Stress: Too Much, Too Little, and the Resilience Sweet Spot

As a culture, we are obsessed with reducing stress. You can buy stress busters, stress exterminators, and stress eradicators. Yet one out of five children report worrying "a great deal" or "a lot” and millennials are more likely than any other age group to be told they have an anxiety disorder or depression. Stress is a part of life. New experiences, transitions, real and perceived danger, academic pressure, and unknowns can all evoke feelings of anxiety in children and youth. We know that too much stress impacts health and shapes the brain’s developing architecture. Yet learning how to handle appropriate stress is a healthy and normal part of development. Children and teens who haven’t had practice handling stress or taking responsibility for their actions can become more anxious and risk-averse. By overprotecting them, we inadvertently make them more vulnerable. Using warmth, stories, science, and humor, Erin Walsh will explain the impact of stress on the brain and share practical strategies for resilience.
Learning Objectives: 
  • Understand the role of executive function skills in academic success
  • Be able to explain how the brain responds to too much stress and how overprotection impacts the brain
  • Learn why relationships and connection are the active ingredients in new learning
  • Identify strategies for nurturing a growth mindset in young people.
CYC Certification Competency Domain: 
1 Class Hours
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Erin Walsh

Erin Walsh, MA, is a dynamic, knowledgeable speaker who has addressed a wide range of audiences on topics related to brain development and digital media. In addition to writing for Bolster Collaborative and Psychology Today, she co-authored the 10th anniversary edition of the national bestseller Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen.
Erin also facilitates workshops with Youth Frontiers and taught undergraduate students for nearly a decade at the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs, where she created and taught a program called Making Media, Making Change. She consults with schools, parent groups and youth-serving organizations throughout North America on issues related to digital media, children, youth.