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Stressed Out by School Work or Life

Student Stress Model
stressed out
Total Explosion of Stress

  Stressed Out by School? Work? & Life? Sherp’s Rules for How to Deal!!!   A parent once asked me about what to do when their student feels stressed out.  I recommended talking to a guidance counselor, social worker, or the CARES Representative in the building.  I did offer that I sometimes think stress isn’t always a bad thing for some people like myself.  At times, stress can motivate me to higher achievement. When I feel pressure, I try to adapt, and at times stress has even caused me to grow as a person.  Part of my internal process for dealing with stress requires that I recognize any challenge as an opportunity.  When I can overcome any challenge or obstacle, or when I find a solution to a vexing problem, I get a feeling of great self-satisfaction and increased confidence and personal power.   I have used various combinations of the six following ideas to deal with stress and most challenging situations:  

  1. I try to discuss or talk out what’s the problem or challenge. I would tell students to talk with someone they trust. Make sure they realize that they aren’t alone. At times, every one finds that just talking about their feelings can offer some relief from the stress of everyday life. I believe in the old adage that two heads are better than one...
  2. Learn problem-solving skills and processes. This is an important skill in business and life...  Most of the stress students must deal with each day comes from feelings of being overwhelmed or from being paralyzed by fear of the unknown or "How Do I Begin..." Teaching students a method for problem solving can be a valuable and life-long tool for short-term and long-term success.
  3. Recharge the batteries. With the pace of everyday life increasing exponentially, it is very important for students to build in some quality down time to decompress, relax, have fun, and gather your thoughts. Taking time out to evaluate where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going is an important step in dealing with everyday stress.
  4. Try to maintain the habit of winning, but know you’ll lose on occasion. Having a real positive sense of self-worth is very important to managing the stress and the challenges of daily life for students. But sometimes students start off with unrealistic expectations which can lead to more stress, self-doubt, and even failure. I ask the students to concentrate on taking baby-steps.... You thing at a time.... Any task can be broken down into smaller steps or parts... This helps deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed... 
  5. Learn patience. Today’s students have what I call “roadrunner syndrome.” This is a need for an instantaneous answer to every one of life’s challenges. This may be a factor of TV's 30 minute problem-action-solution diagram, or the utility of modern communication and the Internet, but what most students don’t realize is they lack the skills and experiences to evaluate every alternative and options they may find.  We need to teach students that every problem has a solution and any challenge can be overcome with time. Making sure they understand that while the answer may elude us today, tomorrow gives them another chance to find answers, build solutions, and create wins...
  6. Get help. Often time people are afraid or even ashamed of asking for help. Our culture teaches independence and that asking for help is seen as a sign or form of weakness. But the reality is sometimes we need help and advice. No one has all the answers or the tools necessary to deal with every problem they may encounter. Often time just asking for help, listening to what someone else tried, and learning what worked for others is a great first step to dealing with a challenge. Stress can be paralyzing to students, if they’re not prepared for it.

  Most of these methods offer me a way to deal with stressful situations in daily life and may offer someone a process for dealing with stress in their own lives. While I am not a stress expert, I have dealt with stress successfully in my own life.