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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Chapter 2: Group Focus Session 2: Manifestations of Stress


Group Size: Seminar group-8-12 students

Time Needed: 45 to 60 minutes

Physical Set up: Circle or conference table

Materials: Recording material, whiteboard or flip chart, student journals, activity worksheet: Stress, who me? Understanding Stress handout.

Goal: Students will identify manifestations of stress, how they personally manifest stress and how to recognize it in others.

Procedure: Meet & Greet Activity: Select from "Talking Leather" activities in Chapter 1.  Discuss major points of Understanding Stress. Focus on when is stress healthy and when it becomes problematic?Discuss the manifestations of stress as summarized on the Activity sheet, Stress, who me? on the next page. Key in on Laurie's (case study) manifestations of stress and how they linked to her stressors.  Have the students complete Activity sheet, Stress, Who me? On the next page and share their findings with a partner.

Follow-up: Conclude by having a few of the students work together to role play a scenario demonstrating the stressor and the manifestation.

Reflection: Journal Entry.  Creating meaning through metaphor: "Stress is like _________.  Suggest to the students that they can compare stress to an animal, weather event, geographic feature or anything students feel is appropriate.  Explain the attributes of each and how they are similar.  Create a visual to accompany the entry. 

Stress, who me?

When you are stressed you can expect a number of things to happen almost instantly. Within milliseconds:

1. The heart beats more quickly to get ready to "Fight or Flee"
2. Blood Pressure increases to supply the brain with extra blood
3. Vision changes as the pupils constrict to increase visual acuity
4. The muscles tense to get ready to spring into action
5. Hearing changes to allow you to hear deeper sounds more easily
6. Digestion slows or stops to provide extra blood for the muscles of the body
7. Blood is directed away from the of the skin to the body core

8. Concentration is narrowed to allow you to focus on the perceived immediate threat
9. The brain begins a faster thinking process involving less logic and more instinct

Stress in You: When you are stressed what symptoms of stress do you feel or see in yourself? List five of them in the spaces below and then link each of the stressors you find to one of the numbers of those listed above. 
                                                                                                                               from list above                                    
1.____________________________________________________ Linked to _____
2.                                                                                            Linked to _____
3.                                                                                            Linked to _____
4.                                                                                            Linked to _____

Stress in Others:
Do you see signs of symptoms of stress in other people? List three of them below. Link each of the stressors you find to the list above.
1. ____________________________________________________Linked to _____
2. ____________________________________________________Linked to _____
3. ____________________________________________________Linked to _____

Follow Up: In your journal outline the relationship between the visible symptoms of stress and the physiological causes. Or do a skit showing the relationships you discovered and listed above.

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