Stress Management Activities for Teens

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Adolescence can be a stressful time! As a teacher of teenagers, you may be wondering how to help minimize stress among your students. This lesson gives you some ideas of stress management activities you can incorporate into the classroom.

Why Stress Management?

Adolescence can be a stressful time. Teenagers may be struggling to define their identity and figure out what kind of people they want to be. Some teenagers may feel emotionally volatile and easily overwhelmed. Others may be over-scheduled and feel pressured to work particularly hard to meet internal and external demands. Some teenagers worry tremendously about their physical appearance, or where they fit among their peers.

As someone who teaches teenagers, you may be wondering what you can do to help them with the things that worry them most. While it is neither possible nor desirable to rid teenagers of stress, since stress can be motivating, it is important to teach teens to manage their stress so that it does not become overwhelming or crippling. Stress management in the classroom is important because it helps teenagers understand that they can become empowered in taking charge of their own emotions and struggles. This lesson offers you some ideas for activities that will help your teenage students manage their stress.

Yoga

A great way to manage stress in the classroom is by incorporating yoga. Yoga can help teenagers feel calm and more in touch with their bodies. Yoga is strengthening at the same time that it is calming. Though it can be difficult to make time for yoga amid the chaos and bustle of classroom life, taking five minutes at the beginning of a class period to run through a few yoga poses with your students can make a huge difference in their ability to center themselves. Also, if you teach students yoga in the classroom, you can also encourage them to pursue the practice at home, or in classes after school.

Journal Writing

Some teenagers respond really well to the practice of writing in journals. Teach your students that journals are private; they are not filled with writing assignments to be graded. Instead, they are safe places where students can express their feelings, write freely about whatever is on their mind, or draw scenes or comics that help them understand what they are feeling. One way to incorporate journal writing is to dedicate one class period a week to free writing in journals. You can also have students use their journals for ten or fifteen minutes each day. Make sure to keep student journals in a safe, preferably locked, place, and respect your students' privacy.

Stress Dialogue

If you feel like many of your students are especially stressed out, you can help them talk about it by starting a class-wide stress dialogue. On your board, write the words, ''I am stressed out because...'' Have students go around and share their own endings to these sentences. No student should be forced to participate, but many students might benefit from sharing. Then, ask students to share their own strategies for managing stress. You might be surprised how much your students already know about stress management, and peers can often learn more from each other than they can learn from you.

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