ICE 4 Life

Stress Management for Young People

So, what is stress?

Stress can be both a positive and negative experience and is unique for each of us. Stress is actually good for us as it helps us to develop. If we do not experience stress in our lives we may not learn and develop.

Stress becomes a problem when it begins to affect us physiologically, having a negative effect on our health and lifestyle.

One definition of negative stress is when there is an imbalance between perceived demands made on us and our perceived ability to cope with what is expected of us.

Some Signs of Negative Stress

Irritability and depression
Dryness of throat/mouth
Heart palpitations
Inability to concentrate
Feelings of weakness/dizziness
Nervous laughter
Easily startled by small sounds
Trembling hands
Stuttering/speech problems
Migraine headaches
Pre-menstrual tension/missed periods
Back pain
Neck pain
Loss of appetite

Short term physical symptoms of stress

Faster heart beat
Rapid breathing
Increased sweating
Cool skin
Cold hands and feet
Tense muscles
Feeling sick
Butterflies in stomach
Dry mouth
Desire to urinate

Long term physical symptoms of stress

Change in appetite
Feelings of intense/long term tiredness
Aches and pains
Frequent illnesses such as back pain, digestive problems, headaches, skin eruptions, colds

Long term stress: - Internal symptoms

Worry or anxiety
Inability to make decisions
Feeling ill
Feeling overwhelmed by events
Mood changes
Feeling out of control
Increased lethargy
Sleeping difficulties
Increase in smoking/drinking
Changes in eating habits
Reliance on medication

Behavioural symptoms of long term stress

Talking too loud/too fast
Fiddling and twitching
Changing work patterns
Neglect of personal appearance
Increased truancy
Being unreasonably negative
Making more mistakes
Making irrational judgments
Being more forgetful
Difficulty making decisions
Unable to concentrate
Being more accident prone
Bad moods; being irritable
Being critical

Causes of stress in school

Too much/too little work
Time pressures and deadlines
Having to perform beyond/below your experience or your perceived abilities
Having to overcome unnecessary obstacles
Lack of relevant information, support or advice
Lack of clear objectives
Unclear role expectations
Demands from pupils or teachers
Lack of resources/equipment

Ways of Managing Stress

Talk to a friend or an adult about any worries

Do some physical exercise each day

Listen to music that you really enjoy

Make sure you have some humour and fun each day

Practice positive thinking every day; “I can…” “I will …”

Eat and sleep well. Your body needs energy to cope better with stress and rest and relaxation to repair.

At the end of each day check the successes you have had; the good times with your friends etc.

Making a list of things that help you relax and do some each day.


Stress-busting tips

Learn to say ‘No’
Smile inwardly when someone is nasty to you. Think of their hurtful words as their problem.

Treat yourself regularly - go to the cinema, meet up with a friend for a chat, go for a walk.

Make time each day to switch off and spend time with family and friends.

Always have something special to look forward to - a fun planned weekend or annual holiday.

On Friday evening go out and enjoy yourself, instead of slumping in front of the TV.

Get to bed at a reasonable time.

Watch your diet and food intake.

Take full responsibility for how you feel rather than blaming other people. Don't say: 'You are annoying me.' Say: 'I feel annoyed when you repeatedly tap your pencil on the desk.'

Be positive - imagine that your glass is half full, not half-empty.

Beating stress means changing your usual habits for something much better and more positive.

The benefits of lowering stress levels are huge, you will have improved health, more energy and your skin and hair will improve!

Strategy... 1 minute First Aid Stress Management

Feeling a little stressed? Try this 1-minute First Aid de-stresser

Sit still on a chair. Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose whilst saying 'I am calm' in your mind. Hold your breath for 3 seconds before blowing it out through your mouth and saying 'I'm in complete control'. Repeat this exercise for just one minute. Open your eyes and observe how you feel.