Psychology Class 101
In psychology class this week, I taught one of my favourite subjects – Stress, Coping, and Health Psychology Chapter 11 in my psychology textbook.
I purposely teach this topic during the height of midterms. Raising awareness about the healthy (and not so healthy) ways students manage stress is critical for building resilience.
Shifting Negative -> Positive
One of my top 10 techniques for shifting students (and myself) from stress to peace is to share what’s going right even (especially) when things are going wrong. Small uplifts in the course of the day change everything. Fleeting. Unexpected. Goodness.
As a college professor (and former school psychologist), I would never deny the stress students (or you) are under. Witnessing stress is an essential part of moving through it. This is a key part of my stress lecture. However, I choose not to remain in the territory of “what’s wrong” for too long.
What We Focus on Expands
Once we observe what’s wrong. (This list can be mighty long.) We must move on to what’s right. We must shift our focus and raise our awareness to the uplifting moments that take place in the course of any given day.
We make the shift from powerless to empowered in the second half of class by sharing all the (unexpected) goodness (big and small) happening in students’ lives. For example:
A radiant smile from a fellow commuter. Free coffee at McDonald’s. An unexpected A on a paper. A sweet parking spot. A neighbour helping you shovel your driveway. Surprise compliment from a stranger. A really good night’s sleep.
And I’m the fortunate professor who gets to read all these uplifts at the end of a long, wintery day. One more reason why I love working with students.