When students suffer from negative experiences or trauma, they find it difficult to remain calm and composed. The negativity of their past can hit them in their present, leaving them agitated and confused. Therefore, it can be difficult to step back from a negative experience and calm the nervous system to regain control and deal with stress. Also, the trauma may be induced because of physical, emotional or substance abuse.
Fortunately, for people who are suffering, there are strategies that deal with stress by acting as emotional regulators. These strategies must be included by the educational practitioners in their methodology, routines and bell work to help students in easing their mental struggle.
Additionally, these strategies can help students in removing dilemma and getting more aware of their choices. This can be of great help because the first step to deal with stress is becoming self-aware.
As the foundation of a student is built on the basis of the education and system he studies in. Hence, it is of paramount importance that the teachers must understand why and how the students suffer from stress. Only after this, they should devise techniques to help students in dealing with stress.
#1 Deal with stress by sharing it with peers:
It is common for students to seek adult guidance for any help regarding many issues because of their experiences. But sometimes sharing the mental struggle with peers can be relieving and may result in a calmer mind. Also, it will teach the students how to be present for everyone in times of need.
There are many times in school when students amazingly discover that his peers have faced the same adversity. This can be leveraged to build a collaborative environment where every student will help others. The cooperative atmosphere will infuse the seeds of empathy, affection, respect, and understanding in all the students as a whole.
#2 Developing an atmosphere that deals with stress effectively:
This step can be implemented by initiating morning meetings where students discuss their experiences or question others. Further, the teachers can guide students to ask others about what they have in common. As an example, let them ask others “Do you have two eyes”? Or “do you have 32 teeth?”
Students may laugh at first, but it will help them realize what they all have in common. Soon after this, students may move to other serious questions like “Have you ever broken a bone?” or “Have you ever been afraid?” “Do you ever skip breakfast or dinner?”
It must be noted that the acquaintance with a peer should follow a gradual pattern. Students may not get comfortable in a minute. They may need time to get comfortable revealing their thoughts and mental struggles including stress.
#3 Teacher’s Positive intervention to deal with stress:
When a student becomes irritated, upset or agitated, teachers can help the student to return to their normal state. Teachers should do a positive intervention before the student reach the point of no-return from their sadness or anger. Simply stated, at this point, the emotions override a student’s ability to share or express his concerns.
Adolescents bring many adversities with them when they come to school. All they ask for is a guide, a mentor to listen to him and ease his pain. That’s why this is a critical step. These students need caring adults who can gently probe and work together with students to come up with a solution.
#4 Start with the right questions:
A crucial aspect of this method to help students in dealing with stress is asking the right questions. However, it must be kept in mind that these questions should not negatively excite students. The following questions are meant to spark a discussion between teachers and students.
- How can I help in easing your mind and feelings?
- Is there anything you need that would help you deal with stress?
- Is there another way to express this other than with words? I have pens, paper, and crayons, or you can express them by using a lump of clay.
- Please list three or four people you may need at this moment. How would they help you in dealing with stress?
- Is there a place here at school where you feel safer and a little better?
- Are there any belongings or personal objects here that would comfort you and make you feel better?
- When you’re comfortable speaking, I want you to know that I’m right here next to you, ready to listen and understand.
#5 Developing A Space of Well-being:
This strategy is based on actively working to construct a space where every student thrives. As an aspect, the strategy is based on the concept of development of mind and emotions that promotes an effective way to deal with stress. teachers can begin by bringing a bouquet of flowers, a variety of vegetables and fruits.
The next step is to discuss how they are different and similar and how do they grow and flourish. Students should observe how closely the variety is in them also. It is then you should make a connection between emotional and mental connection with that of flourishing a garden.
Teachers can start with questions such as:
- What makes each of these plants, flowers, fruits, and vegetables unique?
- How does the environment help them grow?
- What conditions or ingredients favors the most growth?
- Are any of these ingredients the same as you need to develop emotional and mental health?
- What would be similar for you as sunlight?
- Imagine, what would be water for you for your mental growth?
Ask your students inquisitively, “if your mind is a garden of different emotions or feelings, do you have a fence to protect it” “What are the boundaries you have set for yourself?”
This method will allow students to become more self-aware of their thoughts, emotions, personality, and mind as a whole. Additionally, as a golden nugget, they will realize what really acts as a nutrient in their life. Whether its people, experience, habits or environment. Figuring out the things that add value in their life, only then they can remove unwanted things to get better in life.
#6 Help them improve their mistakes:
Our brain is developed when we make mistakes and correct them after improving ourselves. In fact, it is an integral process of learning and growing. But, many students are afraid of slipping and are terrified of making mistakes.
Here, teachers should educate their students that mistakes are a part of the process of learning. In addition to this, they must be told that failing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Teachers should explain why mistakes are important and how one should come back after doing a mistake.
They should also guide students on how they can reflect on their doings and find the areas of improvement. However, it must be noted that teachers should not put too much pressure on a student. It must be kept in mind that the student is voluntarily expressing his emotions or feelings of stress.
Also, they can practice mindfulness to get aware of the reasons for committing a mistake over and over. It can be a great tool to identify the weak areas one has in them and then reflecting on taking the best actions to amend it.
In a nutshell:
The above strategies were based on several techniques that teachers use to help students in coping up with stress. The strategies are meant to help students individually as well as a group. However, it must be taken care of the strategies are not strict and have a lot of scope of additions.