Last week, we discussed how parents can look out for stress symptoms in their child. This week, we will discuss tips on how to manage stress. It is imperative to know how to deal with stress; poor management may snowball into mental health conditions like anxiety. In an academics-driven and prevalent tuition centre culture in Singapore, it is no surprise that such conditions have increased over the years. To encourage cultivating stress-management habits, we have come up with the easy-to-remember acronym RELAX.
- R elax
The first tip may seem like a no-brainer but it is easily the most important. When confronted with stressful situations, it is good to take a step back from the situation and engage in deep breathing.
Breathing exercises help the body relax by loosening the tense muscles and practicing mindfulness. This is pertinent specially to combat physical symptoms of stress. For tension headaches, consider gently massaging your forehead in circular motions to relax the muscles there. More often than not, the shoulders are also tense when stressed. This can be alleviated by placing your hands on your shoulders and gently rolling your shoulders forwards and backwards.
- E xpress feelings
Humans are cathartic beings. When we experience stress, we tend to bottle up our emotions and thoughts inside. To relieve stress, we have to let out these pent-up emotions to experience catharsis. Parents can encourage their children to do so by letting them confide into you. This means being patient and open to the way your child expresses emotions. If they seem reluctant, try not to pressure them. Instead let them know you are always there to listen when he or she is ready. Alternatively, encourage them to express these emotions in writing through a diary.
- L isten to relaxing music
Listening to soothing music can give the mind a break from feeling stressed. Relaxing binaural music has the optimum frequency of beats that relaxes the brain. They also relieve physiological symptoms. Helping to slow down the pulse and heart rate, it lowers the levels of stress hormones released in the body. Recommended meditation music channels, like https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCqzGz_VVRYMpCAScqc9ThQ can go a long way in relieving stress. When doing an important assignment, like tuition centre homework, consider listening to such soothing music.
Today, we have learnt the first 3 parts of the acronym for RELAX: Relax, Express feelings and Listen. To effectively manage the stress symptoms, practice them consistently such that they develop into a habit for your child. Till next week for the remaining 2 parts!