On October 23, 2015, Attitudes in Reverse visited Community Middle School to host a session on healthy strategies for dealing with stress. PRISM, the gifted and talented program run by Dr. Rebecca McLelland-Crawley, organized the workshop for a Community Problem Solving group researching the issue of stress reduction in middle school students. Mrs. Tricia Baker from Attitudes in Reverse brought with her the therapy dog, Misha. During that meeting, we discussed many stress-reducing strategies, including sleeping more, eating healthy foods, talking with people about your worries, and having a pet. Misha was loved by all of the students.
We learned about dealing with stress by just slowing down. Every day, people are rushing around, trying to make time for everything they want to do. You don’t have to do this. If you take it slow and calm down, your day will be so much less stressful. Cramming extra activities into our schedules does not give us any time to decompress. We all need some down time.
Another helpful part of the session focused on sleeping more. Have you ever just felt like you couldn’t walk another step? Well, that’s because you get too little sleep at night. Sleep is when your body regenerates and grows. Now, there are many factors in not getting enough sleep. For example, staying on your phone at night impacts your sleep patterns. The blue light from the screen stimulates your brain. Also, on top of that, if you keep your phone next to your head or under your pillow, lots of radiation from the phone is blasting inches away from your head. Not fun. As middle schoolers, our circadian rhythms change and we cannot fall asleep like we did when we were younger. We need to take steps to reduce any distractions.
With Misha in the room we discussed the benefit of having a pet, in addition humans, around to comfort you. We discovered that pets are really nice to talk to because they don’t judge you. Also, if you talk about things that you are worried about to others, a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders. You’ll be surprised how nice it feels to share your problems with someone. We all learned several healthy strategies for dealing with stress that we will now use to teach other students at Community Middle School this year. We are grateful for lesson we learned from Attitudes in Reverse.