Patricia S. Barkley
Kentucky
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Project:
  This is the third lesson in a series on stress reduction lessons designed to help students identify stress and determine ways to combat it. The lessons are: 1. Stress reduction: Identifying and combating stressors 2. Stress reduction: Deep breathing techniques 3. Stress reduction: Visual imagery

Subjects:
  Critical thinking, Health education, Life skills

Learner Level:
  Multilevel…can be adapted to any level

Time Frame:
  One hour

Learner Grouping:
  Individual, small group, whole class

Setting:
  This class was made up of 15-18 ABE students who were given one hour paid time and took another hour of their own time at the time of shift changes at a local manufacturing plant. The class met in the company conference room (or "break" room), and we had excellent support from management.

Email:
  http://
ktcc.state.ky.us

Program:
  Central KY Technical College Adult Ed. Program

Type of Program:
  ABE

Student Population Served:
  Basic skills

 
Stress reduction: Visual imagery

This activity leads students through the process of using visual imagery in dealing with stress, enabling them to cope both on the job and in everyday life. __________________________________________________________

Learning Objective:
Students will understand the process of visual imagery and be able to use the technique at will when faced with a stressful situation.

Primary Skill:
Lifelong learning

Secondary Skills:
Reflect and evaluate, Convey ideas in writing, Take responsibility for learning

Learner Needs & Goals:
Learners are always faced with stressful situations on the job which often interfere with production and create tension within team members. If they are able to find ways to deal with the stress in a preventive way, relationships prosper and team production flourishes. The goal of the learner is to learn how to reduce the stress that interferes with an optimal lifestyle and to make a more peaceful environment in which to work.

Learning Activity Description:
(1) Spend the first few minutes answering any questions from previous lessons that students may want to discuss.

(2) The instructor teaches visual imagery as a relaxation technique. Students may sit or stand for this exercise, as they wish. Have the class members follow these suggestions as the instructor gives them. Use a calm, low modulated voice and give ample time between each visual suggestion for the class members to "ease" into the vision.

Close your eyes. "See" in your mind's eye a beautiful mountain meadow at the top of a high plateau. The sun is shining warmly, and snow glistens brightly on the top of the peak. The meadow ends at an edge of a sharp precipice. Imagine yourself climbing the mountain, feeling hot and tired, and then coming upon this lovely, refreshing meadow. Stop and rest for a while in its peace and beauty. Imagine how it looks; how it sounds; how it smells. Breathe in deeply the cool mountain air, and relax down into the soft grass; stay as long as you like. When ready to leave, go to the edge of the precipice and throw over anything that has been bothering you---that you wish to be rid of in your life. Picture it as a glaring, jagged edged word, a chain, a brick, any image that helps you symbolize it as undesirable. When the "visit" is completed, thank yourself or your God or whatever you see as your higher power for the release of your burden; then walk peacefully back through the meadow and down the mountain.

Practice this imagery in class for 10-15 min. Answer questions students may have about the details of the technique.

(3) Direct students to practice this at home in a quiet place, but also to do it whenever stress, at work, in traffic, etc., threatens their serenity. It really is a good way to find peace.

(4) Discuss with class: Why do you think this might work? Or not work? Do you think it could help concentration and focus? Would it help to prioritize things in your life? How can you continue to do this later on?

(5) Homework:
Practice the technique and later, write down how you felt after completing the exercise. This could be in a journal or just a short notebook sheet. The most important thing is to give credence to the activity by trying to remember just what happened and why you think it happened that way.

Materials and Resources:
No particular resources needed for this class. Teacher instructs students and they enjoy the activity and practice it at home.

Attachments:

Assessment:
Students now know how to take a few moments out when stress threatens and to go "away" to a peaceful place in their mind where they can recharge emotionally and find peace. They will be able to exhibit more patience and acceptance in the work setting as well.

Reflection:
I think this technique is so valuable that I would change it in any way that the class requested in order to get them interested in trying to bring more peace into their lives. I think the changes would be quite different from class to class, depending upon the composition of the group.

This class was very cohesive and cooperative and felt that this sort of information was very valuable to workers in blue-collar positions as well as white-collar workers. These lessons can be a "hard sell" at first, especially for busy men who think they have no time to think about stress. However, once recruited to the class, it is likely that more time will be needed as people recognize stressors in their lives that they had not been aware of before, and they will want to talk-share-compare to try to develop coping mechanisms.

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