The PSLE examinations is just round the corner, and often the word “stress” is frequently on the lips of many a 12-year-olds as well as their parents who often share in the same stress. Two weeks ago, BCCSC YouthSpace conducted a 2-day study camp for the Primary 6 students and part of the programme touched on the topic of stress management. Here are some key principles and activities we went through with the youths.
Recognizing When Stress Turns Bad.
Stress is a mental or emotional pressure a person goes through due to a demanding situation. It is neither good nor bad in itself but its impact on our well-being depends on how we manage stress. Stress can help motivate us to focus and prepare us for greater challenges ahead.
Stress becomes bad when it becomes unmanageable and it affects our personal health. Sometimes, we are not even aware that we are in a state of bad stress.
Here are some of the symptoms of bad stress:
These signs are not just for ourselves, but for one another. When you observe friends and loved ones exhibiting these symptoms, it is likely that they are experiencing bad stress.
Bad Stress Is Caused By The Way You Deal with It.
Activity – Chair Challenge
We challenged the youths on who could hold a chair off the ground the longest. Following the activity, we questioned them. How heavy was the chair?
In our discussion with them, we concluded that the weight of the chair does not matter. The strain got worst with time and what really mattered was how the chair was carried and for how long.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lou Holtz
Positive self-talk is one way to reduce bad stress. We may not be able to change things like the difficulty of questions set in the examination papers or work deadlines and responsibilities, but we can be in control of our thoughts and time.
Activity – Castle Visualization Exercise
Following the chair activity, our YouthSpace staff also went through a few positive self-talk activities with the youths.
The youths were asked to describe a grand castle, in their own style and preference. Each visualized their own castle which represents themselves. Every door and room in the castle holds a treasure and represents their individual potential.
Whenever an individual tries something new, it is like opening a door in the castle. Negative remarks and giving in to the idea that you are not good enough means giving up on a door and leads to leaving areas of the castle unexplored and abandoned.
Everyone has the power to choose what we believe in and hence our thoughts. Erase negative remarks like ‘I am not good enough’ and maximise your potential, your castle.
Maximise Your Time
Instead of spending emotional energy or time fretting over circumstances or struggling to multitask, create a project timeline or task list so that you can work on things of higher priority in chronological order. Draft a timeline for major projects and use bit-sized milestones to help yourself stay focused and motivated.
Activity – Making Your Own Study Planner
YouthSpace also screened the following Youtube video to the youths on how to make your own study planner.
Some of pointers shared by Mariana on the video:
- Make sure you have a good sleep the night before an examination paper
- Try to start your study plan a few weeks before your first paper begins
- Mark out examination days and do not plan any study on those days
- Breakdown each subject into chapters and colour code them on your calendar
- Remember to plan for idle days as well as revision days
For every one of us, young or old, there will occasionally be difficult and stressful events which are unavoidable.
Knowing when you are experiencing bad stress is the first step to countering its negative effect. We may not be able to change some circumstances, but we can be in control of our thoughts and time.
Everyone has their own methods of dealing with stress. What are some positive methods that work for you? Do share with us!
YouthSpace has five core values – Safety, Purpose, Acceptance, Compassion and Empowerment. These five values are shared with all youths and volunteers who join us. In all our activities and games, we emphasize the need for safety and seek to instil a sense of purpose and empowerment. Our youths come from diverse backgrounds, but we cultivate in them the ability to accept each other’s differences and advocate compassion.
If you are keen to join BCCSC as a volunteer, do contact us through our online signup form. Bethesda Care & Counselling Services Centre is located at 300 Bedok North Avenue 3. For more information, please visit our website or our Facebook page.