Which is our bigger issue: That we have too many stressors or that we lack management strategies?
There’s no doubt that we — and our students — have a lot of stressors in life. Economic challenges. Political conflict. Constant pinging and pelting of social media compulsions and comparisons.
But a simple activity that I’ve done with thousands of adults and teenagers across the U.S. surprised me. I ask individuals to draw a t-chart and list their stressors on one column and their management strategies on the other.
People are great at listing their strategies, averaging 10+ things that stress them out. But the average amount of coping strategies? 4. Even more surprising than the sparsity in number is the uniformity of approach.
The most dominant strategy people use to manage stress is distraction — avoiding the stressor. No doubt, this can be a great strategy. But it doesn’t work for everything (that deadline won’t go away just because you binge Netflix). And, it’s not the only strategy.
Below, I have a free resource: The 5 D-Stress strategies we should all have in our coping capacity. Diversify your and your students’ strategies with the what, why, and how of managing stress.