What is Stress?
To help young people make sense of stress, the Children’s Society has shared the following:
“Stress is caused when things in life get too much. You might feel pressure about a school exam or a race you have to run in. If you can learn to cope with these pressures, you can ease the stress you feel too.
Stress is a common feeling we get when we feel under pressure. A small amount can be good and motivate us to meet our goals. But too much stress, when it feels out of control, can impact our mood, our well-being, and our relationships with people around us.
Some people, when they go through long periods of stress, experience ‘burnout’ – a feeling of complete physical and emotional exhaustion. Luckily, there are ways to stop stress from getting out of control.” (childrenssociety.org.uk, 2022)
Stress can affect people in different ways but there will be changes in the presentation and behaviour of people who are suffering from chronic stress. We all have ‘bad days’ but damaging effects of long-term stress will play out over a period of time. The Stress Management Society suggests that “these changes may be physical or behavioural, or a combination of all three.
- Memory Problems
- Poor Judgement
- Inability to Concentrate
- ‘Brain Fog’
- Starting many tasks but achieving little
- Fatalistic Thinking
- Feeling Overwhelmed
- Chest Pain
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Aches and Pains
- Frequent Colds
- Skin Complaints
- High Blood Pressure
- Increase Intake in Alcohol, Cigarettes and Caffeine to Relax
- Isolating Yourself from Others
- Sleeping too little or too Much
- Loss of sense of humour ” (www.stress.org.uk, 2022)
Stress is not necessarily a bad thing in small doses but prolonged exposure to stress can have a profound on one’s health and wellbeing. Although some stress is unavoidable (some is in fact good), however damaging levels of stress can be managed and reduced.
How To Deal With Stress
The Children’s Society suggests that for children and young people (and adults too), “learning to deal with stress can take a lot of practice but it will be worth it in the long run. Here are some tips to help you out when stress is getting the better of you.
- Recognise triggers: begin to track times where you have felt stressed and look for patterns in how you reacted. What was happening when you felt stressed? What did you think/feel/do just before you felt stressed?
- Awareness: one you are aware of difficulties that are likely to make you feel stressed you can take steps to prevent stress or deal with it quickly
- Self-care: be kind to yourself – stress is a human experience. Try to connect with friends and talk about how you are feeling
- Exercise, relaxation and meditation: some people find that exercises and activities such as meditation, breathing exercises and deep muscle relaxation are helpful
- Eat well and sleep: the better rested you are, the more able you are to cope with pressure
- Talking therapy: if you are finding it difficult to cope, consider meeting with someone trained to help – this might include your GP to talking therapy” (childrenssociety.org.uk, 2022)
There is lots of support out there so if you are suffering from stress then do reach out for support. Young people can speak with parents, carers, teachers, social workers or other trusted adults. Foster carers please reach out to your supervising social worker.😊
https://www.stress.org.uk/how-it-affects-us/ Stress Management Society – How It Affects Us
https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/information/young-people/well-being/resources/stress The Children’s Society – Information for young people
https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-10/Young-People-Guide-to-Stressful-Situations.pdf – Children’s Society – Stress Guide – by young people for young people to help others through stressful situations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnpQrMqDoqE – Brain smart BBC – Managing Stress – video for young people
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2l5jEPjVqUk – Symptoms of Stress in Children – Stress Management for Kids video
https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/tips-to-reduce-stress/ – NHS – 10 Stress Busters including a video on ‘Unhelpful Thinking’
https://www.calm.com/ – Calm – guided meditations and sleep stories to ease stress and improve sleep
https://www.headspace.com/ – Headspace – train your mind for a healthier, happier life by reducing daily anxieties and stresses
https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/breathe2relax/id425720246 Breathe2Relax – portable stress management tool
Suggested for 4- 9 years
The Goodnight Caterpillar by Lori Lite
Helping Young Children Improve Sleep, Lower Stress and Control Emotions
A relaxation storey introducing young children to a gentle exercise known as muscle relaxation. This exercise focuses awareness on various muscle groups to create a complete resting of the mind and body. The child in this story teaches the caterpillar how to relax, unwind, and see things more clearly. Muscle relaxation and breathing can have a positive impact on your child’s health and immune system. It can lower stress and anxiety levels and can be used to decrease pain and control emotions.
This encouraging story quiets the mind and relaxes the body so your child can fall asleep peacefully. Sweet dreams
Suggested for 9-12 year olds
Keep Your Cool: How to Deal with Life’s Worries and Stress by Aaron Balick
Deal with bullying, family strife, exam panic and what it means to be you, as well as many other issues with Keep Your Cool. A vast selection of exercises, including yoga, breathing exercises and rationalising activities, will help you to stay focused and in control.
Written by clinical psychotherapist Dr Aaron Balick, who has nearly 20 years in the field, this book draws on his experience with working with young people directly in schools, providing answers to real-life issues.
By to build your life skills and resilience, this book will keep you cool, calm and collected in the modern world.
Anxiety Relief for Teens by Regine Galanti
Essential CBT Skills and Mindfulness Practices to Overcome Anxiety and Stress
Getting good grades, keeping up with social media, maintaining friendships… you have a lot on your plate and it’s more difficult when you add anxiety to the mix. You may even be avoiding situations, events, or people that could trigger your anxiety. So, how do you stop yourself from missing out on life? With Anxiety Relief for Teens, Dr Regine Galanti teaches you how CBT-based skills and mindfulness techniques can help you manage your anxiety and reverse negative patterns. Through simple and effective exercises that help you change your thoughts, behaviours, and physical reactions, this helpful guide gives you the tools you need to navigate all of life’s challenges.
Anxiety Relief for Teens features – Quizzes and self-assessments to better understand your anxiety and emotions and discover their respective triggers, 30+ CBT-based tools to manage your anxiety along with practical strategies for dealing with challenging emotions such as anger and sadness, 30+ mindfulness practices to cope with your anxiety in the present moment through visualizations, breathing, meditation, and other exercises.
All book reviews by www.amazon.co.uk
By Lynsey Dobbs, Senior Recruitment Officer