Self-Care & Mental Wellness
5 Ways to Mental Well-Being
The 5 Ways to Mental Well-Being are evidence-based actions that when practiced regularly help enhance and maintain mental well-being. There are simple activities that we can do on a daily basis in order to promote feeling good about life, and support dealing with stress and challenges.
- Supporting Evidence: Social relationships and belonging are critical for promoting mental well-being and for acting as a buffer against mental illness. Feeling close to and valued by other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.
- Key Messages: Giving time and space to both strengthen and broaden social relationships is important for mental well-being.
- Everyday Practices: Mixed Up Lunches. Clubs/Executive Council. Lunch bunches. Small group/counseling. Tip Line. Helping Hands. Teen Leadership classes. Connecting through generations. High School students helping Middle School students select courses/schedules.
2. Keep Learning
- Supporting Evidence: Life-long learning can enhance self-esteem, encourage social interaction, promote a more active life, and have a positive impact on an individual’s well-being and resilience. Research has shown that subjective well-being is increased for those who teach themselves new things weekly.
- Key Messages: Reflecting on personal interest and values to make choices around formal and informal learning promotes mental well-being.
- Everyday Practices: “30 Day Challenge”. Afterschool/homeroom club day (teacher or student led) to learn something new. Add programs to build student leadership/confidence. Hobbies. “Just keep learning, just keep learning!” Model lifelong learning.
3. Be Active
- Supporting Evidence: Regular physical activity is associated with a greater sense of well-being and lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups. Engagement in physical activity is beneficial by providing increases in perceived self-efficacy, a sense of mastery and a perceived ability to cope. It also distracts from negative thoughts.
- Key Messages: Taking time regularly to participate in physical activity is essential for mental well-being.
- Everyday Practices: Activity day during advisory. Two recesses per day. Recommend quick cardio/brain breaks before tests. Yoga balls/bouncy bands in classrooms. Yoga in high school as P.E. credit. School-wide weekly fitness goals. Design lessons so students move in transition time between activities.
4. Take Notice
- Supporting Evidence: Being aware of what is taking place in the present (mindfulness) predicts positive mental states, self-regulated behavior and increased self-understanding. Increased self-awareness is valuable for choosing behaviors that are consistent with ones needs, values and interests.
- Key Messages: Taking time to notice one’s thoughts and feelings and the surrounding environment will support mental well-being.
- Everyday Practices: Journal- take time to reflect. Make book-to-self connections. Establish healthy routines and habits. Practice Yoga, GoNoodle , Breathe, Maximo.
5. Give Back
- Supporting Evidence: Helping, sharing, giving and team-oriented behaviors are associated with an increased sense of self-worth and positive feelings. Happiness and life satisfaction have been strongly associated with participation in the community. Research has shown that doing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an crease in well-being. These behaviors can be particularly important to the development of social cognition in children and youth people.
- Key Messages: Taking time to participate in giving back contributes to individual and community mental well-being.
- Everyday Practices: Random Acts of Kindness/Kind Kids Clubs. Educating students about the importance of intentional acts of kindness. Staff modeling kindness to peers and our students. Compassionate service projects/days (for students, for staff, and for community members). Peer Mentorship Opportunities- PALS, HOPE Buddies, and Circle of Friends.
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