There are many research based reasons to make the general wellness of the school community a priority. Meditative practices such as mindfulness, yoga, meditation and Pilates are all proven to improve a person’s general wellness.
Students who develop social emotional skills and strong social support, have improved academic outcomes as well as better classroom behaviour. They are more likely to graduate from high school attend university, have strong relationships and be goal oriented. Additionally, they have a better chance of understanding and using proven stress coping strategies leading to stronger academic performance, decreased stress and greater life balance.
When teachers practice general wellness strategies and focus on their physical and emotional health, their productivity increases, and their general mood improves. Finding ways to incorporate these practices into your school culture is imperative if a school community is going to work toward improving school community wellness.
Mindfulness enhances academic learning, teaches us to manage our emotions, develop a caring concern for others establish positive relationships make responsible decisions, handle challenging situations constructively and ethically. (CASEL, 2011) Schools can use mindfulness training to reduce depression, stress, fatigue and anxiety, while improving mood and cognitive processing.
Using mindfulness strategies helps student wellbeing and improves the skills that support positive learning. Further benefits include increased ability to maintain focus, sustained attention, increased working memory and a reduction in distractions. The challenge is to find ways to embed mindfulness into your school so they take hold and become more than just the idea of the day.
A growth mindset is simply the belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. Without a growth mindset, we don't exert the required effort and so we remain perpetually stuck. Changing one’s mindset from a “fixed” perspective to a “growth mindset” may seem daunting, but by taking small steps, anyone who wants to can build a “growth mindset.”
Carol Dweck talks about the power of believing that you can improve.
Listed below are some steps that will take you from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.
Resilience is the psychological quality that allows some people to be knocked down by the adversities of life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties, traumatic events, or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to change course, emotionally heal, and continue moving toward their goals. Building resilience helps students to be more focused, more responsive, less reactive, and it promotes healthy decision making.
Mindfulness meditation made easy: From the Harvard Gazette, With mindfulness, life's in the moment
Find a quiet space. Using a cushion or chair, sit up straight but not stiff; allow your head and shoulders to rest comfortably; place your hands on the tops of your legs with upper arms at your side.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and relax. Feel the fall and rise of your chest and the expansion and contraction of your belly. With each breath notice the coolness as it enters and the warmth as it exits. Don't control the breath but follow its natural flow.
Thoughts will try to pull your attention away from the breath. Notice them, but don't pass judgment. Gently return your focus to your breath. Some people count their breaths as a way to stay focused.
A daily practice will provide the most benefits. It can be 10 minutes per day, however, 20 minutes twice a day is often recommended for maximum benefit.