When I interacted with the students and went for home visits in Kashmir, India, I understood that the students are suffering from lot of stress. However they are not ready to share it to others. I am not sure why they aren’t open to sharing it. May be it is because they are alienated from us as we are from Kerala, the southern state of India – culturally and on the basis of language. The school is also giving much more importance to covering up portions and conducting classes with a fast schedule. Hence usually these students will have emotional issues with their peers and in future.
I and others discussed this factor with the chairman of the institution and he was quite interested in it. He said that he personally do counseling to some of the students and try to find time to talk to each student personally. Even though he does not have any experience in professional counseling, in this kind of circumstances, I think that being there for the children serves the purpose.
We asked him whether we can conduct stress management workshop for students and as for our surprise he told that he was just going to say it. Then he inquired about the modules which we are going to include in the sessions. We have gone through numerous studies regarding stress management. Then we thought about some techniques for managing stress or stressful situation. We have designed the modules and shown to him. He made some improvements to it and finalized it.
The stress management workshop for students had so much of difficulties to conduct. There was a lack of resource persons and it became very hard to find suitable persons. However we shared some of the basic techniques for managing stress or stressful situation to the students. They are; escape, Physical relaxation through activity , Self-care, Time management skills, Building a support network, and Challenging negative thinking.
Then I thought about creating a platform for adolescents in Kashmir to share their feelings and emotions to their peers. This will help them psychologically and emotionally. The students shared their stories and personal experiences. Such stories made me learn so many things including how one student is affected with severe psychological stress, when he/ she go through exam periods, pressure from family and school, etc. We have conducted some stress management activities for the students including some yoga postures, pranayama, progressive muscular relaxation therapy techniques etc.