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Conversation Topic and Videos: Stress



This post contains several options for discussing and dealing with stress.

They include:

  1. 10 questions for discussion that can be used in conversation classes or to practice English on your own or with a conversation partner
  2. A video for discussion by Arirang News about Korean children’s academic stress (학업 스트레스 최고지만 스스) followed by 3 questions for discussion
  3. A video with tips by BBC Brainsmart with 3 discussion questions
  4. A list of 16 tips
  5. A link to an article on stress management with additional tips and tools
  6. A link to time management tools by Francesco Cirillo, creator of the Pomodoro Technique

What is stress?

Everyone has stress in their lives at some point or another. Some people have more than others. People deal with stress in different ways. Some ways are more beneficial than others. For some, talking with friends or family members is helpful. For others, writing in a diary provides insight and clarity when times are difficult.

Many times, our attitude and thoughts about stress can determine how much it affects us. If we try to avoid it and hide from it, we often make whatever problem is causing it worse. Procrastination can  be helpful in small doses, but as a way of life, it can lead to more stress. By facing our problems and dealing with them in a productive and healthy way, we can decrease our stress and start living more stress-free lives.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What is stress?
  2. What are some examples of things that are stressful in life?
  3. What causes you stress?
  4. How can stress be both positive and negative?
  5. What are some ways people deal with stress?
  6. How do you usually cope with stress?
  7. What are some unhealthy ways to relieve stress?
  8. What are some complications of stress?
  9. What are the healthiest ways to handle stress?
  10. What is your favorite way to de-stress?

Academic stress in Korea

Watch the video and then discuss the three questions that follow.

  1. What is your level of academic stress?
  2. Which is more stressful: high school or university? Why?
  3. If you could change the Korean education system, how would you change it?

BBC Brainsmart Video

Pre-read the questions. Watch the video by the BBC about how to manage stress. Discuss.

  1. What is the purpose of stress and how has it changed in the 21st century?
  2. What 7 tips does the BBC give for managing stress? Can you think of additional tips?
  3. Which tips would you like to try the next time you have stress?

Tips and Tools for Dealing with Stress

  1. Exercise.
  2. Get adequate sleep.
  3. Take deep breaths.
  4. Identify the causes.
  5. Avoid unnecessary stress and learn to say no.
  6. Take control by taking steps to deal with whatever is causing you stress.
  7. Remember to take breaks. Make time for fun and relaxation.
  8. Talk to someone.
  9. Spend time in nature.
  10. Spend time with a pet.
  11. Try meditation.
  12. Write in a diary.
  13. Keep a gratitude journal.
  14. Create opportunities for laughter.
  15. Sing!
  16. Dance!

For more tips and tools check out this article on stress management.

Time management tools

Check out the Pomodoro Technique.

Read books like Wait: The Art and Science of Delay

Your Turn:

How do you manage stress? Share any tips or tricks you have in the comment section below!

Ready for a new topic? Check out ESL Conversation Topic: Creativity next.

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