors that can feed arithmetic anxiety and fuel it:__

- Vulnerability to other anxieties, such as general anxiety or social anxiety
- Unsupportive instruction

__Is it possible to improve arithmetic abilities in subjects with learning disabilities by reducing arithmetic anxiety?__

It most certainly is. Arithmetic anxiety can be reduced with the help of **emotional intervention** which includes: __firstly__, indication of the non-adaptive self-thinking processes. __Secondly__, turning unconscious processes into conscious processes by identifying and acknowledging the process of romination and controlling it. __Finally__, learning a strategy of dealing with these thoughts in arithmetic tests, such as replacing a negative thought with a positive one.