Children’s wellbeing is always at the absolute centre of everything that we do at Alverton. Our focus on children’s mental health and wellbeing is based around “The Five Ways to Wellbeing” right across the school. This is a set of really simple actions everyone can take which have been shown to improve wellbeing and which can help everyone, not just those struggling with their mental health. They are easy to remember and, as well as making you feel better in the moment, can also help build good mental health for the future.
There are five principles (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give) and we have lots of information about these below.
Being connected is about building and keeping up relationships with other people, especially the ones that you love and care about (for example your friends and family). Connecting with other people is really important for everyone because it helps us:
Feel like we belong
Share positive experiences
Get emotional support when needed
Sometimes, people do not feel connected to other people and might be feeling lonely. When we feel lonely, it is especially important that we try to build connections with others. Luckily, there are many ways to do this.
There is a well-known link between staying active and positive mental health and wellbeing. By regularly engaging in some form of exercise, we can look after our mental and physical health at the same time. If our bodies are working well, our minds are more likely to be working well too – likewise, if our minds are working well, our physical bodies are more likely to function better as well.
Taking Notice means being present and taking notice of the world around us which can be something that we do during our everyday life. The key to taking notice is to be aware of what you’re doing and trying to engage with it. Taking notice means actively bringing our mind’s attention and interest to the world and observing what’s beautiful or unusual.
One of the ways suggested is Mindfulness. This is a way of focusing on being fully present in the moment, and not letting our thoughts and worries carry us off and take over. In mindfulness we pay attention to the now – to our breathing, or the sounds we hear, or the feel of the ground beneath our feet – and to our thoughts as they happen, without judgement. It is a form of meditation and can help us to relax and be calm. There are two PDFs with lots of ideas for mindful activities below.
Learning new things is a good way to meet new people and boost self-confidence which in turn improves our mental health and wellbeing. Learning new things helps us view the world from a range of perspectives, makes it easier to adapt to new situations and inspires creativity within us.
Research has found a link between doing good things and an increase in wellbeing. Carrying out acts of kindness, whether small or big, can increase your own happiness, life satisfaction and general wellbeing.
Giving can involve parting with material things like gifts, or immaterial things like our time, skills or kindness. When we give to others, we strengthen our relationships, making them more positive which is key to good mental health. By showing the people that we care, we increase our own positivity about the world and those around us.