Teacher Background Knowledge:
Stress is a normal part of life. How someone responds to stress can determine whether it becomes eustress or distress. Sleep, nutrition, and coping strategies heavily impact that response. It is important to learn and practice stress management strategies to keep well-being balanced.
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Ask the class what they like to do when they are extremely happy. Write responses on the board to show the variety of answers. (Answers will vary but may include: eat candy, jump up and down, sing, throw a party, read a book, hug someone, tell their mom all about it, etc.)
Point out that everyone has different ways of expressing happiness and coping with unwanted feelings. It is okay to have different coping strategies. You just want to identify what works for you and what decreases your stressful feelings.
Next, have students read the article “What Works for You?”
Explain that reacting to happy feelings is pretty simple and comes naturally. Dealing with stress can be hard, but if we find strategies that work for us, then it becomes much easier. It’s okay to cope with stress differently than other people.
Explain that there are many ways to manage stress, including ones in each area of well-being. Tell students they can try some out and see which areas of well-being best help them cope with stress.
Hand out the graphic organizer Coping Strategies and tell students to write something in the middle of the page that stresses them out, then think of coping strategies in each area of well-being. Give a quick example of how to fill out the page:
Write “Recess” in the middle of the page.
For Mental, you could write, “Repeat my strengths to myself in my head.”
For Academic, you could write, “Bring a book to read at recess on days I feel a lot of stress.”
For Social, you could write, “Ask someone earlier in the day to play with me at recess.”
For Physical, you could write, “Join a game at recess.”
For Emotional, you could write, “Stay positive and keep a smile on my face.”
Have students fill out their graphic organizers. Encourage them to think of multiple tools in each category and share their ideas with someone at home.
If you notice a friend showing signs of stress, what can you do to help them?
Write a list of coping strategies that help you overcome stressful feelings in a positive way. Keep your list somewhere you can reference it frequently.
Article: What Works for You?
Graphic Organizer: Coping Strategies