Lesson 1: Stress

Student chewing on pencil stressed looking at laptop screen.

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To consider work-related stressors and the body’s responses to stress.

Materials needed: Internet access, Word document


“How do you feel before an important school test? If you’re anything like me, you feel stressed! You have invested much time learning the material and care about the test’s outcome. The pressure of performance is stressful. Today we will talk about job-related stress.”

Discussion: Stressors


  • What makes you feel stressed? (School, asking a girl on a date, a practice job interview, etc.)
  • What is it about those activities that invoke stress?

“When at work, the pressure of responsibility, performance, accuracy, and speed can weigh heavily on anybody.”

Exercise: Job Description Review

Have your student locate a job advertisement in his field of interest. Review the job description and verbalize the potential stressors.

Discussion: Physical and Emotional Reactions to Stress

“Your body reacts physically to stress. Your blood pressure and breathing increase, metabolism slows, pupils dilate, muscles tense, and sweat production increases. Your body also reacts emotionally to stress. How do you suppose it reacts? (Fear, sadness, moodiness, depression, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration, etc.).

“A moderate amount of stress can be beneficial. It can keep you alert, motivated, and hard-working. It’s possible to feel so stressed and overwhelmed that these benefits are lost. You can end up feeling as if you’re drowning in anxiety. You may lose sleep, need to eat constantly or not nearly enough, isolate yourself from others, or attempt to feel better by using drugs or alcohol. If your stress levels ever feel this uncontrollable, seek guidance from a trained professional immediately.”

“The ideal course of action is to manage stress levels before adverse symptoms are present. This unit will equip you to cope with and manage stress using a variety of experiences and relationships.”

Exercise: Stress-level Questionnaire

To have your student gauge his ability to manage stress, have him record his responses to the following questions:

  • When I feel stressed, how do I calm myself down?
  • Can I work through my anxiety and continue to function?
  • Who can I talk to when I feel overwhelmed?
  • How would I describe my energy level?
  • Can I recognize stressors in myself and others?
  • How can I boost my energy level?
  • Do I often feel depressed?
  • Could I benefit from tools that help me better cope with stressors?

Discuss results.


“We talked about reasons for work-related stress and what happens to our bodies when stressed. We discussed the benefit of small doses of stress, but the extremely dangerous results of stress left unmanaged. Next time we meet we will talk about activities that lower and prevent unmanaged stress.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: