Resources for parents.

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Check out these great resources to teach your teen how to overcome life’s pressures at home, at school and in their social life.

icon-fileMental Health Support is a website with mental health resources provided by Allina Health.


icon-fileHow to Help Your Teen Manage Stress – What stress can do and tips to help your teen manage it.


icon-fileHow To Help Your Teen Control Anxiety – What anxiety can do and tips to help your teen control it.


icon-fileThe Live Well Blog contains Wellness and prevention information from the experts at the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing.


icon-fileHealth Powered Kids is a free online resource designed to empower children and teens to make good choices about being active, eating well and balancing their lives.


icon-fileThinking about Thinking – Our unconscious thinking process includes not what we experience; it is the meaning we give our experiences that matters.


icon-fileThe UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center offers free downloadable Guided Meditations.


icon-fileAuthentic Happiness is the homepage of Dr. Martin Seligman, Director of the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of positive psychology, a branch of psychology which focuses on the empirical study of such things as positive emotions, strengths-based character and healthy institutions. The resources provided on the website are free.

Teaching Others How to Chill

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Step 1: Check In

Ask participants to say which activity or suggestion from the website they have tried since your last meeting. Ask them to describe what they did and what it felt like.

Step 2: Teach Out

Teach Outs are an effective, and often fun, way to cover a lot of information in a fairly short amount of time. The idea is for people to work in teams or individually to investigate something they can share with the larger group so that everyone has a chance to learn it. Divide your group into two teams. Ask one team to spend some time investigating the “Ways to Chill” portion of the website (in “How Can I Change to Chill?”). Tell them that their assignment is to teach the other group what they learn. This can be done through a skit, demonstration, group activity or whatever way they choose. Ask the second group to do the same thing with the “Get Some Perspective” part of the site. Tell them how much time they have to explore and plan and how much time for teaching.

After groups have presented remind them that the Change to Chill website is always there for them any time they have access to the Internet and that the skills they’ve learned over the past several sessions will be with them always as long as they keep up their practice.

Get Some Perspective

Ways to Chill

Step 3: Meditation

Use the online five-minute video to provide participants with first-hand meditation experience. Invite them to get in a comfortable position. Inform them they can either watch the full video quietly or close their eyes and just listen. Either way, encourage them to follow the instructions and try the meditation. At the end take a few minutes to discuss what they thought of the experience.

Step 4: Reflect

As a final step in this new practice, take some time as a group to reflect on what you’ve done and what you’ve learned. Gather in a circle, sitting or standing. Then explain how the activity works. Say, “I’m going to ask a question. If you’d like to answer raise your hand and I’ll pass you the ball (or whatever object you have). Then once you are done you can pass the ball to someone else who would like to answer the same question.” When you are ready to ask a different question, ask that the object be tossed back to you. After the youth answer each question, you can take time to summarize what they said or expand on the thoughts they shared. Here are questions you can use:

  1. What did you like best about Change to Chill?
  2. What did you like least about Change to Chill?
  3. What did you learn by participating in these trainings?
  4. What are two or three words you can use to describe how you feel these trainings?
  5. What, if anything, will you do differently in your life because of the experiences you had through Change to Chill?

 

Guided Imagery

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Step 1: Check In

Ask participants to say which activity or suggestion from the website they have done since your last meeting. Ask them to describe what they did and what it felt like.

Step 2: Guided Imagery

Show the Guided Imagery video together and choose one of the processes for participants to try, either to de-stress or to focus on a future goal. At the end talk about how they think they could use this strategy in different specific situations.

Step 3: Create the State You Want

Distribute the Create the State You Want worksheet and explain that one of the most powerful yet simple self-awareness techniques is guided imagery. Guided imagery can have many health-related physical and emotional benefits. It can help you feel less nervous or upset, be less bothered by pain or reach a goal such as an athletic or academic achievement. Through guided imagery you can learn to use your imagination to actually change how you are feeling and what you are focused on. Have participants complete the worksheet and if they are comfortable doing so, share what they wrote or drew with one other person.

Create the State You Want

Step 4: Reflect

Gather your group in a circle. Ask teens to each complete the following two sentences as a way of reflecting on what they’ve learned about guided imagery:

1. A situation from my past in which I wish I had used guided imagery is…

2. In the future I will try using guided imagery to help me…

The Chiller Challenge

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Step 1: Check In

Ask participants to report back on their Sleep Trackers. Did they use them? What did they learn? What surprises were there?

Step 2: Better Sleep Tips

Ask for participants to share their ideas about ways to improve sleep or things they do that work for them. Make a list that you can type up and share with the group. Here are some suggestions from sleep experts:

  • Set up a regular routine time for sleeping and rising every day of the week; maintain that same routine on weekends and vacation.
  • Avoid computer screen time shortly before bedtime. The blue light from a computer screen can prevent your body from releasing the hormone melatonin, which plays a key role in falling sleep.
  • Create a space that helps you relax and sleep, and also wake up at the right time in the morning. Keep it cool, quiet and dark. If you need to, get eyeshades or blackout curtains. Let in bright light in the morning to signal your body to wake up.
  • Try guided meditation before bed.
  • Use aromatherapy. Lavender oil has a calming, sleep-supporting affect.
  • Avoid drinking caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime.
  • Get comfortable bed/bedding; eliminate clutter in your bedroom.
  • Get regular exercise, but not right before bed.
  • Find a good temperature for sleeping (cool is often the best).
  • Avoid taking naps during the day. If you do nap, limit the time to 15 minutes or less. Do not nap later than 3 p.m.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal or spicy foods before bedtime. If you are hungry at bedtime, eat a light snack (complex carbs such as whole grain toast with a thin spread of peanut butter or a thin slice of cheese; bananas are a good choice, too).
  • Avoid nicotine before bed. Quitting smoking or cutting down can help you fall asleep better and wake up fewer times each night.
  • Avoid watching the clock.
  • If you think you may have depression, anxiety or excessive stress, talk with your health care provider. Problems staying asleep can be a sign of depression.
  • If you think you many have another health issue that’s affecting your sleep, talk with your health care provider.
  • Many people wake up at night for various reasons. If you need to get up to use the bathroom, try to use a nightlight to see, instead of turning on a main light. Bright lights may keep you from falling asleep
  • If you get up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, do not stay in bed.
    • Leave the bedroom and do a quiet activity (such as reading).
    • Do not do school work or use electronics.
  • When you are tired, lie down again and you should be able to get back to sleep in about 20 minutes.

Step 3: Just Breathe

Teach young people a quick, easy, de-stressing strategy using the “Just Breathe” meditation. Either play the recording or read the instructions aloud and have participants follow along. Afterward discuss how they feel. What do they notice about their bodies? their minds?

Just Breathe

Step 4: Take the Chiller Challenge

Chillers are quick, helpful messages about how to slow down and step back from stress. The Chiller Challenge is a creative outlet for self-expression and individuality. Click on the “Chiller Challenge” tab and show participants the short video. Then see the “Chiller Challenge for Teens” guidelines and examples. Finally, give young people some time to work on creating their own Chillers either for themselves or to submit to Change to Chill.

Chiller Challenge

Step 5: Reflect

Ask for volunteers to share with the group the Chillers they developed or started. Give everyone who wants to an opportunity to show or talk about what they’ve done.

Super Sleep

Change To Chill - Super Sleep

Step 1: Check In

Ask how many people posted a Chiller on social media or emailed one to someone after the last lesson? Talk about which ones they chose and why.

Step 2: Sleep—What’s the Big Deal?

Explain that sleep is a critical component of dealing with stress. If you’re not getting enough sleep the hard stuff is going to get a lot harder.

It’s fair to say that overall, teens in the U.S. are in the middle of a sleep crisis. For most, 9-10 hours a night is ideal. Today many teenagers are aren’t getting enough sleep to recharge their bodies. Many teens report being drowsy upon waking, tired during the day and wakeful at night.

But if teens are getting by this way, does it actually matter?

The answer is yes, it absolutely matters. Getting enough sleep has many benefits:

  • You’ll feel better physically and emotionally.
  • It makes you less likely to get sick.
  • It means you’ll be more likely to stay at a healthy weight because lack of sleep causes hormones that affect weight to become out of balance.
  • You’ll lower risk of getting high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • It boosts brainpower…you’ll be able to think more clearly at school or work and perform better on things that matter to you whether it’s school, arts, sports, or just life in general.
  • You’ll make better, more healthful decisions.

So what are some signs that you might be suffering from a lack of sleep:

  • Irritability
  • Difficultly making decisions
  • Decreases ability to concentrate
  • Lower hand-eye coordination
  • Increased illness (both mental and physical)
  • FEELING TIRED A LOT!

Some people think it’s okay to get just a few hours a night during the week and then make up for it on the weekends. However, sleep doesn’t work that way. Our bodies need regular, consistent rest and time to reset.

Getting enough sleep is easier said then done, right? Many teens find that the rest of the world doesn’t function on the same schedule their bodies do. That’s because biological changes during adolescence can make it difficult to fall asleep before 11:00 or so, which in turn means sleeping later in the morning.

Fortunately there are some things you can do to help improve your chances. A first step is to learn about your own sleep-related habits. Use the Sleep Tracker to figure out how much sleep you’re getting and what things you’re doing at night that might be helping or causing problems.

Distribute the Sleep Tracker handout or let them know they can use it online, and encourage them to track their sleep for one week to get a sense of how well and how much they are actually sleeping. Ask them to report back at your next session.

Sleep Tracker

Step 3: Head-to-Toe Relaxation

In “Try Meditation” scroll down and click on the “Head-to-Toe Relaxation” link and use the written version. We have found that reading it aloud works better with a group than playing the audio recording. When you’ve finished, ask the group these questions:

  • How do you feel?
  • What did you notice during this relaxation practice?
  • At what points during your day could you use a few minutes of relaxation? Do you think practicing using this method could help you do that?

Point out that doing this relaxation activity in bed at night can be a way to help you fall asleep.

Step 4: What’s Next

Point out that Changing to Chill is what’s known as a practice. It’s something you do regularly and learn about over time. No one ever just learns to chill once and then is done. Encourage teens to continue the practice that you’ve started today, choosing one activity or suggestion from the website that they are committed to trying or repeating in the next week. Close by asking for a few people to say which thing they are going to try.

Finding Balance

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Step 1: Check In

Ask how many people watched the Stress Test video and tried the belly breathing described at the end. If not everyone watched or it seems a refresher is needed, watch as a group. Talk about times since you last met when people felt stressed. How did their bodies react? Does anyone have any strategies they use to lessen the stress response when they feel that surge of adrenaline? After a bit of discussion, spend a few minutes doing some deep belly breathing or other relaxation techniques before getting started with the session.

Step 2: Life Balance

The Achieve Balance section of the site focuses on becoming aware of how you’re balancing your life. Leading a life that isn’t in alignment with your values and priorities can be a huge source of stress. Do the two activities that follow.

  1. Values Circle—Distribute the “Values Circle” worksheet or blank pieces of paper to each participant along with a pen or pencil. Follow the directions for the activity as they are listed on the handouts and website. When participants are done filling in the two worksheets as directed spend a few minutes discussing the following:
  • What do you notice about how your values compare with how you spend your time?
  • Are you happy with what you discovered by doing this activity? Why or why not?
  • What’s one thing you’d like to do differently in order to have your life more aligned with your values?
  1. Balance Mobile—Creating a mobile is a metaphor for understanding life balance and maintaining it during times of change and adversity. It helps to bring the otherwise unconscious process of decision making to conscious awareness in order to be proactive not reactive. Follow the directions for creating a Balance Mobile as they are listed on the handouts and website. When participants have completed their mobiles ask them to show their creations to the larger group, if they are comfortable doing so, and share a little bit about what they learned. You can use these processing questions:
  • If you could have your mobile, as a representation of your life, anyway you want to how would you ultimately want it to look?
  • What needs to change for you to have the balance you want?
  • How are you going to get that without disrupting everything?
  • What would you have to do first, second, third?
  • What would you have to give up?
  • What’s the one thing you could do now that will help you move toward the life?

Values Circle

Balance Mobile

Step 3: An Introduction to Mindfulness

Click “Try Meditation.” You will find videos on meditation along with guided audio recordings. Learning some easy relaxation and meditation techniques can help you think more clearly, make decisions and manage whatever comes your way. Give teens a few minutes to explore the different options that are here. Then lead them through each of the following activities:

Mindful Eating—Distribute one individually wrapped candy or other food item to each participant. Ask them to wait until instructed to unwrap the candy and begin. Then lead them through the step-by-step directions. End with a discussion using the following questions as a guide:

  • What did you notice during that experience?
  • What did you like most? dislike most?
  • How can you incorporate mindful eating into meals and snacks? Would that change your experience with food?

Try Meditation

Step 4: Yoga for Any Room

Introduce the idea of yoga as a way to reduce stress and achieve mind-body balance. Do these slowly and at ease taking at least five full breaths during each pose or timing each for one minute.

Change to Chill - Cobra

Cobra
Lie on your stomach on the floor. If you are sitting in a chair, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor. Put your hands on the floor under your shoulders. If you are sitting in a chair, put your hands on your knees or desk.
Stretch your upper body up high, with your arms straight and your stomach resting on the ground. If you are sitting, lean forward slightly, push your hands against your knees or desk and push your shoulders back to look up slightly, keep your neck as straight and in-line with your spine.
Keep stretching and breathing in and out as you breathe out slowly sigh. Tighten your abdominals to support your back.
If you are on the floor, breathe in and lift your feet up by bending your knees. Try to bring your head and feet close together. Can they touch each other?

Change to Chill - Paint the World

Paint the World
Stand up. Bend forward with your arms hanging down.
Clasp your hands together, with fingers interlocked. Envision holding a big paintbrush.
Walk around the room. Keeping your elbows locked move the paintbrush high, low, and all around.
After a minute, take a deep breath in and stretch your ‘paintbrush’ higher up into the air. Lean back and with the ‘paintbrush’ high towards the sky, exhale fully as you sign your name through the air with a big slow sigh, bringing the paintbrush down with your exhale (sigh).

Change to Chill - Relaxed Jack Knife

Relaxed Jack Knife
Kneel on the floor on your knees, and then sit back on your heels. If you are sitting in a chair, keep your feet flat on the floor.
Lean forward and stretch your arms forward to the ground. Continue stretching as far as you can. Can you touch your forehead to the floor? If you are sitting on a chair, just reach down to the floor as far as you can.
Stretch your arms out as far as they will go, allow your body to relax.
Take in big breaths, feel your chest rise with each breath in and your chest relax toward the floor with each breath out, breathe in and out at your own pace.
Relax for a minute.

Change to Chill - Supine Deep Relaxation

Supine Deep Relaxation
Lie on the floor on your back with your legs straight and arms at your sides. Or sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and hands on your desk or lap.
The palms of your hands are facing up and resting on the floor, desk or lap.
Close your eyes and breathe gently.
Focus on your breath and allow any thoughts or distractions to come to you and just let them go, refocusing on your breath.
Sometimes you might need a word to focus on, or a favorite place to imagine like lying or sitting on a beach. Imagine the warm sand, the hot sun and the cool breeze off the water. Your breath sounds like the waves! As you breathe in, listen! It sounds like the waves coming up to the shore. As you breathe out, imagine the waves going back out to sea. Keep breathing with the waves for another minute or two.

Change to Chill - Deep Lunge

Deep Lunge
From standing, step left foot back as far as comfortable, staying high on the fall of the left foot, keeping the right knee over the right ankle bring right knee to 90 degrees if you can, keep left leg strong and straight. Pull abdominals in and as you breathe in move straight arms from sides up to sky and meet them in the middle above your head, hold for a moment, then as you exhale move straight arms down to side, repeat 5 more times, then switch legs.

Change to Chill - Up Triangle

Up Triangle
From standing, feet facing forward, spread feet apart as you are able. Bring straight arms above your head, palms together and look up at hands, tuck tailbone in, abdominals tight and focus on strong body, activating all your muscles in body to hold this pose. Breathe for 5 deep breaths in and out.

Change to Chill - Up Triangle

Down Triangle
From standing, feet facing forward, spread feet apart as you are able. Slowly bend at the hips forward bring your head and elbows as close to the floor as possible, breathe deeply and fully as you relax for 5 breaths.

Step 5: What’s Next?

Encourage participants to spend some time between now and your next meeting checking out the Chillers in the Ways to Chill section. Suggest they choose one Chiller to share on social media or email to a friend or relative. Then close with a Rose and Thorn reflection. Ask each person to name one thing from the session today that they felt good about (a Rose) and one thing they didn’t like or didn’t feel good about (a Thorn).

Chillers

How Can I Change to Chill?

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Step 1: Get Started

Show the introductory Change to Chill video. Explain that you are going to introduce them to and practice using some of the Change to Chill resources, which are available any time and anywhere they have internet access. Take a few minutes to see if anyone in the group has a reaction, comment or question they’d like to share about the video or about stress in general. Don’t spend too much time on this, but do give people a chance to speak.

Step 2: Create a Safe Space

Point out that talking about stress, what causes it and ways to deal with it might mean that at some point you’ll address sensitive or emotional topics. It’s important therefore that you work together to create a safe space where people feel they can share information and ideas, and will be respected and treated well. Ask the group to brainstorm a list of expectations, norms or agreements that will help make that so. If necessary, provide a few examples to get them started. Write their ideas on a piece of poster board or flip chart paper and then post it where everyone can see and that you can point to if people need reminding. If they don’t mention the follow consider adding them:

Confidentiality—What’s said in the room stays in the room.

Non-judgment: The causes of stress and ways of dealing with it are different for everyone. This group is about learning how to recognize and manage your own stress, not “fix” others. Refrain from counseling, coaching or critiquing what others say or do in the group.

Listen to hear, not respond: Again, each person is unique. When others are sharing their stories, thoughts or ideas, listen and try to understand, ask clarifying questions, affirm what’s being said, but don’t try to argue points, persuade others, or correct things you think are wrong.

Respect self, others and the space: Be good citizens of the group. If you choose not to participate, make sure you are not distracting or otherwise making it difficult for your peers to participate in the ways they choose.

Step 3: Meditation Experiment

Before you start talking about stress, lead a little experiment. Let participants know that there is no right or wrong way to do this…that it’s just about trying it and seeing what happens. Give the following instructions:

This experiment will be done sitting in a chair, with no particular position. We will be sitting in silence for about one minute, breathing normally. As we do this simply become aware of the inhale as your breath comes into your body, and exhale as it leaves.

Let them breathe in silence for about 15-30 seconds, then say the following:

Now, as you do this you may notice, within seconds, that thoughts begin to arise. Some of these thoughts dissolve quickly. Others may hold your attention so much that you cannot focus on your inhale and your exhale at all. When you find this is the case, acknowledge the thoughts and then focus once again as much as possible on following closely the inhale and the exhale of your breath.

Do this for an additional 30-60 seconds. Then talk about that experience. What was it like? How did it feel? Was it comfortable? Uncomfortable? Relaxing? Stressful? Explain that in the sessions that follow you will be learning about and practicing various forms of meditation and mindfulness and that this was one example. Mindfulness and meditation are two of the healthiest and most effective stress-busting strategies.

  • Mindfulness is the objective observation of the present moment. It reduces anxiety by focusing on the present moment—not the past or the future, both of which can create anxiety.
  • Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of focus. It can take many different forms.

Change to Chill has a number of options for learning about mindfulness and trying meditation with the help of videos and guided audio recordings. Learning some easy relaxation and meditation techniques can help you think more clearly, make better decisions and manage whatever comes your way. They will probably become much more comfortable with these practices over time and learn to use them to cope with and even prevent stress.

Step 3: Determine Your Stress Factors

Have teens take the stress factors quiz. If they prefer they can do this as a group and just agree to choose the answers they think are most common among themselves or teens in general. There are five questions and no right or wrong answers. By taking the quiz teens will learn where their stress is coming from and what it does to them.

Once participants have answered the 5th and final question and clicked “next,” a results page will appear. Give time for reviewing the customized results and exploring the recommended resources on the website. This can be done individually or in a group setting. Don’t pressure individuals to share their answers or results if they don’t want to.

Stress_Factors_Quiz

Step 4: What Is Stress?

Read through as a group or individually the Causes of Stress section. Distribute copies of the Stress: What Brings It On? worksheet or have them each draw three matching columns on a blank piece of paper, marking the top of the columns (from left to right) “then,” “now” and “when.” Follow the instructions on the worksheet.

Stress: What Brings It On?

Step 5: What’s Next

Ask participants to watch the “Stress Test” video between now and the next time you meet, and to try the breathing technique described at the end. Also ask them to pay attention to when they are stressed and how their bodies react. Then ask each participant to reflect on your time together by saying aloud one word that describes how they are thinking or feeling at the moment.

Lead a youth workshop.

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Girl Scout Stress Less patchGirl Scouts who complete all eight steps will be eligible for the limited-time Change to Chill patch. Details coming soon!

There is so much pressure on teens and pre-teens to do and be their best in school, at home, online, in after-school activities and socially…just about everywhere. Yet many of the things people do to try to be their best actually work against them. Stress, it turns out, is a BARRIER to almost everything. Change to Chill is all about learning how to reduce as well as deal with stress. It’s a resource teens can turn to anywhere and anytime they have Internet access.

Step 1: Introduction

Show the Change to Chill into video. Take a few minutes to see if anyone in the group has a reaction, comment or question they’d like to share about the video or about stress in general. Don’t spend too much time on this, but do give people a chance to speak. Then explain that in today’s session they will learn about some of the many resources available through Change to Chill and have a chance to practice using some of them.

Step 2: Create a Safe Space

Point out that talking about stress, what causes it and ways to deal with it might mean that at some point you’ll address sensitive or emotional topics. It’s important therefore to create a safe space where people feel they can share information and ideas and be respected and treated well. Ask the group to brainstorm a list of expectations, norms or agreements that will help make that so. If necessary offer a few examples to get them started. Write their ideas on a piece of poster board or flip chart paper and then post it where everyone can see it. You can point back to it during the session as a reminder if and when they need it.

If during the discussion young people don’t mention the following ideas consider adding them:
Confidentiality—What’s said in the room stays in the room.
Non-judgment: The causes of stress and ways of dealing with it are different for everyone. This group is about learning to recognize and manage your own stress, not “fix” others. Refrain from counseling, coaching, or critiquing what others say or do in the group.
Listen to hear, not respond: Again, each person is unique. When others are sharing their stories, thoughts or ideas, listen and try to understand, ask clarifying questions, affirm what’s being said, but don’t try to argue points, persuade others, or correct things you think are wrong.
Respect self, others, and the space: Be good citizens of the group. If you choose to not participate make sure you are not distracting or otherwise making it difficult for your peers to participate in the ways they choose.

Step 3: Determine Your Stress Factors

Have teens take the stress factors quiz. They can do this together if they prefer and agree to choose the answers they think are most common among their group or among teens in general. There are five questions and no right or wrong answers. By taking the quiz teens will learn where their own stress is coming from and what stress does to them.

Once participants have answered the 5th and final question and clicked “next,” a results page will appear. Give time for reviewing the customized results and exploring the recommended resources on the website. This can be done individually or in a group setting. Never pressure individuals to share their answers or results if they don’t want to.

Stress_Factors_Quiz

Step 4: What Is Stress?

Visit the What Is Stress? page. Once there read through as a group the Causes of Stress section. Distribute copies of the Stress: What Brings It On? worksheet. Alternately, have them view the worksheet to see how it’s set up. Then ask them to each draw three matching columns on a blank piece of paper, marking the top of the columns (from left to right) “then,” “now” and “when.” Follow the instructions on the worksheet.

What Is Stress?
Stress: What Brings It On?

Step 5: Five-Minute Meditation

Meditation is one of the healthiest and most effective stress-busting strategies. It is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of focus. It can take many different forms.

Change to Chill has a number of options for trying meditation with the help of videos and guided audio recordings. Learning some easy relaxation and meditation techniques can help you think more clearly, make better decisions, and manage whatever comes your way. Take a few minutes to explore the different meditations and then click on the five-minute video to have a first-hand meditation experience.

Invite participants to each get in a comfortable position. Inform them they can either watch the full video quietly or close their eyes. Either way, encourage them to follow the instructions and try the meditation. If necessary, remind them of the Safe Space agreements. At the end of the meditation take a few minutes to discuss what they thought of the experience. Point out that they can come back to the Change to Chill website and experience this or other guided meditations and relaxation activities at any time.

Try Meditation

Step 6: Yoga for Any Room

Introduce the idea of yoga or simply stretching and breathing as a way to reduce stress. Do these slowly and at ease taking at least five full breaths during each pose or timing each for one minute.

Change to Chill - Sun Breath

Sun Breath
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed, or in your chair with feet flat on the floor, and your back straight. Put the palms of your hands together at the center of your chest. Close your eyes and begin by taking three big sun breaths.
Here’s how: When you breathe in deeply, raise your arms above your head in the shape of a big round sun. Then breathe out and bring your arms back down so that your palms are together at the center of your chest.
Do this at least three times. The sun breath allows you to become centered and focused on your breath.

Change to Chill - Space Float

Space Float
Sit on the floor with your legs crossed or in a chair with feet flat on the floor. Take hold of your outside ankle. If you are sitting on a chair, hold onto the edges of the chair by the outside of your legs, above the knees.
Breathe in deeply as you stretch your body forward, chest and stomach out. Breathe out as you slump back, spine is curved, chest is caved in. Keep moving this way and get faster and faster.
Space float gives you a flexible spine. It keeps your back muscles relaxed and strong. It also helps you digest your food.

Change to Chill - Reverse Plank

Reverse Plank
Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you and your hands behind you on the floor. Breathe in and push yourself up into a kind of backwards push-up.
Make yourself into a perfectly straight line, like a shooting star, by pushing your stomach up and pointing your toes away from you.
Hold this pose for a count of 10, 20 or 30. Can you go for 50?
Reverse Plank makes your arms, legs and stomach muscles strong. You can also do this pose while sitting in a chair. Hold the edges of the chair and push up like the description above.

Change to Chill - Moon Walk

Moon Walk
Sit in your chair or lie down on the floor on your back.
Begin to walk in the air. Keep your right leg straight and lift it up as you lift your left arm. Breathe in as you lift. Breathe out as your arm and leg go down.
Then breathe in again and lift your left leg and right arm together.
Breathe out as your arm and leg go down.
Keep going. Lift your leg and stretch your arm straight up toward the sky. Moon Walk balances the two sides of your brain and helps you think better.

Change to Chill - Deep Lunge

Deep Lunge
From standing, step left foot back as far as comfortable, staying high on the fall of the left foot, keeping the right knee over the right ankle bring right knee to 90 degrees if you can, keep left leg strong and straight. Pull abdominals in and as you breathe in move straight arms from sides up to sky and meet them in the middle above your head, hold for a moment, then as you exhale move straight arms down to side, repeat 5 more times, then switch legs.

Change to Chill - Up Triangle

Up Triangle
From standing, feet facing forward, spread feet apart as you are able. Bring straight arms above your head, palms together and look up at hands, tuck tailbone in, abdominals tight and focus on strong body, activating all your muscles in body to hold this pose. Breathe for 5 deep breaths in and out.

Change to Chill - Up Triangle

Down Triangle
From standing, feet facing forward, spread feet apart as you are able. Slowly bend at the hips forward bring your head and elbows as close to the floor as possible, breathe deeply and fully as you relax for 5 breaths.

Step 7: Mindful Eating

Distribute one individually wrapped candy or other food item to each participant. Ask them to wait until instructed to unwrap the candy and begin. Then lead them through the step-by-step directions. End with a discussion using the following questions as a guide:

  • What did you notice during that experience?
  • What did you like most? dislike most?
  • How can you incorporate mindful eating into meals and snacks? Would that change your experience with food?

Mindful Eating activity

Step 8: Take the Chiller Challenge

Chillers are quick, helpful messages about how to slow down and step back from stress. The Chiller Challenge is a creative outlet for self-expression and individuality. Show participants the short video so they know what it’s all about. Then see the “Chiller Challenge for Teens” guidelines and examples. Finally, give young people some time to work on creating their own Chillers either for themselves or to submit to Change to Chill.

Chiller Challenge

Step 9: What’s Next

Point out that Changing to Chill is what’s known as a practice. It’s something you do regularly and learn about over time. No one ever just learns to chill once and then is done. Fortunately the Change to Chill resources are available any time and anywhere young people have Internet access. To encourage teens to continue the practice they’ve started today, ask them choose one activity or suggestion from the website that they are committed to trying or repeating in the next week. Invite volunteers to say which thing they are going to try and why.

Help someone you mentor.

helpgrid_mentor

We know that every mentoring relationship is unique and that the amount of time together and focus of that time can vary. Trust and mutual respect are also important. So while we’ve provided some ideas and a structure, follow your mentee’s lead as to what’s important and helpful. The most important thing is to introduce Change to Chill so they know it is a resource they can turn to for ideas and information anywhere and anytime they have access to the Internet.

Step 1: Get Started

Watch the Change to Chill intro video together.

Step 2: Determine Stress Factors

Encourage your mentee to take the Stress Factors Quiz. Better yet, both of you take the quiz at the same time on separate devices. There are five questions and no right or wrong answers. Be sure to respect your mentee’s PRIVACY, but be there to talk if they want to. By taking the quiz your mentee will learn about where their own stress is coming from and what stress does to them.

After the 5th and final question is answered and you click “next,” a results page will appear. Take time for reviewing the customized results and exploring the recommended resources on the website. (Note that answers are not saved on the website and will disappear once you leave the site.) Again, don’t pressure your mentee to share their answers or results if they don’t want to. If your mentee really doesn’t want to take the quiz, do it together and give answers you think are true for most young people her or his age.

Stress_Factors_Quiz

Step 3: What Is Stress?

Watch the Stress Test video together. Then read through the Causes of Stress. Talk about the different sources of stress you each experience. Are they similar? Different? Have the things that cause you stress changed over time? Do the same things that caused you stress when you were younger bother you now? How about your mentee? What do you both think might be some sources of stress in the future? Explain again that Change to Chill is all about learning to deal with stress and changing your ways of thinking and acting to help you thrive in spite of whatever life throws your way.

What Is Stress?

Step 4: Stretching

Stretching is good for the body and the mind. It is known to reduce the negative impacts of stress. On mats or a dry, soft, flat area in the grass or on carpet, try the following stretches. Note the parts of the body that deserve special attention in each pose.

Change to Chill - Toe Touch

Toe Touch—A toe touch stretch is one of the most basic. It primarily targets the muscles of the legs, especially the calves and hamstrings. From a standing position, bend over at the waist and reach for your toes with feet together. If you can’t quite reach your toes, stretch just as far as is comfortable. Alternately, from a sitting position, sit with legs outstretched and together. Then bend forward. Reach for your toes or as far as is comfortable. In both versions, hold for 15 seconds and then release.

Change to Chill - Neck Half Circles

Neck Half Circles—Start by stretching right ear to right shoulder. Then roll your head around, chin to chest, in a half circle to the left shoulder, and then back again, chin to chest. Slow movements are important to protect the neck muscles from injury.

Change to Chill - Shoulder Circles

Shoulder Circles—Shrug your shoulders and rotate them forward and down in a circle. Switch directions after five or six turns by shrugging the shoulders and then moving backwards in a circle.

Change to Chill - Arm Circles

Arm Circles—Arm circles can be used to stretch the muscles supporting the elbow and shoulder joint where the arm attaches to the shoulder. Hold your arms out to the side, creating a horizontal line. Then draw circles with your hands, starting with small circles and slowly growing to large circles, then back to smaller circles. Start first by drawing circles clockwise, and then reverse to counter-clockwise. Keep the movements slow, and avoid just flailing your arms around.

Change to Chill - Side Bends

Side Bends—Stand up straight with arms to the outside of each thigh. Slowly move your fingers down toward the outside of one knee, while bending at the waist. Alternate sides; do 10 side bends on each side.

Change to Chill - Reach for the Stars

Reach for the Stars—Just like the title of this one, reach up as high as you can while standing on your tiptoes. This stretch can even be done while lying down on a mat; the goal is to reach hands and feet away from each other.

Change to Chill - Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose—Child’s pose can be used as part of a regular stretching routine for more of a full body stretch. To perform the child’s pose, get on your knees with feet together. Then sit on your heels and bend your body forward until your forehead touches the ground. Bring your arms around to each side of your body, resting with palms facing towards the sky. Hold the pose for 30 seconds, and then return back to an upright kneeling position. Repeat several times.

Step 5: Five-Minute Meditation

Meditation is one of the healthiest and most effective stress-busting strategies. It is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of focus. It can take many different forms.

Change to Chill has a number of options for trying meditation with the help of videos and guided audio recordings. Learning some easy relaxation and meditation techniques can help you think more clearly, make better decisions, and manage whatever comes your way. Take a few minutes to explore the different meditations and then click on the five-minute video to have a first-hand meditation experience.

Get in a comfortable position. Either watch the full video quietly together or close your eyes and just listen…whichever you prefer. At the end take a few minutes to discuss what you both thought of the experience. Let your mentee know that the video is on the Change to Chill website and can be watched at anytime from any device. The more often they watch it the more comfortable they should be become with the technique.

Try Meditation

Step 6: Guided Imagery

Watch the Guided Imagery videos together and try one of the processes, either to de-stress or to focus on a future goal. At the end talk about how you think you could use this strategy in different situations.

Step 7: What’s Next?

Changing to Chill is what’s known as a practice. It’s something you do regularly and learn about over time. No one ever just learns to chill once and then is done. Fortunately the Change to Chill resources are available any time and anywhere young people have Internet access. To encourage your mentee to continue the practice you’ve started, choose one activity or suggestion from the website that you are each committed to trying between now and when you meet again. Agree to talk the next time you are together about what you tried and how it went.

Curious about more ways to build resiliency in teens? Check out our Mental Remix video to learn about this simple but powerful strategy.

Help a family member.

helpgrid_family

No parent wants to see their child totally stressed out (or to be stressed out themselves). Stress makes family life challenging for everyone. However, as much as we might like to shelter our families from it all, there are a lot of different pressures in life and some stress is normal and unavoidable. Fortunately there are also many positive ways of dealing with it.

We know that teens in particular aren’t always receptive to parents’ advice. So we’ve developed a structure for using the Change to Chill website with family members that allows for tweaks and adjustments to suit your unique needs. Follow your child’s lead as to what’s important and helpful. The most important thing is to introduce Change to Chill so they know they can turn to it for ideas and information anywhere and anytime they have access to the Internet.

Step 1: Get Started

Watch the Change to Chill intro video together.

Step 2: Determine Stress Factors

Encourage your teen to take the Stress Factors quiz. Better yet, both of you take it at the same time on separate computers. There are five questions and no right or wrong answers. Be sure to give your teen privacy but also be there if they want to talk. By taking the quiz your son or daughter will learn about where their own stress is coming from and what stress does to them.

After the 5th and final question is answered and they click “next,” a results page will appear. Take time for reviewing the customized results and exploring the recommended resources on the website. Again, don’t pressure your teen to share their answers or results if they don’t want to. Note that answers are not saved on the website and will disappear once you leave the site.

Stress_Factors_Quiz

Step 3: What Is Stress?

Watch the Stress Test video together. Then read through the Causes of Stress. Talk about the different sources of stress you each experience. Has that changed over time? Do the same things that caused you stress when you were younger bother you now? What do you both think might be some sources of stress in the future? Explain again that Change to Chill is all about learning to deal with stress and change your ways of thinking to help you thrive in spite of whatever life throws your way.

What Is Stress?

Step 4: Introduction to Mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation are two of the healthiest and most effective stress-busting strategies.

  • Mindfulness is the objective observation of the present moment. It reduces anxiety by focusing on the present moment—not the past or the future, both of which can create anxiety.
  • Meditation is the practice of turning your attention to a single point of focus. It can take many different forms.

Change to Chill has a number of options for learning about mindfulness and trying meditation with the help of videos and guided audio recordings. Learning some easy relaxation and meditation techniques can help you think more clearly, make better decisions, and manage whatever comes your way. Take a few minutes to explore the different meditations and then go to Mindful Eating at the very bottom of the page. Paying focused attention while eating a small treat such as a piece of dried fruit or individually wrapped candy is a simple, fun way to learn about the concept of mindfulness. Read through the instructions together and then do the activity following the step-by-step directions. After you’ve finished, talk about it:

  • What did you notice?
  • What did you like most? dislike most?
  • How can you incorporate mindful eating into meals and snacks? Would that change your experience with food?

Try Meditation

Step 5: Five-Minute Meditation

Stay on the Try Meditation tab. Use the online five-minute video to have a first-hand meditation experience.

Get in a comfortable position. Either watch the full video quietly together or close your eyes and listen…whatever you prefer. At the end take a few minutes to discuss what you both thought of the experience.

Try Meditation

Step 6: Guided Imagery

Watch the Guided Imagery video together and try one of the processes, either to de-stress or to focus on a future goal. At the end talk about how you think you could use this strategy in different specific situations.

Step 7: What’s Next?

Changing to Chill is what’s known as a practice. It’s something you do regularly and learn about over time. No one ever just learns to relax once and then has it mastered. Fortunately the Change to Chill resources are available any time and anywhere young people have Internet access. To encourage your teen and yourself to stay motivated to continue what you’ve started today, choose one activity or suggestion from the website that you are each committed to trying over the next week. Agree to come back together in seven days specifically to review the website and talk about what you tried and how it went.

Additional Resources for Parents