Activity: Learn different ways to respond to stress

No one feels calm all the time, but we can work on reacting to stressful events in a balanced way. This activity is good for teenagers. It helps them see how different states of mind influence their reactions.

A stressed out man sleeping
  • Talk to your child about different states of mind.
  • Encourage them to spot when they’re in an emotional state and consider the rational side of things as well.
  • Ask them to think about a recent time when they felt stressed. What thoughts did they have at the time? Looking at the situation again, could they see it in a different light?
  • What kind of response would honour how they feel about the situation, yet be more calming to deal with?

Practical steps

Both emotion and logic have an important place in our lives. But when we feel stressed, our emotions can take over. Our emotional and physical wellbeing are connected, so it can help to focus on physical sensations first. When, when things are calmer, it’s easier to think logically. Help your child to:

  • Take slow breaths to slow their heart rate.
  • Walk away from stressful thoughts. Encourage them to go for a walk and focus on their surroundings. What can they see, hear or smell?
  • Write down what’s making them stressed. Is it something they can control? If so, help them decide what to do about it and when. If not, encourage them to cross the worry out or put it in the bin, and let it go.
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