Family Resources on Managing Stress

Lesson Topic

In groups, students will brainstorm stressors they face at their age. They will work together to come up with ways to relieve the stress they feel.

Essential Question

What positive choices can I make to deal with stress?

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Managing Stress

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students analyzed managing stressful situations that high school students frequently face. In class students discussed various experiences or situations that cause stress, particularly stress caused by competition. In groups students assess various positive ways to relieve or mitigate stress and avoid the pitfalls of negative competition with others in their lives.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features two students, Megan and Kelly who discuss stress from different perspectives. When Megan was younger, she became obsessed with comparing herself to others and dealt with this stress in negative ways. Kelly made perfect scores on three college admissions tests making Kelly the student that others measure themselves against. Each discusses how unhealthy competition can create unhealthy stress.

Conversation notes:
Adolescence is a time when many youths are faced with competition and the stress that can come from a hyper-competitive culture. While some levels of competition and stress are not harmful, learning to assess when competition and stress is too high is an important skill, along with learning to relieve stress positively.

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry published this short article about managing teen stress:

Psychologist Carl Pickhardt wrote this article for parents and mentors for Psychology Today:

This article from the American Psychological Association is also helpful:

Constructive Conversation Starters

The first two items are for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class

What stressors did your group in class discuss? Were any of these surprising? Why or why not? Do you think the strategy your group developed would be useful? Why or why not?

What is a good working definition of “stress”? Why do you think so? Provide some examples of stressful situations.

Do high school aged students face too much unhealthy competition? Why or why not?

Is stress ever a good thing? Describe how some moderate stress can be helpful or motivating.

Describe some activities that you find help with negative stress. What can we do as a family to support these? Devise a plan to support this (as long as the activity or activities are positive).

School to Home Resources on Managing Stress

Lesson Plan

Managing your own stress

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Megan says, “yes there’s external pressures, but a lot of it is just in me”. What do you think she means? Why does Megan now believe that she has the ability to control her stress, even though the things that cause her stress are external?

Maintaining a positive outlook

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Dr. Dohle (when talking about his son John and the ACT) says, “it’s what he talks about when he wakes up in the morning, what he talks about in the evening…and sometimes he doesn’t talk and those are the times that are really kind of scary because you know that he’s thinking about it”. Why does Dr. Dohle say it is “scary” when John is not talking about the test? How do you think John could deal with his stress? Why do you think it is important for John to learn to maintain a positive outlook despite his concerns?

Positive ways to deal with stress

Managing Stress

Take a look at this webpage from the American Academy of Pediatrics discussing teen stress. Describe a positive way that you deal with stress. Why does this work for you? Could this work for others? Why or why not?

Identifying stressors

Managing Stress

Read this article from the Mindful website blog focused on school stress. What tip from the list could you use the next time you feel stressed? Why do you think so? What stress situations do you have that you can control? What do you worry about that is outside of your control? Why is learning to identify the stressors in your life important to keeping stress from becoming toxic?

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