Having a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body, and vice versa. Not feeling accepted and valued can have a detrimental impact on children's overall well-being. Nurturing their physical, emotional and social development enhances their ability to cultivate healthy relationships. Fostering an atmosphere of acceptance in the classroom can transform the school environment.
How We Nurture a Healthy Mind-Body Connection
There is much that our teachers do to nurture students' minds and bodies, such as helping children differentiate between healthy and unhealthy lifestyle choices and understand the importance of getting adequate sleep, nutrition and exercise. We encourage students to have positive attitudes about body image and self-esteem, which minimises the likelihood that they will develop eating disorders, depression and other mental health concerns. Teachers also create a culture of kindness and mindfulness in the classroom - modelling behaviours that show children how to manage their emotions and demonstrate empathy toward others. Early research suggests that such programmes may improve students' cognitive abilities, grades and relationship skills. Promoting kindness in the classroom can help children cope effectively not only with school-related stress but difficult situations at home.
Partnering with the Community to Promote Students' Well-Being
At OWIS, we recently had Health Week to give our students some additional insight on how to thrive physically and emotionally. One event, in particular, highlighted the importance of the connections between a healthy mind, healthy body and healthy relationships.
Sarah Hass from International Counselling Singapore gave a presentation on relaxation and recognising and expressing emotions. First, she showed students how to do simple breathing exercises using their fingers. These techniques can be done anywhere, anytime, to help students relax.
Next, students looked at a series of images depicting a variety of emotions. They were invited to talk about their own emotional reactions to interactions with friends and their responses to different social settings. Students were asked to differentiate between various emotions and consider how those feelings caused them to react. Sarah assured them that it is natural and normal to experience both happy and sad emotions.
The next segment of the discussion delved deeper into the nature of emotions. Sarah had students consider questions such as "When do emotions become unhealthy?" and "What is depression?" Before the talk concluded, Sarah equipped the children with tools to identify the types of thoughts and feelings they are experiencing. She also stressed the importance of sharing sad or angry emotions with trusted friends and adults.
Sarah's presentation helped our children understand the importance of managing emotions. Health Week has given our students an opportunity to gain new perspectives and learn practical knowledge and skills to help them proactively deal with stress and adversity - techniques that will prove invaluable throughout life.