Stress, School and Self-Regulation

In my practice, I have seen a growing number of adolescents and young adults struggling with stress and anxiety.  This translates into difficulties which unfortunately are not being effectively considered within the educational system. A recent article in the Toronto Star on Student Stress interviewing York Professor Stuart Shanker highlights the problem.

“Life is very complex; our children are exposed to stressors in everything from video games to junk food, and anxiety is one of the biggest problems in elementary schools, high schools, even post-secondary,” said Shanker.

My own experience in treating clients through programs like Mindfulness Martial Arts and Taming the Bull, is that self-regulation is key to addressing what Shanker calls the core-competencies. A recent report published by the People for Education outlines the five core social-emotional competencies (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, interpersonal relationships and decision-making).  I am personally very pleased to see advocates suggesting that schools focus greater attention on student well-being, mental health and social-emotional development.