Exams, assessments, social status and game day. These are some of the many things your son may feel ‘stressed’ about during his schooling years.
Stress is the feeling we have when we are under pressure. This could be the pressure your son may feel to succeed, to achieve great results or to be included or accepted by his peers.
It is important to recognise that some pressure is beneficial, indeed essential. Stress can be classed as either good stress (eustress) or bad stress (distress). A small amount of stress can be helpful. It can lead to increased alertness, energy and productivity. However, excessive stress can be debilitating and lead to damaging effects on the mind, body and spirit.
If your son is showing signs of stress, it may be worth having a chat to him about learning to deal with pressure. Below are some suggestions for dealing with stress.
1. Discuss the positives of pressure
It is important that your son understands that pressure can have positive effects such as increased energy and productivity. When your body feels stressed, hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released, spurring your body, mind and spirit into action. For a short period of time this can be useful, such as during a footy game or before a public speaking exercise.
2. Recognise the symptoms of too much stress
Stress can affect your son in a variety of ways. In order to know when he is under too much pressure, your son will need to identify the symptoms of stress. These can include headaches, fatigue, muscle tension, anxiety, mood swings or low self-esteem. If he is aware of the symptoms, he will be more likely to confide in family and friends or accept professional assistance. Read our ‘Five signs that suggest your son is not coping with stress’.
3. Stress release techniques
Activities that can release stress include exercise, relaxation, meditation, spending time with friends, playing sport, sleep, healthy eating and having fun. If your son is feeling under pressure to complete an assignment, encourage him to take time out. Go for a run, play the piano, or do something he enjoys. Taking time to do the things we love can work wonders. It will also give your son the added motivation he needs to complete his work.
4. What really matters?
Encourage your son to think about what really matters. Does it really matter that he didn’t get the top score in the recent chemistry test? Often, young people feel undue amounts of stress for things that don’t warrant such attention. Try to discuss the issue and potential outcomes and solutions with your son - often when a problem is shared, it doesn’t seem quite so overwhelming.
5. Time management
By taking the time to arrange his priorities for the week, your son will give himself the best chance of staying on track and feeling organised; this will result in less pressure and stress. Time management is key during ‘stressful’ times like exam periods. Encourage your son to identify what he needs to achieve and create a realistic schedule. Our blog ‘12 ways to manage stress during exams’ offer more tips about dealing with pressure at these times.
The Trinity difference
The Counselling Department at Trinity is staffed by registered psychologists who welcome contact from students or anyone in our parent community wanting to discuss concerns relating to their children.
Trinity is fuelled by a pastorally aware culture with exceptionally high levels of individual student attention, and we pride ourselves on knowing, understanding and nurturing every student.
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