Thursday, 15 March 2012

March Newsletter - Stress or Distress

March Edition 1


Stress or Distress?

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

One of the biggest issues I have seen in the last year, that I have to say shocked me, is that the young people of today are experiencing a huge level of stress. They wonder why they can't perform, why they are struggling with the coach, why they can't speak the truth to their parents. They are so fearful of failure and disappointing you their parents, the coach, their teammates and lastly themselves that they simple can not feel anything but stress.
Some shocking statistics in regards to teen stress:
  • 25% avoided or refused to deal with their stress, 
  • 23% sought ways to distract themselves away from their stress, 
  • 17% sought support, and 
  • 35% actively tried to reduce their stress.
So with so many of the youth of today feeling this way, how do we as the leaders and developers of the youth help them to feel better? First we have to be able to identify when our kids are encountering stress because often they will not let us in on the fact that they are. Second, we must have an action plan to help alleviate the stress. I have included both below.

What to look for in your child to determine if they are feeling stressed out:

1. Their performance is deteriorating, in school or in sport. They have stressed themselves to the max and have a tough time finding motivation to do anything well as they are starting the habit of self-doubt.
2. They have shut down communications. They will not speak the truth, they will tell you what you want to hear as well as their coaches, teachers, friends etc. Anyone who can judge them or make them feel wrong, they will not speak the truth.
3.  Erratic behavior and or emotional breakdowns. This is stress at a high level and needs to be addressed asap. If they are suddenly out of control emotionally please seek out help as this can cause many health issues and relationship issues.

If you have noticed any or all of the above your young athlete is trying to cope with something they have no experience in dealing with. We all know what stress does to adults and there are more and more instances of what it is doing to the teens out there.

Some Great resources for you to help are listed below:

My own personal experiences of overcoming stress and helping others:
1. Sharing my stories of failure have been the biggest healer, to know that we are not the only one out there with those problems is a big relief.
2. Helping the ones who suffer that it is all in their MIND. That they have the power to overcome and it is not based on anything other than their won perception of what is happening in their World, even if others have extremely high expectations of them. Self image and self forgiveness are two virtues required in any type of self healing.
3. Lack of FUN. They have to have FUN, so many young people who eventually quit cannot believe how good they feel because they have eliminated the stressful situation. What they do not realize is that they are developing the habit of quitting to avoid letting others down as well as themselves.

Monthly Reading Suggestions:

  1. Talent is Overrated - Geoff Colvin - awesome insights to the theory of how talent really is developed. I have used many of the philosophies, especially the deliberate practice.

  2. Mindset - Carol Dweck - this fascinating book provides insights to an open mindset or a fixed mindset.For your own personal development this is a MUST read.

I hope that this information sheds some light and helps provides you with some solutions!

Bob Wilkie

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