These resources are starting points. They represent a fraction of the research I’ve read and that I talk about when delivering a talk at a conference or school. If you’re interested in that, please see my Speaking area here.
If you are looking for the articles I write for my site, on this and other topics, click here.
Introducing my viewpoint
Why should schools care about stress?
Three reasons: first, because they are and should be caring places. Second, because stress affects performance and results. And third, because stress management is a life skill and schools have a duty to teach it.
If you represent a school, easily the best way to educate your students about wellbeing and stress would be to buy a licence for Stress Well for Schools: it’s a complete and ready-to-use set of materials designed for you.
My own resources
MY CLASSROOM RESOURCES: Brain Sticks and Stress Well for Schools provide a comprehensive way to teach wellbeing management to people of all ages.
Positively Teenage and FLOURISH
F is for FOOD
L is for LIQUID
O is for OXYGEN
U is for USE
R is for RELAXATION
I is for INTEREST
S is for SLEEP
H is for Happiness
If you’d like to download a FLOURISH poster or postcard for printing, there are some on the Positively Teenage page.
There are also free teaching notes on that Positively Teenage page.
52 Ways to Well-Being
I’m creating 52 Ways to Well-Being. To find the ones I’ve done so far, see here. They are suitable for all ages.
My book, Body Brilliant, deals in detail with this, tackling the (fascinating!) psychology as well as practical tips for both a better body image and a healthier body. You’ll find resources for this on the Body Brilliant page here. There are free teaching notes and various downloadable and printable extras.
Resources I recommend
General sites to help you understand stress and boost wellbeing:
Experience life: https://experiencelife.com/article/the-science-of-stress/
BBC Science: http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/21685448
National Geographic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyBsy5SQxqU
How your attitude to stress affects how it affects you
An interesting intro to this idea here: https://redbooth.com/blog/positive-attitude-towards-stress. “But an emerging body of research shows that the harmful part of stress often stems from believing that stress is terrible for you. One study from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, published in the journal Health Psychology, found that 182,000 people may have died prematurely because they believed their stress was bad for their health. The perception of stress was significant — not just the stress itself.”
See Dr Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk on the topic: https://www.ted.com/talks/kelly_mcgonigal_how_to_make_stress_your_friend
Negative effects of cortisol build-up
From Psychology Today, “Cortisol: Why the “Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1”: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
Personality and Stress
Type A personality trait and stress, from Simply Psychology: https://www.simplypsychology.org/personality-a.html
From Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/lib/stress-and-personality/
From NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22271841
Positive effects on stress of physical exercise
Scientists are united on the benefits of physical exercise on stress. Here are some references:
From Science Direct: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027273589900032X and a population study in Finland http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091743599905972
From the BMJ – Physical exercise and psychological wellbeing: a critical review by D Scully et al http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/32/2/111.short
Interested in mindfulness?
Personally, I’m not. I’m quite drained by people seeming to think it’s the answer to everyone’s stress. Undoubtedly it helps some people – even many people – but it doesn’t help everyone. Ever the idea makes me stressed! Keep it away from me but do try it yourself. If you do try it, be taught it properly, by someone who has done more than attend an 8-session course… And don’t worry if it doesn’t work for you. Someone who suffers a diagnosed or severe anxiety disorder or a mental illness should only do mindfulness under the guidance of a clinical psychologist, in my view.
Some stress-busting Apps are reviewed here: https://www.inc.com/lolly-daskal/13-of-the-best-apps-to-manage-stress.html
Learn to Stress Less by Dr Vee Freir is very practical and simple http://www.dr-vee.co.uk/
Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Dale Carnegie is a bit fluffy for my liking but everyone’s different!
And here is a useful list with comments about each title: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/stress-books/
I hope you have found this selection of resources useful. Remember they are only starting points and there is much more in the rest of my website, books and classroom resources. Do ask me to come and speak to your audience – teenagers or adults. Adults need this just as much as young people and if we’re struggling with stress ourselves it’s much harder to care for other people. See the Speaking section of my website.