Stress (Self-Talk & Reducing Stress): Discussion Questions, Vocabulary, Idioms and Sayings


Discussion Questions 

  1. How would you describe your ‘self-talk’?  In what ways is it positive or negative?
  2. Are you a ‘worrier’?  Do you spend time and energy being stressed about the past, future and ‘what if’s’ or do you ‘let things go’ pretty easily?
  3. Which of these is most stressful for you….
    (public speaking, taking a test, going on a first date, dealing with family, long flights, big social gatherings, dealing with native speakers of other languages, recording a video for Jeff’s class ….)?
  4. What else causes you stress? (e.g.  money, grades, family, love life, health, future, etc.)
  5. Who causes you the most stress?  Who’s the most/least stressed person you know?
  6. Which social situations cause you the most stress?
    Which professional or academic situations cause you stress?
  7. What factors affect your stress levels (sleep, diet, exercise, weather, etc.)?
  8. How does stress affect you physically & emotionally?  Any stress habits? (e.g. biting nails)
  9. How do you usually cope with stress? Which strategies are effective or not?
  10. What were the most stressful periods of your life? 
  11. What were the least stressful, most carefree periods of your life?
  12. When do you usually feel the most relaxed or unstressed?
  13. What do you think is unique about how Koreans experience and cope with stress?
  14. How do sns and digital life affect your stress positively or negatively?
  15. What advice would you give to your loved ones about dealing with YOU when you are stressed?
  16. What do you think of counseling?  Do you or people you know have experience with it?
    Would you hesitate to seek it out?
  17. Do you think there’s a difference in how men and women deal with stress?
  18. Have you ever ‘bitten off more than you can chew’ or felt ‘burnt out’?  How did the situation work out?
  19. How do you ‘let off steam’ after a stressful day?
  20. In what ways do you practice ‘self-care’? What kind of self-care would you like to do more?
  21. Do you have a mantra that you say to yourself during difficult situations?



  • Resilience (rɪˈzɪliəns) – 회복력 the ability to recover quickly from difficulties or challenges; the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances /   Building resilience takes practice and time, but it can help you bounce back from adversity.
  • Mindfulness (ˈmaɪndfəlnəs) – 마음의 평화와 전념 the state of being conscious and attentive to one’s present experience, thoughts and feelings   / Mindfulness is the practice of staying present and aware of your thoughts and feelings in the moment.
  • Coping (ˈkoʊpɪŋ) – 대처 the process of dealing with stress, problems or difficulties; the strategies or skills that one uses to manage stress or emotions. /  There are many different ways to cope with stress, such as exercise, meditation, and talking to friends.
  • Perception (pərˈsɛpʃən) – 지각 the way that one sees, understands or interprets something; the act of becoming aware of something through the senses /   Changing your perception of a situation can help you see it in a more positive light.
  • Proactive (proʊˈæktɪv) – 선제적인 taking action to prevent or solve problems before they arise; being prepared and anticipatory rather than reactive and passive  /  Taking a proactive approach to stress management can help prevent it from becoming overwhelming.
  • Boundaries (ˈbaʊndəriz) – 경계  the limits or rules that one sets for oneself or others in terms of what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior /  Setting boundaries with others can help reduce stress and maintain healthy relationships.
  • Perspective (pərˈspɛktɪv) – 시각   the point of view or angle from which one sees or considers something; a particular attitude or way of thinking about something /  Changing your perspective on a problem can help you find a solution.
  • Meditation (ˌmɛdɪˈteɪʃən) – 명상 a practice of focusing one’s mind on a single object, thought or activity, usually for a period of time; a technique of achieving a state of calmness, awareness and relaxation. /  Practicing meditation can help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.
  • Self-care (sɛlf-ˈkɛr) – 자기 관리  he act of taking care of one’s own physical, mental and emotional health and well-being; the activities or habits that one does to maintain or improve one’s health and happiness. /  Prioritizing self-care, such as getting enough sleep and eating well, can help reduce stress.
  • Mindset (ˈmaɪndset) – 태도  a set of beliefs, attitudes or opinions that one has about oneself, others or situations; a way of thinking that influences one’s behavior and actions /  Adopting a growth mindset can help you approach challenges with a positive attitude and see them as opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Self-talk (sɛlf-tɔk) – 자기 대화  the inner dialogue that one has with oneself; the thoughts or words that one says to oneself, either silently or aloud. /  Positive self-talk can help boost your confidence and improve your mood.
  • Affirmation (ˌæfərˈmeɪʃən) – 확언a positive statement that one says or writes to oneself to affirm one’s worth, abilities or goals; a declaration of truth or confidence /  Repeating affirmations, such as “I am worthy” or “I can do this,” can help reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • Mindset (ˈmaɪndset) – 태도  a set of beliefs, attitudes or opinions that one has about oneself, others or situations; a way of thinking that influences one’s behavior and actions. / Adopting a growth mindset can help you approach challenges with a positive attitude and see them as opportunities for learning and growth.
  • Negative self-talk (ˈnɛgətɪv sɛlf-tɔk) – 부정적 자기 대화 the inner dialogue that one has with oneself that is negative, critical or pessimistic; the thoughts or words that one says to oneself that undermine one’s self-esteem, motivation or happiness. /  Negative self-talk can contribute to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt.
  • Gratitude (ˈɡrætɪtud) – 감사 the quality of being thankful; the feeling or expression of appreciation for what one has or receives. /  Practicing gratitude by focusing on the things you’re thankful for can help shift your mindset to a more positive one.
  • Compassion (kəmˈpæʃən) – 연민  the feeling of sympathy or empathy for the suffering or misfortune of others /  Practicing self-compassion can help you be kinder to yourself and reduce feelings of self-criticism.
  • Positive psychology (ˈpɑzətɪv saɪˈkɑlədʒi) – 긍정 심리학   a branch of psychology that studies the factors and conditions that contribute to human flourishing and well-being /  Positive psychology focuses on building resilience and cultivating positive emotions and behaviors.
  • Mantra (ˈmæntrə) – 만트라  a word, phrase or sound that is repeated over and over, usually as a form of meditation or prayer /  Repeating a mantra, such as “I am strong,” can help reinforce positive beliefs about yourself.
  • Self-esteem (sɛlf-ɛsˈtim) – 자존감  the degree of respect or confidence that one has in oneself; the evaluation or judgment of one’s own worth or abilities. /  Building self-esteem through positive self-talk and self-care can help you feel more confident in yourself.
  • Self-acceptance (sɛlf-ækˈsɛptəns) – 자기 수용 – the recognition and acceptance of oneself as one is, without trying to change or deny one’s flaws or shortcomings; the state of being at peace with oneself. /  Practicing self-acceptance means acknowledging and embracing your strengths and weaknesses without judgment.

Idioms & Sayings

  • At breaking point (한계점에) – at the stage where one can no longer cope with a difficult or stressful situation; on the verge of collapse or failure. Example: He was at breaking point after working 12 hours a day for a month12.
  • Burn out (탈진하다) – to become exhausted or lose interest or enthusiasm due to overwork or stress; to cause someone or something to do so. Example: She burned out after working as a nurse for 10 years32.
  • Stress out (스트레스 받다) – to feel very worried, nervous or anxious; to cause someone to feel this way. Example: He stressed out about his exams and couldn’t sleep32.
  • Break down (붕괴하다) – to lose control of one’s emotions; to stop working or functioning properly. Example: She broke down in tears when she heard the news32.
  • Go to pieces (흔들리다) – to become very nervous or upset and unable to cope; to fall apart emotionally or mentally. Example: He went to pieces after his wife left him32.
  • On edge (긴장한) – feeling nervous, tense or anxious; not relaxed or calm. Example: She was on edge before her interview1.
  • Bite off more than one can chew (자신의 능력을 넘어서는 일을 하다) – to try to do something that is too difficult, demanding or time-consuming for one’s abilities or resources; to take on more than one can handle. Example: He bit off more than he could chew when he agreed to run the marathon without any training1.
  • Have a lot on one’s plate (할 일이 많다) – to have a lot of work, problems or responsibilities; to be very busy or stressed. Example: She has a lot on her plate right now with her job and her kids1.
  • Let off steam (기분을 풀다) – to release pent-up energy, anger or stress by doing something active or noisy; to vent one’s emotions. Example: He likes to let off steam by playing video games after work1.
  • A weight off one’s shoulders (부담이 덜어지다) – a relief from a heavy burden of worry, responsibility or guilt; a feeling of freedom or relaxation. Example: It was a weight off his shoulders when he finally paid off his debt1.

Image by Silvia from Pixabay

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