Helping stressed out students has always been one of teachers’ top priorities, but especially given current events, students may be finding it harder than ever to avoid getting caught up in a whirlwind of stress and panic. There are countless strategies that you can recommend to them to help reduce their stress, from getting a good night’s sleep to having a healthy diet. Here are 3 simple things you can say to help your students – and why they work.
The 3 Brilliant Sentences
It can be hard to stay positive in these testing times. You may find yourself getting frustrated at little details, in addition to worrying about the bigger, important things. Actually, this behaviour is quite normal – our lives are going through significant changes so some of this type of stress is expected. However, it is crucial that we make the effort to not let these feelings overwhelm us.
We’ve done the research and come up with 3 brilliant sentences you can say to your stressed students – and use with yourself as well.
"Focus on What Matters"
Steve Maraboli, a behavioural science academic, once said that "Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't." Focusing on what you can’t change makes you stressed and frustrated. If you are swimming up-tide, you will make little progress.
Whilst it is inevitable to think of the worst-case scenario, dwelling on it isn’t helpful. Research suggests that avoiding an opportunity out of fear can make you less creative and increasingly conservative in your approach to learning. By helping students focus on what they can control and reminding them how they can influence the outcome of a situation, you can help them enhance both their motivation and confidence towards their studies.
"One Day at A Time"
Don’t dwell on the past or think too much about the future. There are times when it is nice to reminisce or when it is important to make plans for our future, but one of the best ways to stop worrying is to take things one day at a time. Practice mindfulness to increase your self-awareness and improve your psychological well-being by becoming more present in your own environment. Living in the present will help you cherish each moment and make the most of your day.
Sometimes, your now won’t be the greatest; you may be going through something difficult to deal with, however, even facing this head on will be beneficial for you. Evidence also shows that those who keep a sense of perspective are likely to develop resilience; allowing students to get back on their feet quicker after a tough time.
"Accept What You Can’t Control"
It’s easier said than done, but acceptance is a big step towards reducing stress and feeling calm once again. Acknowledge that there will be things you can’t control and that change can be important to our development. The uncertainty that comes along with focusing on the uncontrollables can breed stress which will subsequently have further harmful effects.
The Mental Health Foundation suggests that a great way to remove uncertainty is by relating your situation to something you have previously experienced. This will remove the ambiguity and simultaneously reduce stress. Take a step back and accept that there are certain things that you must allow to naturally take their course. Everything will be okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, then it’s simply not the end!
Making a clear distinction between what you can and can’t control is an important step on the path to well-being. Encourage your students to live in the moment and make the most of each day. This will help improve their overall psychological well-being and the positive effects will be evident in their academics. Using the 3 brilliant sentences is a simple yet effective way to relieve some of the stress your students may be facing and bring their focus back to positive and optimistic thinking.
We have put together free resource six-packs to help support you during lockdown. There is something for everyone: teachers, parents and students. Download them for free here.
We also recommend our free printable goal setting worksheets. They will help students develop and maintain a good routine to promote their learning and well-being during lockdown.