The end of the year can be stressful. The University of Missouri’s Keith Herman has tips and resources for reducing teacher stress.

Using the Social Learning Theory to deal with stress

Herman likes to use the Social Learning Theory to deal with stress. The big idea is that our lives are divided into three aspects: our thoughts, our feelings and our behavior. “If we think of stress as a compilation of feelings – sadness, anxiety, whatever the case may be – this model tells us there are only two choices to change our stress,” Herman said. “We can change how we think about these events in our lives, or we can change what we’re doing, our behavior.”

Herman says different people might have different feelings to the same event, such as state assessments. While one teacher might experience significant stress, worry, frustration or concern, another might not feel stressed at all. He says a big difference between the two are the thoughts the different people have about the event. Being aware of and evaluating your thoughts can help you change your emotional experience.

Monitor your moods to reduce stress

“One of the reasons people get so stressed is we don’t take time to reflect on our stress levels and what sorts of things are impacting how we are experiencing what’s happening in our workplace,” Herman said. Herman recommends taking five minutes at the end of each day to rate your stress level on a scale of 1-10 along with a few notes on the events, thoughts and behaviors that went along with your stress level each day. This act of self monitoring can decrease your stress levels on its own, and it will also help you to use other strategies to decrease stress.”

Download a printable mood monitoring chart.

Use lists to reduce stress

Writing down positive thoughts can help you have positive thoughts more often throughout the day. Take some time to write down a list of 20 positive thoughts. These can be things you are grateful for, a calming mantra or an affirmation. Put this list somewhere you will see it often. Several times a day, pull out the list and read over the positive thoughts, say them to yourselves and really think about them. Over time, these thoughts will start occurring naturally more often. “We know that having positive thoughts is directly linked to having positive feelings, so the more we have them, the more we are feeling positive about our lives,” Herman said.

Download the worksheet.

Use the ABCDE method to reduce stress

Evaluate your thoughts surrounding the actions you are experiencing to try to arrive at a better emotional outcome.

Download the worksheet.