While no one can eliminate stress from young people’s lives, you can help them learn to control how they respond to it. Share these ideas, activities, and tips with kids to help them deal with stressful situations in school, at home, and among friends:
1. Get organized. Clutter can really be stressful, even if you don’t think about it much. Put dirty laundry in the hamper, papers in a folder or drawer, and toys where they belong. Ah, doesn’t that feel better?
2. Try shower power. That’s right, a hot shower can wash away stress. The steam helps you breathe easier, and the warm water soothes tense muscles. Stress goes down the drain.
3. Take charge. When things go wrong, feeling sorry for yourself equals more stress. Instead, think: What can I do to fix the situation? Start that homework, do chores, or talk to an adult who can help.
4. Visualize success. Close your eyes and imagine conquering whatever it is that is stressing you out. Big report coming due? Imagine finishing it. How great will that feel? How proud will you be? How will you reward yourself?
5. Embrace failure. Thomas Edison was one of the most important inventors in history, and along the way he had many failures. But he once said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
6. Pet an animal. Research proves what pet lovers already know: petting an animal can reduce stress. If you don’t have your own pet, visit a friend who does.
7. Keep a stress journal. Write down events that lead to negative feelings. Note the time of day, what you were doing, where you were, and who was there. How did you feel? What did you do? Once you understand what stresses you, you can work on solving the problems.
8. Ask for help. You’re not a superhero. Everyone needs help sometimes, and the people you’re close with will help. Talk to a good friend or an adult you trust, and say something like, “I’m feeling frazzled. Do you think you could help me?”
9. Check your posture. If you’re stressed, chances are your posture shows it. Slumped shoulders means shallower breathing and poor circulation, so straighten up, push your shoulders back, and breathe deep.
10. Brainstorm solutions. Make a list of ways to solve your problem. Brainstorming means no ideas are too crazy or weird. Write down everything you can think of. Invite a grown-up to contribute ideas, too. Once you have a good list, choose one idea to try.
11. Celebrate accomplishments. When you finish a project or test or something else, you deserve to feel good about it. Give yourself a high five for what you’ve done, even if you’re still stressed about what you have left to do.
For more stress management ideas for kids, check out Rx for Stress In a Jar®: Tips for Less Stress in Kids’ Lives.
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