- To understand what anxiety and stress are.
- To understand how anxiety and stress can affect us physically and psychologically.
- To learn some ways of managing stress and anxiety.
- To experiment with these strategies in between lessons.
1. What is anxiety?
- Ask pupils to discuss and write down what they think anxiety is. Ask them to avoid writing down causes of anxiety or what anxiety feels like, but instead try to identify what anxiety itself is.
- Get feedback from the class.
- Use slides to correct any misunderstanding.
2. What is anxiety like?
- Ask pupils to identify how they feel when they are anxious. What do they feel in their body and where do they feel it? Ask them to do this individually on paper, perhaps using a stick man image to help them.
- Ask pupils to share their ideas with the people around them. What do they share and what is different? (Getting to the idea that we can experience emotions in different ways and in different intensities.)
- Now ask pupils to identify the events that can lead to anxiety and also to identify the kinds of thoughts that they have that lead to anxiety (there are some prompts on the slides). They could write these as speech bubbles around the head of their stick man.
- You need to be cautious here: these are private matters and some pupils will (quite rightly) not want to share this part of their interior life with others.
3. Dealing with anxiety.
- Remind pupils of the A B C which they learned in the 3rd Form. The basic idea is that Adversities happen (just the facts of the situation); we have Beliefs or thoughts about those Adversities and our Beliefs affect the way we feel and what we do: the Consequences.
- Ask pupils in pairs to come up with how the anxiety thoughts on the slides might make a person feel and what they might make them do. Feed these examples back as a whole class.
- One way of dealing with anxiety thoughts is to try to challenge them by 1. looking for evidence to show they are not entirely true; 2. by looking for alternative ways of seeing the situation or; 3. by looking at the situation more optimistically in terms of what they can do to change it.
- Ask pupils to work in pairs. They should take an anxiety thought and see if they can find evidence to make it more accurate; find an alternative way of seeing the situation; or find solutions to it (optimism).
- Ask for some examples of how they have transformed an anxiety thought into something more flexible and accurate. Ask them how the new thinking might affect how they feel and what they do.
- Look at the anxiety basic check list on the slides. Ask pupils what they think about these suggestions.
- Share the how to stress yourself out information with the pupils.
- Ask them for their reactions.
- Play pupils The Truth About Stress clip.
- Ask pupils what this clip seems to suggest about the value of stress.
- Ask pupils to read the flipside of ‘how to stress yourself out’, which discusses how to calm yourself down.
- Ask pupils to discuss in pairs which of the suggestions for calming themselves down from stress they would adopt.
Prep: ask pupils to try evidence/optimism/alternatives AND one of the suggestions for calming themselves down over the next 2 weeks and to write about the effect it has.