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Stress and the High Achieving Student

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This is the presentation from the professional development at Saint Simon School on January 9, 2017.

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Stress and the High Achieving Student

  1. 1. STRESS & THE HIGH ACHIEVING CHILD Lisa DaVia Rubenstein, Ph.D. Saint Simon the Apostle January 9, 2017
  2. 2. How stressed are you right now? Why? 1
 Perfectly Calm 10 Extraordinarily Stressed
  3. 3. To what extent is stress is harmful for your health? 1
 Extraordinarily Helpful 10 Extraordinarily Harmful
  4. 4. 30,000 Americans A LOT OF STRESS 43% increased chance of dying BUT….
  5. 5. 30,000 Americans A LOT OF STRESS 43% increased chance of dying Belief that stress is harmful. &
  6. 6. “People who experienced a lot of stress but did not view stress as harmful were no more likely to die. In fact, they had the lowest risk of dying of anyone in the study, including those who had relatively little stress. -Kelly McGonigal (TED talk)
  7. 7. YOUR PERCEPTION OF STRESS MATTERS. WE CAN MODEL THIS. WE CAN TEACH THIS. &
  8. 8. Causes Outcomes Negative Positive STRESS. Strategies
  9. 9. TODAY… ➤ Perceptions of Stress ➤ Internal v. External Pressures ➤ Perfectionism ➤ Cognitive Distortions ➤ Strategies for each
  10. 10. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DIDN’T FEEL STRESS?
  11. 11. WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DIDN’T FEEL STRESS? 1. Stress is very useful. It is built it to help us respond to our environment, to help us rise to the challenges. 2. Yet, stress can be harmful. 3. Sometimes, however, stress becomes a way to make ourselves feel important. (More later…)
  12. 12. YERKES DODSON DIAGRAM
  13. 13. The goal is not to eliminate stress, but rather to create ways to leverage it to work for us.
  14. 14. How does mindset theory mirror this concept?
  15. 15. MINDSET TOWARDS INTELLIGENCE ➤ Growth mindset: Promotes positive risk-taking, enjoyment of challenges… (Recognition of the importance of effort) ➤ Fixed mindset: Promotes avoidance of risks, self-handicapping strategies, and fear of challenges… (Recognition of the importance of ability)
  16. 16. MINDSETS TOWARDS STRESS (PERCEPTIONS) ➤ Growth mindset: Stress is useful for growth. ➤ Promotes positive risk-taking, enjoyment of challenges… (Recognition of the importance of effort) ➤ Fixed mindset: Stress is bad. ➤ Promotes avoidance of risks, self-handicapping strategies, and fear of challenges… (Recognition of the importance of ability)
  17. 17. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THIS INFORMATION? ➤ Learn to hear/recognize when you are stressed. ➤ Recognize your feelings. Don’t panic. ➤ Realize that your stressed feelings are good for you. They are helping you to prepare for the challenge. ➤ Develop plan.
  18. 18. Building Resilience
  19. 19. TEACHING STUDENTS… ➤ How stressed are you? ➤ Remember, this stress can be helpful. ➤ How will you use this stress to rise to the challenge? When? Study guides for tests. Journals. Morning meetings and work. The more you model, the more automatic it will become. When would work for you?
  20. 20. Show them a 13 minute TED talk…
  21. 21. HOW TO USE STRESS TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGE? Optimists? Pessimists?VS.
  22. 22. MENTAL CONTRASTING AND IMPLEMENTATION INTENTIONS (MCII) ➤ Visualize your end goal. ➤ Envision obstacles. ➤ Use “if…then…” statements to develop a plan to overcome the obstacles. Better title for students?
  23. 23. FIRST: VISUALIZE YOUR END GOAL. ➤ Journal. (Describe what it would be like to…) ➤ Draw. (Draw yourself having a good day. Draw yourself being successful on the next test…)
  24. 24. LET’S TRY IT… ➤ Visualize end goal: Get an A on my test. ➤ Obstacles: ➤ If/Then Statements: ➤ Visualize end goal: Get in shape. ➤ Obstacles: ➤ If/Then Statements: OR
  25. 25. LET’S TRY IT… ➤ Visualize end goal: Get an A on my test. ➤ Obstacles: Friends, lack of focus, too much information. ➤ If/Then Statements: ➤ If my friends are texting, I will respond that I need to study and then I will hide my phone from myself. ➤ If I can’t focus, I will move locations, I will remove my distractions, I will set a timer. ➤ If there is too much information, I will break it down and study a little everyday. I will pretend to teach one section every night to my stuffed animals…
  26. 26. STRESS V. ANXIETY? ➤ Stress is the body’s reaction to a circumstance or situation that requires physical, mental, or emotional adjustment or response. It could be caused by negative or positive changes. ➤ Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, affecting 18% of US population, and almost 30% of Americans across the lifespan. ➤ Anxiety is a feeling of fear, unease, worry when situations are perceived as uncontrollable, unavoidable. Most common symptoms of anxiety are insistent worrying, phobias, social anxiety, and OCD. Others include: chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, and panic attacks.
  27. 27. YET…MINDSET AGAIN??? Research from Alison Wood Brooks from Harvard Business School I am anxious! ANXIETY EXCITEMENT DEPRESSION CALM Positivity Arousal I am excited!
  28. 28. YET…MINDSET AGAIN??? Research from Alison Wood Brooks from Harvard Business School I am anxious! ANXIETY EXCITEMENT DEPRESSION CALM Positivity Arousal I am excited! Predict how this switch affected people singing, doing math, or giving a speech.
  29. 29. YET…MINDSET AGAIN??? Research from Alison Wood Brooks from Harvard Business School I am anxious! ANXIETY EXCITEMENT DEPRESSION CALM Positivity Arousal I am excited! 17% 22% 17% Threat Opportunity
  30. 30. HALFOFTHEBATTLE?
  31. 31. PERCEPTIONS OF STRESS ARE IMPORTANT. WHAT OTHER FACTORS MAY INFLUENCE THE STRESS LEVEL OF HIGH ACHIEVING STUDENTS?
  32. 32. INTERNAL V. EXTERNAL PRESSURES
  33. 33. What are the internal and external pressures that may be too much for students’ available resources?
  34. 34. INTERNAL ➤ Perceptions ➤ Feelings of Lack of Control ➤ Perfectionism ➤ Lack of Mental Processing Resources EXTERNAL ➤ Teachers ➤ Standardized Assessments ➤ Parents (Family events, expectations…) ➤ Church ➤ Extra-Curricular Activities ➤ Deadlines, Quantity of Work ➤ Peers (and other models) ➤ Perceived v. Actual
  35. 35. PERFECTIONISM
  36. 36. Think of a student who you would classify as a perfectionist. How do you know? What characteristics does this student display?
  37. 37. TYPES OF PERFECTIONISM ➤ Healthy (Silverman; Schuler; many others…) ➤ Unhealthy ➤ Self-oriented (Hewitt & Flett) ➤ Others-oriented ➤ Socially-prescribed ➤ Personal standards (Frost et al.) ➤ Concern over mistakes Think back to your student. How would you classify this student?
  38. 38. How does the environment promote perfectionism? How does perfectionism contribute to stress?
  39. 39. 2 OPTIONS AS A TEACHER… Consider the messages you are sending. Teach students to manage perfectionism.
  40. 40. MESSAGES TEACHERS SEND… ➤ What kind of feedback do you give? ➤ What papers do you hang in the classroom? ➤ How many opportunities do students have to resubmit work? ➤ What happens when you make a mistake? ➤ How often does the best student fail? ➤ How much autonomy do students have?
  41. 41. TEACHING STUDENTS TO MANAGE THEIR OWN PERFECTIONISM ➤ General Self-Talk ➤ More specific: Cognitive Distortions ➤ Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) ➤ Remember: Counselors can help anyone! This is not defeat. This is strength.
  42. 42. Self-Talk Coaches
  43. 43. “Cognitive distortions are specific examples of negative self-talk.
  44. 44. #1: ALL OR NONE THINKING
  45. 45. Do you have any examples of students’ all-or-none thinking?
  46. 46. HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES ➤ Recognize the distortion. ➤ Compartmentalize 1. What is the middle ground? ➤ Compartmentalize 2. What are things to be good at? What are things that it is okay not to be perfect in? ➤ Create a plan.
  47. 47. #2: MIND READER
  48. 48. Reality v. perception?
  49. 49. HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES ➤ Recognize the distortion. ➤ Reflect/journal on the following: ➤ Who says you have to be perfect? ➤ What will your parents think if you are not perfect? ➤ What will your teachers think if you are not perfect? ➤ Ask the person. Discuss. ➤ Feedback filter (selective listening/actively ignoring): ➤ What is helpful? What can I use to get better? ➤ Everything else: Let go. Why might “Just do your best.” be a dangerous phrase for a perfectionist?
  50. 50. #3: SHOULDS
  51. 51. Do you have any examples of students’ “shoulds” thinking?
  52. 52. “If one fails to meet the unrealistic expectation, one has failed; but if one does meet it, one feels no glow of achievement for one has only done what was expected. (Weisinger & Lobsenz, 1981, p.281)
  53. 53. HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES ➤ Recognize the distortion. ➤ Consider: How much can you do? Think back to all-or-none thinking. Some is better than nothing. ➤ Goal: Promote realistic thinking. ➤ Create a realistic plan. (Perhaps, still a little aspirational, but not so much so that they feel like a failure.) ➤ Celebrate effort.
  54. 54. GENERAL
  55. 55. GENERAL OVERARCHING STEPS ➤ Learn to hear/recognize when you are stressed. ➤ Recognize your feelings. Don’t panic. ➤ Consider the causes. What internal voices do you hear? What cognitive distortions are present? ➤ Talk it back with a healthier internal voice. ➤ Consider what actions you can control. ➤ Consider how you can perceive the situation. ➤ Try to maintain the healthier perspective. Set goals. ➤ Be proactive in addressing stress. (see calming techniques…)
  56. 56. “It is okay to feel ______. You can handle that feeling. Just let it be.
  57. 57. Fiction ➤ Botner, B. (1986). The world's greatest expert on absolutely everything. New York: Dell. (intermediate/ adolescent fiction) ➤ Cosgrove, S. (1989). Persnickity. Vero Beach, PL.: Rourke Enterprises. (young juvenile fiction) ➤ Lobel, A. (1980). Fables. New York: Harper and Row. (juvenile fiction) ➤ Manes, S. (1982). Be a perfect person in just three days! Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. (intermediate fiction) ➤ Smith, D. B. (1978). Dreams and drummers. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell. (adolescent fiction: perfectionist comes in second) ➤ Waber, B. (1971). Nobody is perfick. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. Non-Fiction ➤ Jones, C. F. (1991). Mistakes that worked: 40 familiar inventions and how they came to be. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. ➤ Quindlen, A. (2005). Being Perfect. New York: Random House. BIBLIOTHERAPY
  58. 58. For Secondary Students...
  59. 59. CALMING TECHNIQUES
  60. 60. BASIC STRATEGIES ➤ Movement: Exercise, yoga. ➤ Breathing. ➤ Purposeful prayer/meditation. ➤ Quiet time (without screens). ➤ Art/creation time.
  61. 61. OVERVIEW & CONCLUSIONS
  62. 62. TODAY, WE DISCUSSED… ➤ Perceptions of Stress ➤ Internal v. External Pressures ➤ Perfectionism ➤ Cognitive Distortions ➤ Strategies for each
  63. 63. AT THE END OF THE DAY… DO YOU WANT TO BE STRESS FREE?
  64. 64. THE SILENT JOY OF STRESS (OR) WHY WE MODEL BEING STRESSED OUT SO WELL ➤ Excuse for not doing more. (We shouldn’t have to…saying no should be sufficient.) ➤ Provides meaning. (Business does not equal purpose.) ➤ Appearance of humility and relate-ability.
  65. 65. YOU ARE MODELING HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS. Your modeling is as important as your direct teaching of strategies for helping students.
  66. 66. THANK YOU. lmrubenstein@bsu.edu

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