Cognitive Skills

Cognitive skills for stress management have to do with paying attention to our thoughts, and understanding that thoughts lead to feelings, and thoughts +feelings are what lead to behaviors.

Helping students become aware of negative/worry thoughts, as well as other early signs of stress, will in turn help them learn to act early to reduce stress.  The earlier we are aware of our stress warning signs, the more likely we are to intervene with a healthy strategy.

Examples of cognitive skills:

  • problem solving skills
  • decision making skills
  • distraction techniques
  • knowledge of cognitive distortions (for high school students and adults)

In-class activities

Warning Signs: Instructions and Handouts>>

Worry-distraction techniques.  We spent a lot of time in the student workshop talking about this.  Here are some additional ideas:
Clock mini >>
5 senses >>
Breathing Mini >>

Cognitive Distortions and Intrusive Thoughts

Students sometimes have difficulty understanding how strategies taught in the workshop can help with their intrusive thoughts. Students with high anxiety, obsessive thinking styles, and worry-temperaments may need extra support from a counselor or therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a standard recommendation for people struggling with intrusive thoughts.

You can start them on this path by sharing the following resources, and encouraging them to seek out professional help.

Unhelpful Thinking Styles >>
20 Questions to Challenge Negative Thoughts >>
Challenge Intrusive Thoughts >>

For parents:

Problem solving skills >>
Decision making skills >>

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