Globe Syndicate

for release June 8, 2001

Another Way

by Melodie Davis

Sure Fire Stress Busters From Fifth Graders

Did you know what stress was when you were in the fifth grade? I can tell you for sure that I didn't: not the word or the concept. Sure I worried at times but stress was not something we talked about much in the 50's.

A teacher asked her fifth graders, in the midst of Virginia's standards of learning (SOL) tests the children were taking, "What are some things that give you stress?" Here are some of their answers:

Things That Make Stress

1. S.O.L.s (not surprisingly).

2. Too much work to do.

3. Too busy a schedule.

4. When somebody makes fun of me.

5. Death.

6. A writing prompt (essay assignment).

7. Striking out in a baseball game.

8. Friends: one day they're smiling at you and the next day they're in a

fight with you.

9. Movies.

10. When I miss my parents.

11. Fitness training.

12. My next-door neighbors.

13. Being with or talking to my mother.

14. Thinking about my uncle who has cancer and had a stroke on Easter Sunday.

15. Girls.

16. Boys.

Pretty good list, but the teacher didn't stop there. She asked the children to write down, "How do you get rid of stress?"

These children had a wonderful list of practical ideas. Somehow children are frequently able to put things so simply that they communicate instantly. I invite you to not only put some of these into practice in your own life, but to cut them out and hang them on your refrigerator:

How To Get Rid of Stress:

1. I try to think of something else.

2. Thinking about the good times.

3. Ride my bike.

4. Play with my bird.

5. Read a good book.

6. Take a walk in the woods.

7. Break pencils into pieces.

8. Go to sleep.

9. Watch TV.

10. Go to my room and do something quiet.

11. Stick my thumb in the top of my mouth.

12. Squeeze something squishy like a stress ball.

13. Take a deep breath

14. Talk to my parents.

15. Mow the yard.

16. Go out by the pond.

17. Work on one thing at a time.

18. I let out a big scream and calm down.

19. Draw.

20. Call my friend on the phone and talk.

21. Listen to music.

22. Spend time with the people I love.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Matter of fact, I have a feeling I could have written these same thoughts in paragraphs with long sentences, but I think this communicates much better. Our thanks to the fifth grade students of Bea Crantz at Linville Edom Elementary School in Linville, Virginia.

For a free booklet for children, "Getting Out of a Stress Mess," write to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail:

You can also visit Another Way on the Web at

Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.

NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 430 words; end material = 105 words

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©2001 by Globe Syndicate, all rights reserved.

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