, , , , , , , ,

Negative emotions such as anxiety, depression, anger and fear are time and again overwhelming for these youngsters, as they, as many other adolescents, often lack effective and healthy ways of managing them.  For that reason providing them with such tools becomes vital.  In my search at the time, I found that teaching deep relaxation and guided imagery to the youngsters, either individually, or in group, was a great opportunity for them to learn new ways of dealing with those feelings and stress in general. There are so many excellent audio/visual materials available, even if mainly in English.  One such source is the wonderful audio materials of well- known expert Belleruth Naparstek, in her General Wellness. Staying Well with Guided Imagery. Audio series (Naparstek, 2005).  In trying to find the best ways to use resources such as those, I made a translation/adaptation CD, so that a student could go to the school clinic, lie down and play the CD in one of the cubicles, when he or she was feeling under a lot of stress.  The school nurse and the school nurse aid were very helpful in allowing students, previously identified,  to come to the clinic and use a school CD player for that purpose and the audio/visual department in the high school spent a lot of time helping me in the development of a couple of short length CD’s with guided imagery to relieve stress and anxiety.  Just like all adolescents, our Hispanic students get quickly savvy in the use of electronic devices and my fantasy was that in time, students could become more and more familiar with resources like that and could download such materials in their MP3 and use them at home, or anywhere they pleased. The students were also taught some of these helpful stress relief strategies in the group sessions as well, so they could learn how to use them by themselves at home, and even in a classroom format with the support and blessing of the English as a Second Language (ESOL) teacher. They were introduced to them as learning helpful and proven strategies to calm unpleasant emotions such as “nerves”, anger and sadness, providing examples of such situations based on their daily lives as students or members of a family, so they could identify with them and feel motivated to try them.  The person teaching the strategies also could testify of their effectiveness as a regular user herself or himself. Warnings that someone may fall asleep were also given in advance, with the advice to ignore them and continue your exercise, as that could happen because these exercises increased the total relaxation of your body which was the desired and a wonderful response. Additionally, another resource for finding these stress management skills in a format already adapted for the adolescent can be found in a book already mentioned, in the post about the adolescent brain by Dr. Daniel Siegel, MD.  In this book, he uses mindfulness meditation skills to teach adolescents many different exercises to relieve stress in a user friendly language: The Adolescent Brain (Siegel, 2014). A translation to Spanish is probably due soon, as his book about younger children has already been translated (Siegel, 2012)