Despite all the careful planning and prep, the school year has the capacity to quickly get stressful. As soon as I sense students are feeling overwhelmed, I try to find little techniques to help lighten the mood and detox any unnecessary stress from building up. When things start to feel like too much, I pull out one of my favorite techniques – The Dot Test – which I was fortunate enough to experience in graduate school. When I can pull it off, it’s one of my favorite lessons of the year.
The Story of the Dot Test
Upon entering the classroom, a lecturer greeted us and asked us to look up on the board and tell us what we saw. The board was seemingly empty. Everyone started looking at each other, all of us aware that we must be missing something. Finally, someone walked up to the board and said, “All I see is this small dot, is this what you meant?”
The lecturer said, “Yes that’s what I was hoping you’d find – the dot.” We were a bit confused, so he explained. “You see, I know you are all in the middle of a stressful year, but I wanted to tell you to enjoy it, because as stressful as the tests seem and as daunting as the homework might feel, throughout the grand scheme of your life you won’t remember any of it — it will be as significant as this small dot on this vast board. When you look back on this year, what you will remember are the friends you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had, and how your teachers made you feel. Don’t waste too much time being stressed out about the exams, because in the end, these tests won’t matter much in your life. They will become small dots. No matter what happens, you will all be okay and do great things.”
Change Your Mind, Change Your Life: Letting Go of Worry, Stress and Fear
Friday October 4th 6-8pm (Registration is NOT required for this event): Spend an evening with Jerry Jampolsky M.D. and Diane Cirincione Ph.D, international authors and founders of Attitudinal Healing International. This talk is free and open to the public. CEU’s are not offered for this Lecture.
Saturday October 5th 8am-12noon (Registration required — see below):
Introduction to Attitudinal Healing Workshop entitled “Attitudinal Healing and Relationships” Learn and practice the principles of Attitudinal Healing and the Attitudinal Healing peer support model developed by Dr. Jerry Jampolsky and used effectively in healing centers around the world since 1975. This workshop is worth 4 CEU credits to licensed professionals (see below).
The 4-hour workshop on Saturday October 5th will be led by staff from the Hawai’i Center for Attitudinal Healing, which is an affiliate of Attitudinal Healing International. The Hawai’i Center for Attitudinal Healing was incorporated in 2001 as a non-profit organization to replicate the award-winning Attitudinal Healing Community Wellness Program in Hawai’i. Through an extensive program of peer-support groups, home and hospital visiting services, and education, developed over twenty-eight years, this program builds a community of support around individuals and families challenged by serious illness and other highly stressful situations.
Your father is stressed with a big project at his workplace. But he is excited. Your mother is stressed taking care of your sick grandmother and working. Quite often she is tired and cranky.
Everyone is exposed to stress everyday. But feeling the stress is your body`s reaction to something you may or may not want to do. Feeling stressed is normal. Sometimes stress is good. It keeps you focused and extracts the best out of you like the excitement before a game or getting ready for a dance. But sometimes stress falls heavily on you. You can`t sleep or feel sad and lonely. Don`t ignore these feelings. Stress needs your attention. Deal with it. Get help.
Signs of stress
Normally you are pretty cool about things. But some days you don`t feel like your own self. Your mother asks what`s wrong and your best friend tells you to get over it. But you just want them to leave you alone. Are you stressed out? Only your body or your emotions will let you know.
America is famously the most anxious nation in the world, with 31 percent of the country dealing with symptoms of anxiety, according to the World Health Organization.
While there are a host of factors that contribute to anxiety, our work culture plays a big role. It’s where people spend most of their waking hours; and how we process our work lives has a dramatic affect on our well being.
“Surveys show that stress levels [in the US] have progressively increased over the past four decades,” Paul J. Rosch, MD, Chairman of the Board of The American Institute of Stress, told the Atlantic’s Maura Kelly.
One day last week at Lexington High School, teachers wore red clown noses as they stood before their classes. Students blew bubbles in the quad, the outdoor common area, before school. Music played over the loudspeakers between classes, and teenagers danced in the hallways.
“Kids just got to be kids and play,” said wellness teacher Julie Fenn, standing in the quad where students had drawn on the pavement with chalk. “It’s been fun to see even our big boys blowing bubbles and laughing.”
This was the school’s second stress-reduction day, designed to help some of the state’s highest-achieving students manage the anxieties that can breed at competitive schools. Lexington High consistently is ranked among the top academically in the state, and its students receive with some of the state’s highest SAT and Advanced Placement scores.
The effort to bolster students’ emotional health has grown both in the town and the school system. Local parents, educators, and faith groups formed the Collaborative to Reduce Student Stress about three years ago, and the School Committee made stress reduction a priority. Teachers have been working with students on mindfulness techniques.
When I am feeling down and weary, and I can barely lift myself off the couch, my dog comes to my rescue. She cuddles with me, then motivates me to get up, dressed, and out the door for a walk or some play time. Somehow my fur-baby even gets me to smile, no matter how miserable or stressed I feel.
I am not alone. It turns out that all pets, not just therapy pets, can help your mind, body, and spirit.
Here are a dozen reasons why:
1. They get you outside: Sun and fresh air elevate your mood and the sun gives you an extra dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D exposure helps fight physical and mental conditions, including depression, cancer, obesity, and heart attacks. Also, when you go outside with your pet, you are engaging with nature. Try taking a moment to listen to the trees rustling, feel the wind rushing past, and the sun upon your face. The sounds and feeling of nature can be incredibly calming.
Our mind and mood are keenly sensitive to the world around us. Distressing life events—a bad breakup, unemployment, the death of a loved one—often leave us rattled or sad, of course, but our daily routine and patterns of thinking also have a big impact on our mood. Bad habits like skimping on sleep, drinking too much, or nursing grudges can undermine our mental health, whether that means a brief episode of the blues or full-blown depression and anxiety.
Happily, many of these mental pitfalls can be avoided. We break down 12 of the most common and provide tips for how to steer clear.
Why it’s harmful: In addition to keeping your body in shape, physical activity plays a key role in propping up mood; it can even help ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, research suggests. Regular exercise appears to have a positive effect on brain chemicals and mood-related hormones, and it may confer psychological benefits (such as increased confidence) that foster better mental health.
For most teens, social media is an important part of their daily lives – but for some – sites like Facebook and Twitter can be a source of anxiety.
Dr. Manny Alvarez, senior managing health editor of FoxNews.com recently sat down with mental health consultant, Stefanie Weiss to talk about how social media is causing anxiety in kids and what parents to can do to help.
“I think kids base their self-worth today on how many followers they have, how many likes they’re getting on their pictures or what comments they’re getting from friends or not getting from other people that they wish that they did,” Weiss said.
Weiss said there are many ways social media can cause anxiety in kids and teens:
1) How many followers they have on networks like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can cause a great deal of anxiety and insecurity. Often, it’s more about quantity – not quality when it comes to how many likes, friends, comments, and followers kids have.
The decisions whether to breastfeed and share a bed with the baby not only affect the welfare of the infant, but also the mother, a new study finds.
The women in the study with the best stress hormone patterns were the ones who breastfed but refrained from sharing a bed with their baby, researchers found. The women who fared the worst were those who co-slept and didn’t breastfeed.
The researchers were looking for the optimal daily rhythm in the women’s stress hormone levels. An optimal rhythm is one in which levels of the stress hormone cortisol are high in the morning, to prepare a person for the day’s events and stressors, and low in the evening, to allow for sleep.
Women who didn’t breastfeed, or who shared a bed with their infant, had less-than-optimal daily rhythms.