Welcome back to Part 2! Today, we will learn about the remaining 2 parts of ‘RELAX’ on tips of relieving stress.
3. (Positive) A ffirmations
Positive affirmations are statements that are used to challenge negative thoughts. When feeling stressed, it is easy to slip into a spiral of negativity. Imagine your child is struggling with some tuition centre homework. Your child may start thinking negative thoughts. Words that are often uttered are, ‘I am never going to improve!’ or ‘I am so dumb and weak in Math’. Such thoughts ensue a vicious cycle of questioning their self-worth and their ability. This may eventually cause low self-esteem. In reality, children have the most potential for growth.
Parents need to step in to put a halt to this negative spiral. Children look up to their parents. Positive affirmations will impact them tremendously. This means praising your child regularly. When your child is displaying any stress symptoms, it would be greatly beneficial to praise your child. A simple ‘you are doing well’ or ‘I’m proud of you’ will more than do. Gradually, when told regularly, your child will internalise these and learn to manage their negative thoughts.
Alternatively, parents can initiate a positive affirmations exercise. Encourage your child to repeat such positive affirmations to themselves every time they are stressed. Let them learn to avoid words like ‘never’. With enough repetition, your child takes charge of their thoughts and becomes more self-aware. Such positive reaffirmations help reprogram thinking patterns that will reflect in their behaviour and mindset. A study also showed that a simple affirmation exercise helped improve problem-solving abilities of those who were “chronically-stressed”.
Exercising has a lot of benefits, more importantly helping to relieve stress. Stress is closely linked to tense muscles. Physical exercise helps to force these muscles to relax and relieve tension in the body. When your body is looser, your mind becomes at ease too. Exercise stimulates the endorphin production in the brain, a.k.a the happy cells. Parents can exercise with their child by going for a simple jog in the neighbourhood. Amidst Covid-19, it is more difficult to secure slots to use facilities at the stadium. Despite that, parents and their child can still carry out exercises at home.
Studies also showed that exercising helped in the creation of new brain cells (neurogenesis) which boost overall brain development.
To make our tips on relieving stress a habit, we encourage parents to practise these tips consistently. For students, their main source of stress arises from academics, family, and social circles. In a stressful academic-driven and prevalent tuition centre culture in Singapore, it is comforting for children to know that their parents are there for them. Prevention is better than cure – let us all manage our stress better and take care of our mental health through RELAX!