As the holidays begin to approach us, I would like to take this month’s column to address that six letter word that descends upon us: stress. In our society, our students and families face a myriad of pressures that create lots of stress. Stress comes from trying to fit in with the crowd, examination stress, financial stress, keeping up with the Jones’ stress and just getting along with others.
Rather than focus on the stressors, I would like to recommend some ways that parents can work with their families and especially our school age students to help them “chill” and survive the school year.
1. Mediation and nature – There has been a lot of research that focuses on hyperactivity in students today. Many psychologists and social workers point to that fact that spending time relating to nature lowers our stress levels. Listening to meditation music of the sounds of nature whether they be the baling of whales, chirping of birds or the crashing of waves on the surf will do wonders for reducing stress. As a family go for a walk in the park, a hike in the mountains or walk along the beach or plan a drive to an orchard and have a great fall picnic all of which will reduce stress.
2. Quiet time – Everyone in society is always racing somewhere, communicating constantly via social media and caught up in the “noise” of living. Set aside 30 minutes a day in your house when all communication devices, cell phones, tablets, computers, radios and televisions are all turned off and your home is silent. Encourage everyone to do something quiet, like read a book for pleasure, mediate, do yoga, draw, sketch or just lay back and think and breathe.
3. Listen to classical music. Studies have shown that the beat of a classical piece of music sets a calming pace for the heart and helps to reduce stress.
Finally, during this month in which we give thanks, share a meal at least once a week, when the entire family is present, cell-phone free and break bread with an invigorating conversation.
Enjoy and be stress free.