“It’s not the stress that kills us, it’s how we respond to it.”
William Gerin of Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
I watched a friend’s daughter’s soccer game a few weeks ago and found myself cringing when some of the girls hit the ball with their heads. My reaction must be a result of a book I read recently by Dr. Daniel Amen about brain health. While I don’t have the medical background to support or dispel any of it, it did make me realize how precious our brains are. And hitting things with our heads is a definite way to risk our brains’ potential. And so is stress.
If you’re one of those people who thinks girls don’t have REAL stress take a look at The Year Nobody Liked Me. This story will help you remember the stormy social seas of the schoolyard. The author of this blog remembers the pain of a bad school year 44 years after the fact as if it were last week.
According to Girls Inc, even our economic downturn causes girls stress. Since they ”often mirror the concerns held by adult women. Six out of ten girls say that they are often stressed.”
Stress IS a part of life and always has been. And dealing with stress is an important life skill! So instead of teaching girls to deny their symptoms of stress or tell them that it will go away after this or that tough issue is over, lets start teaching them ways to perceive and cope in healthy ways. It will make their lives and their brains healthier.
Since she’ll learn first from watching how we manage (or don’t manage) our stress, here are some tips for the whole family:
• When she’s not in a state of stress help her learn what relaxes her body: running, yoga, walking, a backrub.
• Suggest physical activity when you see she’s agitated: “Let’s shoot some hoops and loosen up before dinner.”
Share activities that relieve stress for you and see if they calm her.
- Gardening really relaxes me—how about you?
- Would a back rub feel good?
- When I’m really stressed, I feel much better after a warm shower.
- Get outside! The National Wildlife Federation is promoting The Green Hour to encourage kids and families to enjoy the outdoors. Check this out!
Help her accept that stress (school stress, teenage stress, family stress) is a normal part of life and that she can manage it.
- We all feel stressed sometimes.
- You handle your stress very creatively.
- You felt so tense but you’re calm now that we talked.
We’ll have more stress management techniques for girls in the next issue (Nov/Dec 2010) of New Moon Girls.