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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Chapter 2: Group Focus Session 6: What's next? Action Planning.


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 Sheet Activity sheet, Stress less Action Plan. (found on next page), and a computer with software programs to create professional-looking brochures, or art materials to create brochures.

Goal:  To summarize new understandings about self and stress, and to recognize the symptoms of depression. To develop a personal plan for stress reduction.

Procedure:  Meet and Greet Activity: Using Talking Leather Technique ask students to complete the thought "The most meaningful new idea I learned about stress and me over the past few sessions is...." Discuss with students what happens when stress is ut of control and help is needed.  Discuss recent findings about the increase of depression in teenagers.  Have the students generate a list of warning signs as a booklet for other adolescents.  Teacher should use the information found in Essential Information: "When all else fails". 

Have students design and produce a tri-fold brochure for others students describing the warning signs of depression. Finally, have them complete Activity sheet: "A Stress less Action Plan." Discuss their answers and reasons for their choices. 

Follow-up: Conclude by discussing in an overview the topics to follow.

Reflection: Journal entry.  How have I changed my behavior in terms of stress management since we began these sessions? 

A Stress less Action Plan.
Rank order the stress management strategies you use in your stress action Plan. If you don't use one of the strategies consider giving it a try. 1 is high 13 is low.

Apologies If you made a mistake admit it. Apologizing will makes you feel better. Be sure to be sincere and don't over do it. A little "I am sorry." Goes a Iong way.    Rank_____

Crying big girls do cry. So do smart big boys. Crying can help to release pent up feelings and emotions and make you feel much better because crying releases endorphins.   Rank_____

Hot water get out of it by getting into it. You don't need a hot tub to soothe your stress and tension away, try soaking in a nice warm bath. Just watch those stressors disappear.  Rank_____

Hugging physical contact is one of the best stress-releasing techniques ever invented.  We see it used at funerals and at weddings for good reason. Even small amounts of human contact can make a big difference. Something as small as a comforting hand on the shoulder in a tense situation can help to relieve stress.
Rank _____

Humor Laughing is a great stress reliever. The best laughs come from when we laugh at
ourselves or laugh from good well intentioned humor. Hurtful jokes humor and pranks are not good endorphin releasers.  Rank_____ 

Music Try listening to music. It is a great relaxer. The best music is the music you like.  Play it loud if you want but do be sensitive to your family, friends and neighbors and your ear drums. If you are using headphones or have the volume too loud you can hurt your hearing. By the way, unwanted music can be stressful.

try to start a tradition with people who are special to you. Every week spend time with people you love doing something you can share. Traditions and rituals are important.  Rank_____

Playing as we become adults we forget to play. Don't. Playing is a life long game that is good for you. Stick to the games you enjoy. Keep it simple, keep it fun.   Rank_____

Reading your favorite poem out loud when you are in a stressful situation is a good way to remind yourself what is important. Not only will it make you feel better you might be inspired right out of that stressful response. The only thing better than reading poetry is writing it. Capture your mood and you will better understand it.   Rank_____

Prayer or Meditation: Try spending a few quiet moments in prayer if you are so inclined or in meditation. Choose a peaceful setting or use disassociation. The experience is relaxing and will help release those endorphins.   Rank_____

Shopping is a great stress relieving system. It reaffirms what is positive. Just be careful to not spend more than you can afford. But the good news is that you don't have to. Buying less expensive items works just as well as buying those expensive things.  Rank_____ 

Sleep is good for managing stress but too much is too much. Try napping when you get the opportunity some people swear by naps (especially as they get older). Trouble sleeping? Get a pair of earplugs, try a warm bath, a glass of warm milk or reading a dull book.   Rank_____

Vacations Can be true recreation. Consider the word recreation. RE-CREATION. You don't have to go far. You just need to do things that are recreational to you! Better than a trip. Try some true re-creation every day.

Circle you favorite three stress management action plans.
Discuss - Why do you like them so much!

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