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Stress Catcher

Life can get challenging sometimes, and it’s important for kids (and adults!) to develop strategies for coping with stress or anxiety. This stress catcher “fortune teller” offers some strategies children can practice and use to help manage stress and other difficult emotions.

photo of stress catcher folded and held in handsDownload the PDF of the stress catcher instructions and template to create a fun and interactive way for children to practice coping strategies.

Create Your Stress Catcher

Download and print the PDF template, and then follow these steps to create your own personal stress catcher.

  • Step 1. Color the stress catcher (on page 2), and cut out the square.
  • Step 2. Place the stress catcher face down. Fold each corner to the opposite corner and then unfold to create two diagonal creases in the square.
  • Step 3. Fold each corner toward the center of the square so that the numbers and colors are facing you. Turn over the square, and again fold each corner into the center so that the color names are visible.
  • Step 4. Fold the square in half so that the color names are touching, and the numbers are on the outside. Now open it and fold it in half the other way.
  • Step 5. Insert your thumb and first finger of each hand (pinching motion) under the number flaps.
  • Step 6. Close the stress catcher so only the numbers show.

Use Your Stress Catcher

photo of stress catcher with one leaf unfolded to reveal text describing a stress coping technique

  • Pick a number, and open and close the stress catcher that number of times.
  • Next, pick a color and spell out the color name, opening and closing the stress catcher for each letter.
  • Then pick a color that is visible and open that flap.
  • Read what it says, and practice the coping strategy.
  • This game can be played with one or two players and is a way to practice coping strategies.

Additional Resources

5 Things You Should Know About Stress

The Teen Brain: 7 Things to Know

5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free 24-hour help

Crisis Text Line
Text HELLO to 741741 for free 24-hour help

Learn more about mental health on NIMH’s Mental Health topic pages and find information on a wide variety of health topics on the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus service.

NIH Publication No. 20-MH-8121