„3 Steps to Power”
Duration: around 10 min.
Group size: Any
The Facilitator asks the group to make a circle, while standing and asks participants to follow 3 steps in order to get relax and gain power.
Hints for the facilitator:
- All the steps should be done together but can be presented separately as well
- The Facilitator can ask the group, why this exercise was implemented within the topic of stress
- The exercise lets participants focus on their body, breathe, receiving and giving energy which helps to gain control in stressful moments
Step 1 – Tighten and release
The Facilitator asks participants to tighten their whole body – including fists, eye lids, jaw and all muscles, stay in that position without breathing for 5 seconds, then release all the muscles, shake off the tense and loose the body. Group repeats the process 5 times.
Step 2 – Deep Breath
The Facilitator asks the group to stand in a straight up position, with feet shoulder-wide apart. Arms and hands are relaxed downwards, body is relaxed and eyes are closed. Next, the participants are asked to focus on the lower abdomen (belly) and to imagine having a small balloon in that space. Participants start to breath-in slowly and deeply through nostrils -imagining the balloon inflating (getting bigger/larger/growing) slowly- and then hold for a few seconds. Slowly they exhale through the mouth – imagining the balloon gently deflating (getting smaller, shrinking) – and then blow the air out of the mouth as if blowing out a candle. The facilitator can also suggest participants to place a hand over the lower abdomen to feel it go up and down and make sure breathing is not going through the chest. Group repeats the process at least 10 times.
Step 3 -Chiiiiiiiilinga!
The Facilitator starts with a great deal of energy, putting straighten arms in front, saying „CHIIII”, and then every next person says and does the same – it goes as a wave, until the last participant. When it reaches the last person, everybody bends arms in the elbows shouting „LINGA” in the same moment, giving the whole group big dose of energy.
1. „Stress brainiac”
Duration: around 40 – 90 min.
Group size: 20 people
Materials: Electronic devices with Internet, brochures and books about stress, colorful pens, markers, paints, colorful paper, flip charts, glue, newspapers and magazines, scissors
The Facilitator divides participants into smaller groups of 4 people maximum and gives each group a certain task and a way to present the results:
Group 1: What stress is? – Short lecture
*Prepare your task as you were a group of professors that teaches students about stress; provide facts, definitions, interesting cases, pictures and graphs if needed – do not forget to include sources of information provided.
Group 2: Good stress VS. Bad stress – Informative Poster
*Prepare your task in a very clear, yet beautiful and informative way – creating a big poster with all information required on good and bad stress, the ways it might appear and how it can influence a person – do not forget to include sources of information provided
Group 3: How and where do you feel stress? – Informative Painting
*Prepare your task as an artist would have created a painting – make it large and visible and include all necessary information – do not forget to include sources of information provided.
Group 4: What can cause stress? – Theater Play
*Prepare your task as being on a theater scene – prepare a screenplay with reliable information, distribute roles, prepare the script costumes and props. Do not forget to make it educative and well played. Include sources of information provided.
Group 5: Who feels stress? – Computer Presentation
*Prepare your task on a computer presentation, use Prezi program, or any other you find user-friendly and attractive. Focus on all the beings that can react to stress (also how), find researches, comparisons on who/what (which groups) stress the most and why. Use pictures and graphs – do not forget to include sources of information provided.
Hints for the Facilitator:
- You can divide participants according to their talents and interests, not to make them feel uncomfortable preparing or presenting a topic in the way they do not feel happy about
- Provide enough time and materials – for preparation and presentation.
- Find a space in the activity room to hang out the results, record the theatre play and the lecture, and collect the computer presentations, in order to share them on the Internet, promoting the project – do not forget to add logotypes and „#”
- Internet sources on stress:
2. „Place your stress”
Duration: around 20 min.
Group size: Any
Materials: pens, Appendix 1 (form) for each participant
The Facilitator distributes the Human Body Shaped Form 1 to each participant. Then asks the group to think how every part of their body feels stress – how head reacts, what they feel on legs, how they feel their back, hands, etc. (ex. When I’m stressed my knees shake, I have a feeling of a „hot head”, I have a stomachache) – the participants are asked to write their observations on the Human Body Shaped Form on the places of the body, corresponding to their revelations felt (ex. shaking knees are written on the knees). Then the Facilitator asks participants how a stressful situation influence their feelings, emotions and their state of mind (ex. When I’m stressed, I feel angry, I feel I want to disappear, I start to panic etc.) – the participants are asked to write these reflections on the form, outside the human body. After everybody is ready, the Facilitator asks people to share their work and facilitates a group discussion, asking some of the following questions:
- How does your body/mind react?
- Are there more people who have similar body/mind reactions?
- What usually stresses you out?
- Can you benefit from being stressed?
- Have you ever experienced stress which motivated you? What was the situation like?
- Have you ever felt overwhelmed and terrified by stress? What was the situation like and how you reacted to it?
3. „In someone else’s shoes”
Duration: 20 min.
Group size: Any
Materials: Appendix 2 (form), pens
The Facilitator hands out forms to each participant and asks them to recall and write down 5 stressful situations they recently experienced and their reactions to it – example: Situation – My friend borrowed money from me 2 months ago and he/she still has not paid it back; Reaction – I’m stressed out to ask him/her to pay me back; or – Situation – I had an oral exam; Reaction: Because of stress I could not focus and I forgot everything. Once the Facilitator explains the task and participants finish fulfilling 2 tables, the next step is to divide people into groups with 5 people each. Within the teams, the forms are passed from one person to another and each is asked to come up with and note down an alternative solution to a problem on each participant’s sheet. Participants must think of a solution that reduces stress and aggressive behavior. After all team members accomplish the task, the group gathers in a big circle and participants are asked to present their problems, solution and alternative solution.
Then the Facilitator can ask:
- Are the alternative solutions relevant?
- Do you find them helpful?
- Why do you think, you could not react like that before? What stopped you?
- What you should remember in a stressful moment in order to reduce possible negative influences?
Upon completion of all activities the Facilitator asks each participant to come up with 1 single idea on how to cope with stress and draw it and/or write it using max. 1 sentence on a colorful A4 sheet (ex. TAKE FEW DEEP BREATHS!). Once the sheets are ready (the Facilitator must make sure that they do not repeat) they should be hanged out in the room, take photos and posted on the social media to promote the project and inspire people on how to deal with stressful situations.
„Relax, take it easy…”
This activity can be performed at home individually or in groups at schools, youth clubs etc.
Duration: around 2 hours
Group size: Any
Materials: anti-stress coloring sheets, pens, crayons, relaxing music, paints, brushes, pastel crayons, paper, big and long piece of paper, scented candles/oils, comfortable room with pillows, mattresses
The Facilitator prepares the room, puts pillows around, lights up candles and puts on chilling music. Then invites participants to grab a coloring sheet, crayons, pens and find a comfortable space in the room. Another option is to paint a picture that reflects music. As the last activity, the Facilitator can propose that the whole group will work on 1 art piece – drawing, writing or painting on one big piece of paper. Everybody chooses their spot and creates their vision on „RELAX”. At the end when all the art pieces are ready, the group can organize an exhibition in the activity room and promote the event and their work on Internet and local media.