Decreasing Anxiety and Stress
The following guidance lesson will instruct students in elementary school (grades 3-5) on how to manage stress and develop positive strategies to eradicate their anxiety. Students will be equipped with mechanisms and holistic (mind and body) outlets to handle stress and anxiety. Students will perform skits and role-playing to demonstrate their understanding of lesson plans. Counselors or teachers will be equipped with typical scenarios that students may deal with on a daily basis and reenact them with their class. Some examples of learning techniques will include:
Affirmation (positive reinforcements)
Visualization (imagining a peaceful place – happy place)
Controlled breathing (om)
Muscle relaxation (verbal direction)
Calming Glitter (Pinterest activity)
After implementing our guidance lesson we hope students will have a toolbox of strategies they may execute when anxiety or stress arise. These strategies are not confined to any particular stress or anxiety but are practical to any variety of situations.
In order to achieve these goals as counselors we need to provide a suitable environment for students. For example when performing the holistic practices a preferred environment would be open and spacious for students. If practicing in a classroom, creating an open space for students is preferable. The calming glitter activity would be well accepted in a “quiet corner” in order for students to refocus their energy and center themselves.
Counselors can only teach so much, for students to really understand we would have them act out scenarios and role-play the different strategies. This is an opportunity also for students to see each type of technique being performed so they may in the future choose a technique that is suitable for them.
Students will understand that stress is universal and comes in a variety of different scenarios
Students will be equipped with an array of techniques to manage stressful situations
Students will have a go-to strategy to use when feelings of stress occur
Lesson Plan: Decrease Stress
To begin our lesson we will gather children around and discuss what stress and anxiety are. How they are relatable them?
Step 1: Teacher
Comes in disheveled out of place (different shoe on each foot) demonstrate to children stress and anxiety. A visual and physical look to it then discuss the feelings that come with it. A group discussion about what could cause these feelings. For students and teacher. Engage students in describing what anxiety and stress feel like? Ex: yell, throw, cry, anger, sadness, stomach pain, scared
Step 2: Glitter Calmer
Students will be introduced to the glitter bottle first. This technique will be a visually engaging way to keep the momentum going. Students will create their own version of a glitter bottle that will be theirs solely. Counselors will explain the rules of the bottle. Each bottle is a clear soda pop bottle filled with water and glitter. Student who is under pressure or is anxious will shake the bottle. This action is very important as it release physical tension. (Keep bottle sealed very tightly) After shaking bottle student will set it down and calmly watch the glitter fall. The goal of this activity is to have the student focus on the glitter falling while their nerves/emotions settle. It is important that the student retain focus so that they may feel a calming sensation.
Step 3: Stress Management Techniques
Students will learn stress management techniques that they can practically apply to every day situations. Counselors will explain and model each technique and allow students to try them for themselves.
These techniques include:
- Positive Reinforcements: Students will think of a mantra to calm them, such as “I am calm. I am relaxed. I am happy.” They will then write their mantra on a provided note card. They can look at the mantra on their note card or think of it when they become stressed.
- Visualizations: Students will think of a calming place to mentally escape to when they feel stress coming on. This could be anything from walking on a beach to riding on a cloud.
- Controlled Breathing: Students will learn to calm themselves through paying attention to the rate of their breathing. Students will breathe in as the counselor counts to 4 and breath out on a count of 4.
- Muscle Relaxation: Students will calm themselves through paying attention to muscle tension. Counselors will start by telling students to relax their feet, and then progress to knees, back, shoulders and neck.
Step 4: What did we teach you?
Today we taught you strategies in decreasing stress and anxiety using holistic techniques and glitter calmer.
Step 5: Assess & Measure
After we have gone over in detail the previous steps students can go through in preventing stress and anxiety we will ask the students to act in skits. These skits will be pre thought out as typical stressful situations students may encounter in school or at home. Some examples of skits include: arguments with friends, pre-test anxiety and angry with siblings. We will ask students to act out and portray the techniques they were taught to show deep understanding, first as a class, then in partners. As a class, two volunteers will be asked to act out a skit and afterwards, the counselors will ask the class which technique they would use to calm themselves. In pairs, students will be given scenarios and will act them out. Counselors will walk around and monitor students to ensure they are on-task. Working in pairs will help shyer students to engage with the material.
Step 6: Closing and Follow-up
Students who come to the counseling office feeling stressed will be asked whether they used their chosen technique yet. If they have not, they will then be encouraged to use their technique to distress. If they have, counselors will work with the student to find a new technique that fits them better.
Teachers will have a go-to place for students to deescalate and use their glitter calmers.