• What’s a 13 year old know about stress?

    What did you get out of 56?

    My daughter came home and in Health and Humanities class (which is what exactly) they took a “stress test”.

    They had a bunch of questions and when all was said and done mine told us, many of the kids in the class got upwards of 35.

    The worst score possible is 56. The alligator is clamping down onto your torso, you get a 56. Some of the kids got into the mid 40’s!! Like holly cow, someone might want to talk to them about it.

    From 2001 to 2010 I taught stress management classes to schools (students and teachers), young adults at risk (to get in the class you needed a criminal charge or conviction), to white and blue collar people currently out of work and I guess to the people that came to the clinic.

    It was interesting to hear what my daughter was told “stress” was. I have studied the topic of stress since 1985 and what the teacher told her was only partially correct.

    The first thing a person needs to do when discussing a word’s meaning is to look it up. We can list all kinds of words that have changed meanings over the last 50 years, sometimes the last 50 days, but the original meaning is very helpful in dealing with this particular word.

    Stress: the body’s reaction to any change that requires an adjustment or response.
    source: clevelandclinic.org

    That is the correct definition. The one I use is “any input to your body“. But what do most people think the word stress means? As my daughter heard today it was “something bad to something neutral”.

    How we get to that is from dictionary.com their definition is, importance attached to a thing. We normally attach more importance to negative things, which is interesting.

    Popular culture (the media) makes things look easy and common but they are anything but easy and common. Like being a multi millionaire, having a six-pack, perfect hair and makeup….

    Many people don’t think of gravity as stress, but it’s not a bad thing, unless you are on a looooooong run. Or the stress of the first lick of a big ice cream cone, or the pressure of diving into the water.

    Many of the students listed their stress as; not enough free time, my parents yell at me when I get bad grades, acne, peer pressure, getting on a good sports team, friends, enemy’s, teachers, phone plan….

    I want to put something into perspective. You may be surprised to know my Acupuncture teacher was born in Algeria, Africa. Just after her 13th birthday (the current age of my child) the French/Algerian war broke out and she fought for her life in that war, it was horrible.

    When my kid asks for a new I-phone, I certainly don’t say there are children dying in Africa from war, your just lucky to be here. That’s no going to help anyone. I may think that, but it would NOT NOT NOT help to say it.

    My teacher thinks because kids in Africa (and other parts of the world) have real dangers, real negative stress events and real hardships. They have something they can actually do about it. That being to survive and every night they go to sleep knowing they made it.

    Here many of the kids have stresses that are very difficult to pin down. If I get 100 likes today, I need 200 tomorrow and when I don’t get them I freak out. How exactly can we fix that? It involves the conversation a person has with themselves about the “stress event”. More about that another day.

    Here is a web site that I think has very good resource and explanations on the various types of Stress. I have no affiliation with them. You can also come by the clinic and we can do all kinds of things about good and negatively affecting stress.

    Here are a couple of things I have done for a while.

    Step 1. Only in death will stress end. But that’s only a theory, no one knows for sure, so don’t be in a rush to try that solution. Did you know that when I was 23 I died, for a brief amount of time.

    Step 2. What you focus on grows. Surround yourself with things you want to grow.

    Step 3. Proper amounts of breathing, sleep and water are magic, especially with kids. They are in order of importance.

    Step 3. Did I mention what you focus on grows? Radically limit things in your life you do not want to grow. Lets start with the news, violent entertainment, negative self talk.

    Step 4. Read step 2 a couple of more times.

    Step 5. When in doubt, let me tell you something. YOU ARE AN AMAZING BEAUTIFUL PERSON, THE WORLD IS LUCKY TO HAVE YOU!!!

    In case you are wondering my kid got 18. The lowest score possible was 14.

    Be Well,
    Ward Willison
    Kelowna Acupuncture & Other Natural Therapies