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Mental resilience

How to deal with the pressure and stress ? What causes it and how can it become your partner and not your master?

This module is designed for:

Principals and their representatives who want to understand more about themselves in the context of dealing with the pressures and stresses they experience in their work and personal lives. Two things are essential in this module. Getting in touch with yourself and being true to yourself. Only then you can truly be open about your emotions, fears, wants and needs that are directly related to the pressure you are feeling.

The goal of this module is a certain “self-experience” ( an insight into the depths of the “student’s soul”) and to understand more about your stress triggers and what influences them.

The output of this module is: 

A more confident principal and school representative who understands their emotions, needs and concerns. He knows his stress triggers and is able to work with them in a way that strengthens rather than weakens his performance in work.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA). Neither the European Union nor EACEA can be held responsible for them.

Key activities:

What causes me to feel pressure?

    1. Prepare enough sticky notes and 2 A3 papers
    2. Think about and name any stressful situations/causes you are currently experiencing in your work/personal life.
    3. Write each of the named situations on a separate sticky note
    4. Divide the things you can think of into things you “can” influence and things you “cannot” influence and stick them on the appropriate paper.
    5. There should be 2 sticky notes. One with the “can affect” sticky notes and one with the “can’t affect” sticky notes.
      1. Give yourself 10 minutes to observe both of them and try to answer the following questions:


        a) Which of these are more numerous and which are fewer.
        b) Is there a connection, a link, between the things on the same paper?
        c) What would have to happen/what would I need to happen to move a particular slip of paper into the “can affect” area.


Without thinking too long and referring to the following questions and statements: 

    • What am I ashamed of?
    • In which areas am I sensitive to flattery?
    • What do I hate most in life?
    • What is “holy” to me?
    • What types of sentences or reactions can annoy me?
    • What makes me feel guilty?
    • What behaviors can I write about “that always makes me feel angry”?

Negative beliefs and inner dialogue

    1. Set aside 15 minutes in your room and reflect on the beliefs described below, which are yours? If you would like to add one for yourself – write it down.


      • I have no chance to win/return. I’ll never…
      • I don’t deserve… (to be accepted, loved)
      • If they found out who I really am, no one would like me.
      • I’ll ruin everything.
      • It’s my fault
      • There’s nothing good/interesting about it
      • I’m not like them and therefore weird or bad
      • I’m not worth anything
      • I have to change


    1. Think of a specific challenging situation where you made a mistake. Try to recall them on the following question:
      How did it make you feel?
      • What was your inner voice telling you at that moment?
      • When did you first hear that voice?
      • Try to describe the realized situations in the following table.


Event / situationFeelingsInner voiceWhen did you hear / experience
it for the first time




Influences of negative beliefs = PRESSURE that we create ourselves.

    • Self-destructive elaboration
    • Pressure to perform
    • Desire for perfection
    • Idealization of surroundings, others
    • Fears that I don’t have or won’t have enough… (money, time)
    • Low self-esteem, self-worth, self-acceptance, self-love

How to manage pressure?

    • Don’t fight stress, but instead, embrace it as part of what you love and make it fuel your passion.
    • Shift your focus from the outcome (which creates worry: what if we lose) towards yourself in the here and now. Learn breathing exercises – more in the breathing quest
    • Separate the excitement and fear of failure in your feelings. The voice of the critic weakens us. Look for the passion, your calling and what you are good at in the whole situation. You can mentally repeat the empowering phrase, “I am who I am for a reason.” – more in the quest power phrase

Vulnerable places

Quest - Power sentences

Quest - Breathing

Quest - ABC of thinking

Module 3 - Psychological resistance

MODULE 3 - Questionnaire for you