May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Good mental health is critical to children’s success in school and life. Research demonstrates that students who receive social–emotional and mental health support achieve better academically which is why our Choose Love Program is such valuable asset to our overall curriculum. School climate, classroom behavior, on-task learning, and students’ sense of connectedness and well-being all improve as well. Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness but also encompasses social, emotional, and behavioral health and the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Left unmet, mental health problems are linked to costly negative outcomes such as academic and behavior problems, dropping out, and delinquency.
Content provided by NASP, National Association of School Psychologists
Mindfulness & Mental Health
Sometimes life presents stressful situations that can overwhelm us: We may not do well in school, have trouble with others, or feel really sad or angry for no real reason. The good news is that there are skills we can learn to help us in tough situations, so that we can overcome challenges and be the successful people we want to be. When we talk about overcoming challenges, this doesn’t mean that they go away. It just means that we’re able to make good choices and do our very best, even when things are hard.
Because we aren’t born with skills, we have to learn them—and once we learn them, we can improve them over time, with lots of practice. But we also have to make sure we keep using them, or else we might lose them. One especially good skill for helping us be successful in tough situations is called “mindfulness.” We can think of mindfulness as a super-skill that’s made up of three small skills:
- noticing the little things right now
- being friendly to yourself and others
- doing hard things on purpose
In other words, mindfulness is paying attention to what’s going on right now, while also being kind to yourself and those around you, even when it’s really hard to do so.
Mindfulness Resources for Parents & Students
Classrooms across our district are using soundcloud.com Mindful Minutes, which provide brief guided mindfulness experiences as part of the Choose Love Program.
An Introduction to Mindful Minutes
Tapping into your Inner Jedi
Through the Choose Love Social Emotional Learning Curriculum, students are learning how to take a Brave Breath. A Brave Breath helps to calm us down and regulate the fight or flight response we feel when we sense danger. Oftentimes our bodies are sending us a false alarm and there isn't any danger. At those times, people may feel worried. When we manage our stress response with a Brave Breath, we become more aware of ourselves and can build courage to face difficult situations with a sense of calm. When we are calm, we are better able to express ourselves and related better to others.
Choose Love Brave Breath Video
Diana Wilson, Director of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center and co-author of the book, Fully Present: The Science, Art & Practice of Mindfulness. This video provides an overview of the science that supports mindfulness, as well as practical techniques to reduce stress and increase well-being.