We live in a world of high expectations. It is a very common sight to see mama and papa coming in stressed out from work. The mental tiredness is very evident on their faces as they sit down to sip a cup of well deserved tea at the end of the day.
Stress has become part of everybody's life these days. While we think stress is only for the adults, have we ever given a thought to the stressful situations our minds go through as we move on with our day?
style='MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt'>Stress is part of our everyday life even as children. Jacqueline was returning home from school. At the zebra crossing, as she was trying to get to the other side, she suddenly noticed a scooterist coming on at a high speed and heading in her direction. She was stunned with fright for a moment and her heart skipped a beat, but then she used her reflexes and moved away from the path the scooter was headed thus avoiding an accident. Jacqueline faced a few minutes of stress and managed it well.
We face this stress when we watch India playing another country in a cricket match. We have a boisterous hurray when we win and an angry expression when we lose. This pounding of the heart when we face various physical, emotional and behavioral reactions all amount to showing symptoms of facing potentially stressful situations.
Stress and time
So much is spoken about time management today. Not keeping track of our time and using is judiciously seems to be the main cause for a mentally strained living in school-going children. It is very normal for us to be always rushing with our assignments at the last minute or doing our homework just before going to bed or even worse just before class begins the next morning.
Dwayne was always late on his homework. His aunt who was visiting the family noticed that this happened on a regular basis. She decided she would try and help Dwayne a bit on this since she had immense experience as a teacher. 'Let us have a task diary for your daily chores,' suggested Aunt Sheila. They both then made a list of activities that Dwayne did through the day and made a list of the most time-consuming activities. Their list included:
Talking on the phone
Listening to music and lounging
Playing games or surfing the web
Spending time with the family
Homework and regular study
His aunt was well aware that Dwayne was overdoing most of the things in the list like watching TV, napping, talking on the phone, etc. So she decided to concentrate on these time-wasters. 'Let us estimate the time you will take for each of these,' suggested Aunt Sheila and then Dwayne started keeping track of how much time he actually consumed on each. This chart and a continuous evaluation then helped him set entirely new goals and eventually Dwayne went on to changing his habits for the better, ending up a much more punctual lad.
Procrastination is very common in whatever we do. We love to put off things to a later date which usually never comes by. A little procrastination is ok, but when overdone it can be a potentially dangerous time-waster.
Jerome wanted to get over his habit of delaying his work since it was building up a lot of stress within himself. He went to his father for advice. His father guided him the right way, 'Son, you need to turn off the music when you study. It is not possible to study with music on. I have also noticed that Rover is always around you when you study. I think you should put the dog out before you start.' Jerome was now listening with rapt attention as his father continued, 'I would suggest you completely turn off the TV and also ignore the phone ringing. Mum or I could answer it.' His father ended on a humourous note, 'Son, don't forget to take the sandwich to your study-table. It would save you a lot of time, because it otherwise takes you around half an hour to get it at your break!'
Organizing yourself can be a challenge and a pleasure as well. It would be a good idea to get your hands on a few highlighter pens, folders, colored labels and sticky notes. You could select a color for each subject. Maybe you can use orange for history, brown for geography, etc. It would be a good idea to then make a mental connection between the color and the subject. It would mean using green – representing money – to mathematics. Make sure the color and the subject you choose it for make sense.
Julio was asked to work on an assignment on water-bodies for his geography class. 'A little hard-work can make my assignment simply magnificent,' said Julio to himself. He started off very systematically. He went in search of sources to accumulate information and used his school library and the internet most of the way. He also went around delving into magazines, journals and whatever data he could get his hands on. He even visited his neighbourhood spring and took pictures with a digital camera he borrowed from his father.
After scanning through all the data he had collected, it was time for Julio to make notes. Again he used color-coding for the topics and sub-topics and used the highlighter to emphasize on points he thought were important.
'I need to arrange these under their respective topics,' thought Julio and got about doing that while also trying to organize a presentable outline for his well-researched project. Even before he knew about it, his first draft was ready and his project was well on the way to completion before the deadline. All he needed to do now was to proof-read the notes and prepare a final print of all the pages and bind them into a pleasant volume to submit to his teacher.
Success is at hand
Success can be very enjoyable when it comes with achievement and a stress-free approach. It is always a good idea to work with a friend. Compare notes and exchange ideas. I am sure our parents would love to be part of our success, so why not involve them?
If you have done a good job, it is important to reward yourself. Even a small chocolate for a job well done is a good reward. Don't forget to laugh and include good humour all the time. Laughter is one of the best stress-relievers that can give you peace of mind to work dedicatedly towards your goal. Finally, don't forget to have a party after you reach your goal.