WEEK 29- 3 Minute Stress Buster

Equipment Required

  • Some space for students to move on the spot

  • a clock, watch or phone for timing

PERMAH Element

Health and Positive emotion

Teachers to read and facilitate the following:



Stress is a state of mental, physical or emotional tension, resulting from demanding circumstances. At different times in our lives (especially this time of term), we all experience demanding circumstances resulting in stress- but it is not always a bad thing. It can sharpen our focus, as well as increase stamina and alertness to help us rise to the challenges we face. There are two different types of stress- one is good or productive stress and the other is negative or distress. Good stress (Eustress) is when we feel uncomfortable, nervous and pressured but believe we can handle it. It can be energising, improve our performance and usually only lasts a short time (Lazarus, 1966). It can also inspire us to take action (finish the assignment, sort out the friendship issue). We might have this stress before an exam, or an athletic race, when meeting new people or when trying something new. If we notice feeling stressed, we can realise that our bodies are telling us that something is important to us, and we can respond to the motivation and energy it provides. When we are able to cope with difficult and challenging situations, new learning, growth and connection will often come out of as a result (Kern & McQuaid, 2017). We can’t avoid all stress in our lives. Instead, we are better off finding ways to cope with the stressors that are bound to come our way as we journey through life. Some useful strategies for coping with stress are: mindfulness, visualisation, being organised, journaling, drawing, deep breathing, listening to relaxing music, dancing and exercise. We’ll try a few that might help this week.

NB: There may be times when we feel negative stress is overwhelming, and at these times we should seek the support and guidance of family, trusted adult friends, school teachers or counsellors, or youth health organisations like beyondblue, ReachOut or headspace (https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/help-someone-you-know/supporting-a-friend).

Description of Personal Wellbeing Practice:  3 minute Stress Buster

1 minute exercise, 1 minute mindfulness and 1 minute deep breathing.

  1. We are going to get our heart rate up by moving our bodies for 1 minute.

  2. Start by running on the spot for 15 seconds. Next, jump up and down on the spot and shake your arms and whole body for 15 seconds. Star jumps for 15 seconds. Freestyle dance for 15 seconds.

  3. Then stop and count pulse for 1 minute as a mindful activity. (Younger students may just observe the way the body feels after the exercise) Notice the way your body feels, notice how strong your pulse is and how it starts to slow down again as time goes on.

  4. Now sit or lay down where you are and close your eyes. We are going to use deep breathing to calm our mind and bodies for one minute. Place your hands on your abdomen and breathe in through your nose slowly. Breathe deeply so the breath moves your hands slightly. Then slowly breathe out, contracting your abdominal muscles to gently push the air out.

  5. Breathe in to the count of four and breathe out for the count of four. Continue for 1 minute.

Once you have tried this three minute stress buster, consider which of the 3 activities was the most helpful to you (and you might like to use it over the next few weeks).  As we are all unique, different stress relieving strategies will work better for us than others. We need to try different strategies to find what works best for us.  (Lyubomirsky, 2014). This is called “person-activity fit”.

Main message:

 “You can’t control the wind, but you can adjust the sails.” — Thomas S Monson


UPP’s Personal Wellbeing Practices

A Personal Wellbeing Practice (PWP) is an evidenced-based positive psychology intervention, applied in school communities or other educational settings. At UPP, we have tried to make these PWP’s simple, concise and relevant for students and their teachers. The six elements for the Personal Wellbeing Practices are: Positive emotion (P); Engagement (E); Relationships (R); Meaning (M); Accomplishment (A); and, Health (H).

We hope that these evidence-based tools of positive psychology will enhance help people to thrive and live their best life, both within and beyond the school gates.  

For more activities like this (and much more), check out THRIVE Online Lesson Modules for Pastoral Care and Wellbeing.

Unleashing Personal Potential