Being healthy, what does it really mean?
These days everybody talks about “being healthy”. How do you define that? How do we tell children how to be healthy? The truth of the matter is we don’t really know where to start and frankly, it can mean totally different things to different people. For the physically fit members of our communities it can mean a good heart rate, a weekly fitness regime an improved 5k time. For others it can mean getting your minimum 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day, low sugar consumption, a low carb diet, or maybe restricted alcohol intake. For others, it can literally mean not suffering cold after cold or one viral infection after another or the hope that one day their illness will retreat. Yet underlying all of this is the most finely tuned part of our entire internal engine, our mind, our mental wellbeing. If we are not feeling good about ourselves or at least feel capable of mustering the strength to face and address our issues, we won’t change what we eat, the amount of exercise we do, our hygiene, our bad habits. Our individual mental health is the most fragile yet essential element of our entire existence. It colours everything. It can drive us on to improve our skills, to stick to a diet, to go to the gym and sometimes literally just to keep going. Yet we still don’t help our children build up resilience, an ability to cope with the stresses of being a teenager, a young adult or an ageing one for that matter! We need to rethink our approach as practitioners and arm our pupils with real-life skills as well as the academic. There is a tendency still to scoff at mindfulness without really knowing what it means and how, if instilled, it can empower an individual to take control of emotions, feelings and situations. If we had embraced the theory, undertaken to embed it into our primary curriculum, would we be facing a frighteningly increasing number of young adults with mental health issues of all kinds.
The Mindfulness in Schools project is holding a conference in April 2019. Isn’t this something we should attend? Take a look…