The “Stress Young Person’s Fact Sheet” is a comprehensive resource designed to educate young people about stress, its symptoms, causes, and how to manage it effectively. The key elements of the fact sheet include:
- Definition of Stress: It describes stress as a normal emotion that everyone experiences at different points in their lives, explaining that it can sometimes be beneficial but can become problematic when it starts to negatively impact daily life, such as social interactions and academic performance.
- Signs and Symptoms of Stress: The fact sheet lists various signs and symptoms of stress, categorising them into observable behaviours (like withdrawal, isolation, and poor eating habits) and physical symptoms (such as tense muscles, insomnia, and stomach aches).
- Understanding the Fight or Flight Response: It provides an explanation of the body’s natural response to perceived danger or stress, known as the fight or flight response, and how this response is still relevant today despite different types of stressors compared to ancient times.
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): The fact sheet introduces CBT, explaining how thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are interconnected, and how CBT techniques can be used to break the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings associated with stress.
- Addressing Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs): It discusses NATs and provides strategies to challenge and change these automatic negative thoughts, using the metaphor of a ‘poisonous parrot’ to illustrate how such thoughts can be persistent and detrimental.
- Behavioural Strategies and Problem Solving: The sheet provides practical advice on managing stress through balancing routine, enjoyable, and necessary activities, and includes a step-by-step problem-solving guide.
- Tips for Managing Stress: The fact sheet concludes with suggestions for activities that can help manage stress, like going for a walk, spending time with friends, or engaging in hobbies.
Overall, this resource is an effective tool for young people to understand stress and learn practical strategies for managing it, promoting mental wellbeing and resilience.