Stress. We’ve all got it. I’ve got it. You’ve got it. Your kids have it. Some stress is good for us – it can help motivate us to do stuff and it activates our brain so that we really pay attention to what we are doing. But too much stress and those benefits go away. Too much stress and your brain starts worrying and stops working. You actually lose IQ points when you have too much stress. This is a problem. We’ve got 7 tips for building your stress-tolerance!
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Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg researches resilience, which requires a lot of stress-tolerance, and he’s got seven tips to help us manage our stress.
1. Make problems manageable. The more you do this, the more it will become a habit every time something stressful pops up.
- “Summit one mountain. When fully done, look up then” he says.
- Have a plan of how you’re going to achieve your goal. It’s much scarier before you have that plan because the obstacle seems so much larger and impossible to overcome.
- Help your child figure out what the problem is and how to overcome it, step by step, focusing just on one at a time.
2. Actively avoid stress-triggers.
- Talk with your child about what or who triggers their stress and think about ways they might be able to avoid some of those triggers to make their school days better.
- Anxiety is a bunch of extra energy coursing through your body, so Ginsburg says “we use up anxiety when we exercise.” And that will leave you feeling less anxious when you are done.
- Breathing, in particular, calms your entire system. And meditating helps to calm your mind. When you are calm, you are much more effective at overcoming obstacles.
- When I’m stressed, I try to act quickly to relieve the stress. But I don’t always do a great job and then the stress returns. If I can calm myself down, I can go slowly and smoothly – do a good job, and be done faster.
- We all do better with sleep. We are happier and less stressed.
- We often think of sleep as nice to have, but really, it’s an absolute necessity.
6. Take vacations.
- Give yourself breaks and make them truly rejuvenating, like practice yoga or go for a walk. Scrolling through an app on your phone is not rejuvenating.
7. Contribute to the world.
- It makes you feel good to have something bigger than yourself that you’re working on. This can help protect you from stress that pops up when you are working on achieving it. Or, even when you’re not.
- And just because kids are young doesn’t mean they can’t contribute to the world. There are lots of things they can do, like be a bully buster or volunteer.
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