Managing Stress – A HealthCorps’ Lesson

Posted 08/29/2013 | By HealthCorps

Have you ever stopped to think about the interrelationships between emotional, physical, and social health when you experience stress?  Acute and chronic stress can dramatically impact these three health sectors. so learning coping skills that can minimize the kinds of stress that teens routinely encounter, can be a huge step in overall management of their health.

The students learn that a “stress response” is a safety mechanism in certain challenging situations – it’s an alarm system of sorts.  But having ongoing stress levels that you can’t manage, or too many acute episodes, is a health hazard.  So the lesson plan aims to help the students to recognize and identify stress, and to then explore personal coping skills.

The physical signs of stress can include a feeling that your muscles are tightening up and not releasing.  You can learn to relax those muscles with mindful stretching, and also with yoga.  Learning to relax your shoulders, let your arms hang by your sides, stretching your arms and body in specific poses, can provide the physical tools necessary to “stop stress” in the moment.  The teens learn yoga poses including the cat pose, the warrior pose, and the tree pose, which can help someone start their day in a less tense way, or intercept stress during the day.  The lesson plans also helps to teach visualization techniques, and habits that maximize sleep, an important behavior necessary to help you release stress.

The teens also learn how to better organize their many responsibilities so the load of their day doesn’t set them up for stress.  Organization and balancing your daily responsibilities will help you to limit daily stress.

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