2What is Stress?I’m aware that many of you are feeling very stressed out at the moment; with coursework, revision and your GCSE’s just around the corner – that’s why I wanted to talk to you about stress today and give you some ideas on how you can help yourself cope.Stress is your body's normal reaction to change – this much work, this much pressure is not the norm for you. Stress is an internal reaction, although external factors, (such as revision and exams), may trigger stress.Feeling stressed generally means feeling anxious about something that you're having difficulty controlling or confronting.Some stress is beneficial to us. It's part of our natural warning system, making us alert to danger and ready to run from threatening situations. In an exam situation, a small amount of adrenaline pumping through your body keeps you alert.
3What are the Symptoms?Stress isn't new, it’s been around for hundreds of years, but it's only recently that the medical community is beginning to appreciate the psychological and physical impact of stress on the body.In fact, the physical effects of stress are a normal animal response, which in times of danger could save your life. When it's under threat, like it would have been if you bumped into this sabre toothed tiger, your body releases a rush of adrenaline in order to allow a 'fight or flight' response – that is to give you the push you need to fight the threat or to run away from it.As a result your pulse rate increases, blood pressure goes up, blood sugars are raised and blood is diverted to the important organs such as the lungs, heart and muscles. In extreme cases, as an attempt to shed weight quicker in order to run faster, the bowel and bladder may empty too, hence the well known phrase!In fact, stress can cause any of the following symptoms…. (new slide)
4Stress Symptoms Palpitations Sweating Irritability Tiredness Loss of appetiteDizzinessUnusual emotional feelings / mood swingsDifficulty sleepingIndigestion and / or diarrhoeaIrritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)Feeling generally unwell or unable to relaxPoor sleepLow self-esteemDepression
5A Healthy Body = A Healthy Mind Make sure you’re eating properly and regularlyEat a variety of healthy foodsSkipping meals may well give you extra cramming time, but it can also leave you hungry and unable to concentrateBrain FuelBread, pasta, cereals and potatoes are filling and packed with starchy carbohydrates, which release energy slowly, meaning you can keep going for longer.Fruit and vegetables give you essential vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least five portions a day.Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydrated brains don't think clearly and water is healthier than sweet, fizzy drinks.Remember to treat yourself too!
6Exercise RegularlyExercise helps your body release pent-up stress. It also will make your body stronger and better able to cope with ongoing stress.The best type of exercise for improving the way your body reacts to stress is aerobic exercise.Make sure you have fun!
7Relaxation & Leisure Time Exercise may be included in what you call your leisure time, but make time to put your feet up and relax too.You may feel like you're wasting time by watching ‘The Simpsons’ every week, but it's therapy!Make sure you don’t become isolated, get out with friends and have fun!
8Sleep WellNot getting enough quality sleep may make your body more vulnerable to stressIf possible, try to sleep the same hours every night - including weekends.Your body likes cycles and routine, (remember - it reacts poorly to change).Start by getting up at the same time each morning, and adjust your bed time as needed until you have a regular schedule.Use breathing exercises and relaxation CD’s.
9Think Positively (Change Negative Thinking) You don’t need to be happy and cheerful all of the time to cope with stress. Bad stuff goes on in the world and you’re going to feel down some of the time, especially at your age with all those hormones swarming around your body – remember this is NORMAL.However, if you put yourself down a lot; feel angry much of the time; have trouble being assertive; dislike yourself; constantly criticize yourself; and generally never have a single positive thought in your head, you probably won't be able to handle stress very well.When you feel yourself thinking negatively, actively try to think of something positive instead, this will soon become a habit.
10Learn to Manage Your Time Stress often comes when you feel rushed and overwhelmed, so make sure that you have enough time to do everything.Time management might mean that you have to cut one or a few activities out of your life during the run-up to the exams.It might mean creating a number of firm routines and following your revision programme, so that you have flexibility in other parts of your life. Only you can decide what is right for you.Remember: Stress results from change, creating a few predictable routines in your life will really help? This is also important before you go to sleep.
11Procrastination (Putting things off until the last minute!) Procrastination actually causes stress and anxiety.Do things before you get to ‘panic mode’. Always get things done long before the deadline and you will see your stress levels reduce immediately.There are many reasons why we procrastinate…..
12Fear of failure -- Fear of failure can be paralyzing Fear of failure -- Fear of failure can be paralyzing. If you’re already stressed out, you may even convince yourself that failing at a small task will result in devastating consequences. Remember - Just DO YOUR BEST.Fear of success -- Success should be a positive situation. However, some people worry that, if they complete an excellent piece of work, they will set the bar too high and then everyone will forever more expect that standard from them! All you can do on each separate occasion is your best!Perfectionism – can lead to an inability to even start a task, it can feel so overwhelming – I’ll talk more about this in a second. AGAIN – JUST DO YOUR BEST!Boredom - Perhaps you just aren't interested in the subject. How do you motivate yourself to do something you dislike? You don’t have much choice at this stage, so just do the best you can.Anger - Maybe you're angry at you parents or teachers who are constantly nagging you - so you put off doing the work to get at them. Remember: Your results are for YOU, not for anybody else, so get selfish and get the job done.Lack of skills or information - You don't start the work because you can't, and you're afraid to let someone know. That’s why we’re here! Just make the time and see your subject teacher straight away!Distractions – Distractions, even those you are creating yourself. Remember, you may need to put some of the things you normally do, like seeing your friends most nights, or always watching television or playing video games, on hold during the run-up to the exams – something has got to give and it’s only for a short while.It all seems too huge - you're too overwhelmed to know where to start. This is why we’ve been nagging you for ages to make a REVISION PLAN – break it down into manageable chunks – it will feel overwhelming otherwise.
13Are you a Perfectionist? Perfection is absolutely impossible. If you don't let go of perfectionism, you really can't fully let go of stress, because you'll always be critical of yourself. The two main goals for eliminating perfectionism are:Learning the difference between "the best you can do" and "perfect"Praising yourself for every last accomplishment, every day, no matter how small it seemsREMEMBER : JUST DO THE BEST YOU CAN!
14Oxygen (Life’s Natural Tranquiliser) Breathing ExercisesLack of oxygen makes you feel tired and sluggish. The following exercise is a simple way to deepen breathing. It will immediately increase energy, make you mentally alert and take away feelings of tension and stress.It’s easy and can be done at any time:Before you start revisingBefore you go to sleepBefore you start an examAND IT WORKS!
15STRESS BUSTING BREATHING EXERCISE Sit up straight, (or stand or lie down). Breathe out.Breathe in deeply and, at the same time, relax your belly muscles. Feel as though your belly is filling with air. You will feel your stomach pushing outwards.After filling the belly, keep inhaling. Fill up the middle of your chest. Feel your chest and rib cage expand.Hold the breath in for a moment, then begin to exhale as slowly as possible.As the air is slowly let out, relax your chest and rib cage. Begin to pull your belly in to force out the remaining breath.Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.Relax your face and body.Clear your mind and let everything go.Try to do this for 3-5 minutes.This has an immediate effect – you will feel relaxed but alert and your mind will feel clear. Remember – oxygen is life’s natural tranquiliser!
16Six Golden RulesStick to fulfilling your potential, not other people's expectations.Ask for help if you need it.Take time out and relax, it will pay off.Focus on yourself, not on what anyone else thinks or does.Remember, this is not your only chance to prove yourself.Believe in yourself, you've got no reason not to.
17Key Stage 4 Noticeboard (and from Mrs Emerson) Breathing exercise instructionsFull set of Revision Tips and TechniquesList of recommended Revision Websites
18Good Luck!From Mrs Emerson, Mr Woodhouse, your Form Tutors and all of the Key Stage 4 TeachersRemember – we’re here to help YOU!I’ll leave you with this saying…“Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday!”