Third Year Guidance Programme

Anxiety Management Strategies for Students

1. Physical Relaxation Exercises
 
a.  Body focus : Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a few moments. Sense where your body is contacting the environment around you (chair, floor etc.). Sense where your weight is resting. Now take another deep breath and move your body in some way to get more comfortable and relaxed. Are there any parts of your body that feel very tense or sore?  If you find one, take a deep breath and try to imagine that place loosening up. Then gently and slowly move that part of the body just a little bit to let it loosen and relax. 
 
 
b.  Deep breathing  Take a slow deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth. (Make sure the belly goes out as you inhale). Breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth to the following count, 1-2-3-4,   1-2-3-4,   1-2-3-4. Inhale, hold, exhale. Pause before the next breath. Continue this 5-10 times.  
 
 
c. Apple picker stretch Imagine your are under the branches of an apple tree.  Standing with both arms up in the air and gently bouncing on tip toes, reach up as high as you can and grab at the imaginary apples with one hand then the other. Then gently drop your hands and bend over towards the floor as far as you can with knees slightly bent.  Then sway gently from side to side for a few moments before slowly rising up,, one vertebra at a time, with the neck and head coming up very last. (Remember to keep breathing).  
 
 
d. Progressive Relaxation Starting with your feet and moving slowly and methodically up through your body until you finally get to your neck and head, make all of the muscles in your body really tense and hard.  Count of 10 each time so that at 1 your muscles are a little bit tense, and at 10 you are as tense as you can get. Shake your legs slowly. Shake your arms. Slowly move your head from one side to the other. Feel the tension leave your body. 
 
  
2. Visualisation
 
This activity requires the children to close their eyes and use their imagination as you read them the following script to them:
 
Now that you are beginning to relax I want to invite you to imagine that you are walking down a soft wide path through a beautiful tropical forest towards the ocean. You can see big bright flowers underneath the trees. The trees are high and green and when you look up you can just see a wonderful blue sky peeking through the leaves. As you walk you feel calm and safe – breathing in and out – calmly and deeply 
 
PAUSE 
 
Although you can’t see the ocean yet you can hear the waves up ahead – rolling onto the beach – you can smell the ocean spray – the air is moist and warm and you can feel a beautiful cooling breeze on your face. As you continue along the path – breathing in and out – slowly and deeply – you come closer to the sea and you can feel the sand beneath your feet – it’s soft and warm. As you step out of the forest the sun is shining and the sea is blue and glistening. The sound of the waves rolling onto the beach feels comforting and relaxing. And as you look out at the sea you can match your breathing to the pattern of the waves – slowly in and deeply out – languid and calm – relaxed and happy 
 
PAUSE 
 
You can feel the sun’s warmth filling the whole of your body as you gaze towards the water which is bright and blue and green. The beach is golden, long and wide and there is no-one here but you. This is your beach – your place – your time.
 
PAUSE 
 
Breathing in filling your body with warmth and relaxation and breathing out – letting go of any stress. As you continue to breathe slowly and deeply, lower yourself onto the sand. Sitting here quietly you can watch the waves lapping onto the beach – the water is clear and bright and as you watch you continue to feel the warm relaxing feeling flowing over you – and you feel safe and happy and content. 
 
PAUSE 
 
There is no-one here but you – this is your beach – this is your place – this is your time. 
 
PAUSE 
 
Sitting here in the warm, soft sand, soaking up the sunshine you feel strong and calm
 

Guidance-related learning

Class hours are assigned to the Guidance Counsellor during the year to support guidance-related learning in third year.

In the first term students attend a half day lecture on Study Skills.  From all accounts, taking the evaluation questionnaires into consideration this learning activity is very informative.

In the second term interactive workshops take place several weeks before exam time to equip students with the knowledge and skills to manage their learning.  Workshops which promote and generate open sharing and discussion have been found to enhance experiential learning.  The use of questionnaires, group brainstorming, pair work activities and role play, enable students to explore their own learning styles, aptitudes, struggles, and through identifying their strengths and needs, they find their own answers to meeting the challenge of homework, study and exams. Voicing their unique experiences of learning facilitates self-awareness, insight and personal and academic growth.  Each student has the opportunity to evaluate their own learning and reflect on how they are impacted upon.  Recognizing obstacles to learning and making progress can be the first step in motivating change.  Understanding how to overcome obstacles can be very empowering.  Applying techniques to adapt your learning to suit your style, Visual, Auditory, Kinaesthetic, enables one to make better progress and fosters self-belief.

Students receive varied resources from the Guidance Counsellor to reinforce study and exam techniques.    

In the third term, the Guidance Counsellor takes each class group again for further hours of interactive experiential workshops. Exam techniques, time management tips and stress management strategies are explored. Mindfulness and other related resources are used to support students coming up to the exams.

During all classes students are given time to reflect on their career aspirations so that purposeful study can ensue.  Making links to college courses and vocational choices is a fundamental part of each lesson.  Presentations on career profiles, college/apprenticeship entry requirements and work experience are given by the Guidance Counsellor.

Resources

Class book, ‘Essential Guidance’

Power- Point Presentations

Computer room facility: Each student has their own assigned computer.

Resources given by the Guidance Counsellor

Experiential mindfulness facilitated by Guidance Counsellor

Individual counselling sessions available to students.

Study Skills

Study Tips by Amazing Brains (1)