On Wednesday, December 1st, Mrs. Sorrell Mercoglan arrived at the Government Service Building to talk to parents and students about the topic of stress. This event, called a Stress Free Dinner, was hosted by the Flagler Family Cafe and its purpose was to give parents tips that will help reduce or relieve their stress.
This is the third year Mrs. Mercoglan has been helping students in the Flagler County School system by being the Mental Health Counselor at Wadsworth Elementary, Buddy Taylor Middle, and Matanzas High school. She provides therapeutic help to students in the Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities cluster programs.
At the beginning of the dinner she wanted the group to participate in listing off the parts of their lives that are stressful. It didn’t matter what kind of stress they were dealing with, it was still put onto the list. She pointed out that not all of the situations listed were considered bad stress. Stress by definition of the American Institute of Stress, “A condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that demand exceed the personal and social resources the individuals is able to mobilize,” or, “Physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” Stress can either be eustress (Positive) or distress (Negative), which can have different effects on the body depending on the type. Both types are healthy on certain levels, having negative stress can help you complete a job and positive stress can help you feel good about yourself. The problem most people have is abundance of negative stress and not being able to get rid of it.
To be able to decrease the distress parents may be feeling they can start by helping their child with their own stress. By spending time with the child the parent can get rid of some of the built up stress by relaxing and helping them instead. “Ask them about their day, take interest in what they like, actively listen when they talk,” Mrs. Mercoglan said trying to express the importance of this point to the group. One of the items Mrs. Mercoglan handed out was a homemade stress ball, which is an activity that parents can involve their children in. Also it can help parents figure out ways to spend more time with their kids by creating something that is helpful in stressful situations.
Not only should parents spend time with their kids, but should also strive to build them up. To live less stressed they need to think positive. Two of the techniques Mrs. Mercoglan mentioned were positive thinking and positive self-talk. When you are feeling really stressed out you may need to switch gears and place yourself in a more positive light, with positive thinking. The other way is positive self-talk, by either thinking or even writing down a positive thought for every negative one you have. You are not going to be able to control everything in your life, so some things you have to let go. Another aspect that you may need to learn is time management skills, to keep things in order and spread them out enough to fit into your life. “It is alright to say no,” Mrs. Mercoglan pointed out and explained, “If you don’t say no you will feel overwhelmed by all of the things that get piled on top of each other and have no time for yourself.”
Communication between people can also help by being more assertive and asking questions that can improve your understanding of situations. This a scale of communication that ranges from passive to aggressive, you should always take a moment and think before you act. Assess the situation and act accordingly can prevent any extra stress from adding on to the pile.