Editorial Articles

volume 21, 24-30 August, 2019

Learning Stress Management

Nidhi Prasad

Today,  when  I  interact with a group of people who are teachers as well as parents who have a responsibility of guiding young adults - who are going to be the future of our Country. As we look around we often hear the word from students, teachers, parents "We are stressed" In earlier times the common refrain for the student community was"Busy with studies" and now this simple term has given way to the sickly term"Stressed out" which has become almost an epidemic today, and all the three -- Students, Teachers and the Parents have fallen victims to it.

Let me begin with the fact that problem solving is at the very core of our holy scriptures like "The Holy Gita" which is essentially a dialogue between Bhagwaan Shri Krishna and Arjuna where Krishna answers the questions that arise out of the inner turmoil of Arjuna restraining him to attack his very own relatives, the very fact that Arjuna ultimately enters the war as Bhagwaan Shri Krishna satisfies his queries, stands testimony to that fact that problems are to be faced and solutions found. It is the same role that a parent has to play for his daughter/son. Is it not a dichotomy that when the world comes to us to learn "how to de-stress" we ourselves are falling victims to stress? Here is how we landed in this soup, in earlier times there were joint families where a kid could go to any family member for advice, now she/he has parents and siblings and all of them are busy with their lives so who does one go to? Apart from this apparent lack of advice a child has to tow the burden of her/his parents' aspirations, who by providing her/him all the facilities wait for the magic to happen. Who will realize that the child is feeling helpless under this stress? Luckily we have trained counselors, Psychologist who can fill this gap. Still the biggest source of inspiration and motivation for a child is his immediate family.

Come to think of it that the problem has acquired such a monstrous shape that the Prime Minister of our country has to take out two hours from his busy schedule to speak to the student's community emphasizing the need to stay stress-free for the sake of better performance. Herein lies a lesson for the Parents as well as the Teachers that the responsibility of helping our children lies with us, parents by realizing that they should not put the burden of their own aspirations on their children and Teachers should keep using the power of encouragement by constantly boosting the morale of their students.

So what is Stress and how to take care of it? I am going to be focusing on how this is leading to a more grimly term called "depression" for the student community.

The first and foremost is to figure out the signs of "Stress" in a child, here are some tell-tale signs:

  • Irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up behavior
  • Feeling over-burdened
  • Anxiousness, nervousness or being afraid
  • A feeling like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
  • Unable to enjoy yourself
  • Feeling depressed
  • Losing interest in life
  • Losing sense of humor
  • Feeling a sense of dread
  • Worries about health
  • Feeling neglected or lonely.

What causes stress?

Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life which may involve:

  • Being under lots of pressure
  • Facing big changes
  • Worrying about something
  • Not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
  • Having responsibilities that you're finding overwhelming
  • Not having enough work, activities or change in your life
  • Times of uncertainty.

Stress amongst the Parents: Unfortunately, parents unknowingly pass the burden of their own ambitions on to their children without realizing whether they are suited to it or not? Every child is unique with her/his own strengths and weaknesses, "the old school thought of (padhoge likhoge banoge nawab, kheloge kuudoge banoge kharaab) has become a thought of the past what with the Athletes becoming celebrities earning megabucks today? Perhaps the worst thing that a parent can do to a child is compare your child with other (more successful) children's. So always encourage your children, trust them and let them find their own path, it's not so that they don't care, your constant nagging pushes them to the wall sometimes even with fatal results. All parents feel that they are the best counselor for their child, for example, the daughter of your neighbor next door took science stream and has gone on to become a Doctor, now as parent you take a clue an jump to the conclusion that the mantra to success lies in taking the science stream and becoming a Doctor/Engineer, hence you start pushing your own daughter to emulate the daughter of your neighbor, this is unrealistic and untrue, you have to figure-out her strengths, may be she is inclined towards the Commerce stream she may go on to become a successful Chartered Accountant, or may be a Lawyer. Streams are immaterial today what is important is to study; today the children  are carving out careers in unheard of areas. Imagine someone inclined towards music going on to become a successful singer or even a DJ all careers are equally rewarding today the only input required is "Hard Work along with passion in the area of their interest, which a parent can find out with the help of a trained career counselor or their Teacher. It is my personal observation that this kind of an atmosphere is leading to high incidence of "depression" amongst the student community.

Stress amongst the Teachers:

We all know what it's like to feel stressed, but it's not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. When we say things like "this is stressful" or "I'm stressed", we might be talking about:

  • Situations or events that put pressure on us - for example, times where we have lots to do and think about, or don't have much control over what happens.
  • Our reaction to being placed under pressure - the feelings we get when we have demands placed on us that we find difficult to cope with.

A Teacher is as stressed as the students, the onus of her/his students performing well in exam lies with the teacher as she/he is the one who is blamed for poor scores, a Teacher is after all a parent as well so she/he can relate to the Stress experienced by her/his students as well as their parents, sometimes there is paucity of time as well as personal situations that offer tough challenges. But surmounting them and putting her/his best is a hallmark of a good Teacher. Staying calm under tough situation is what a Teacher can teach to her/his students, unfortunately there are no quick fixes to any situation, it is imperative to face them to be able to find the best solution to them.

This brings us to the most important topic and that is How to control Stress?


  • Never impose curfews on yourself as indulging in activities of your choice is equally important.
  • Have a proper time-table for everything like watching TV, going through News Papers, sleeping on time.
  • Doing mild exercises like Yoga to stay calm
  • Never panic in any situation
  • While writing the exams do time-management in order to avoid last minute panic.
  • The most important part, never ever stop "socializing" to avoid feeling lonely.


  • It is very important for a Teacher to be "patient" she/he has to realize that sometimes there are tough students to deal with, if you lose control you discourage not only that student but other students as well. Let them ask questions as many times as they want.
  • Pay special attentions to students who are weak, by repeatedly asking them "did you understand?" you force that student to be more attentive in the Class, this is something that we call "positive pressure" which is very important
  • Don't be too predictive to the students, always be ready for an impromptu exam in the class, so that the students are left guessing and they always pay attention.
  • Come up with motivational stories that motivate students to perform better.
  • Last but not the least never lose sight of the fact that you are a parent too, take the students as your own children, shower them with love, affection and attention and they will never fail you.


  • Allow the kids to flourish, it is much better to let a child play his favorite game for two hours and devote just one hour to study rather than force the kid to sit for studies for three hours and waste her/his time on studies as most of the time her/his mind will be distracted, no curfews should be imposed she/he should be allowed to mingle with friends/relatives or her/his favorite people. Boards exams should not be made to appear like a (matter of life and death) monster as they are just another exam the only difference is that they are conducted at another School other than their own school.
  • More than your kids you need to learn the "relaxation techniques" so start doing some yoga, it's important to devote time to spiritual activities as well.
  • Don't listen to others' advices they may be passing on the hearsay, have faith in yourself as well as in your children.
  • Never ever pass your personal anxieties to your children.
  • Last but not the least be a smart parent, remember, today you are living in an age of information, the kids are more informed than you, let them choose the best path.

Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it."

(The author is a Senior Counseling Psychologist.

E-mail id- nidhiprasadcs@ gmail.com

Views expressed are personal.

(Image Courtesy : Google)