College can be a time when many students face new academic and social challenges that can feel overwhelming. Differentiating the stress of these situations from the anxiety students experience is a first step toward helping them cope with their feelings. In this episode, Lynn and Vicki share some strategies to help students channel their stress in positive ways. Parents learn how to help students understand and handle their own anxiety.
Lynn and Vicki discussed the anxiety that parents often feel as their student heads to college in podcast episode #023 – Parental Anxiety: It’s Time to Look at Ourselves (instead of our students),now it’s time to look at the anxiety our students may be experiencing. The first step in helping students may be simply (well, it’s probably not simple) helping them to understand that there is a difference between stress and anxiety, and that stress isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Lynn mentioned two books that are helpful with this topic. The first is recommended reading for parents, and the second is a book that many of her students love. Both are by the same author.
Resilient: How to Grow an Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength and Happiness by Dr. Rick Hanson
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom by Dr. Rick Hanson
Vicki mentioned a TED Talk that she and her students have found helpful in understanding that your attitude about stress can be as important as whether or not you experience stress.
How to Make Stress Your Friend by Kelly McGonigal
As we talked about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable – especially where our children are concerned, Lynn also mentioned Harlan Cohen’s book The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only.
We also talked about how important listening skills are for parents trying to help support their students, and how difficult really good listening can be. As parents, we’re often quicker to jump in and give advice than to really listen to what our students are telling us. Here are a few of our articles that may help you if you want to improve your listening.
And if you’d like to read even more about listening, there’s a great book – and easy read – that can be helpful.
The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction by Rebecca Shafir
Here’s yet another helpful resource about helping students with anxiety. We learned about it after we recorded this episode. Although it’s written for teachers, it’s also helpful for parents of students of any age – from the very young to college students. It may also be something you’d like to recommend to any teachers that you know.
It isn’t easy to see our students experience anxiety, but it’s possible for us to support them and to help them find the way to get comfortable with their own discomfort.
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