By Samantha Dholakia
A Whole new world, looking within!
There is an old saying, ‘what goes up must come down’, over time we have come to understand that this is of course set in the science of gravity. The idea that if something goes up into the air, it must come down, is familiar to us. It is a notion we now take for granted and teach in schools as part of understanding the world around us.
We spend a lot of time exploring the world around us, the natural occurrences and theories of that beyond our reach, but for all our learning and teaching of the external world there is still much to understand. It is fascinating how much we can know, whilst knowing not much at all. Which of course, fuels our curiosity and desire to learn and deliberate on that external world even more! And this curiosity is sparked even in our youngest minds…
Like the external world around us, our internal world is full of natural occurrences and concepts beyond our understanding. The way in which our mind, body and behaviour works is not only fascinating but imperative to our progression and development.
But, how much curiosity and exploration of our internal world is sparked in our children?
The answer, based on my experience within the education system, is very little!
We do not teach our children about our internal world. We do not teach them about their minds and their emotions. About how they are linked and how we can manage and control them with practice. Our internal world, the world that is so crucial to all areas of success in life, remains a mystery to us all!
So, how much of a difference could we make if we knew more about it?
Mental health, like physical health, affects us all. It drives our successes, challenges and failures, and yet we sit behind the wheel of our minds without instruction, guidance and awareness. As adults this is something we often do not know and because of this our children follow in our footsteps as behaviours, traumas and struggles are passed down through generations… ok, it may sound like we are all mentally doomed, but the reason I say this is – we actually HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE THE MOST INCREDIBLE CHANGES!
This is why I do what I do, and why I – with many others in my field, are supporting families, children and educational/care settings in sparking curiosity and teaching children (and grown ups) about the important and incredible internal world!
Sustaining good mental health is all about awareness, reflection and forming habits, so here are some top tips to start to share, explore and get to know your internal worlds together as a family!
– Use your emotions as signposts
We are taught, and still teach, from a young age that we need to ‘use our words’ or ‘stop crying’ ‘don’t be mad’ but this not only stuffles the processing of our emotions, kicking the metaphorical can down the road, it creates a disconnect that prevents us from understanding our emotions as we develop. Begin to acknowledge, name and describe your emotions – notice when you feel them and share this with each other, ‘ I am feeling frustrated because I wanted to…..but was not able to’.
– Recognise behaviour as communication
Whether it is our own behaviour as parents, or the behaviour of our children, the way we behave indicates the emotions we are having. Reflecting and spotting repeated behaviour can help identify our emotional triggers and enable us to make changes. Verbalising things such as ‘ I shouted then, I am feeling angry because….’ gives a positive narrative to our internal world and allows us to process and move forward more quickly.
– Guard your thoughts
Our thoughts create our emotions, so choosing what we think deliberately and with purpose can shift a great many of our actions and results . So often we allow our mind to run freely, on uninterrupted loops that trigger our fight or flight responses. This not only prevents us from thinking logically, but also impacts our physical health. Taking ownership of our emotions through our thoughts is tough but empowering. Recognising and verbalising ‘ I am feeling…. because I am thinking….. rather than ‘I am feeling…..because you/someone did…..’ can change how we experience situations and most importantly how we sustain connections.
We can create and sustain positive mental health habits through adapting 3 core elements, our physiology, beliefs and internal and external language choices. SPD Tuition and Coaching works to support educational and childcare settings, parents and children in developing the skills, the understanding and the self belief they need in order to self-regulate and co-regulate. It is through sharing, discussing and exploring these processes that we can spark the interest and excitement that leads to truly mastering our internal worlds, as well as our external.
For more information about our educational and childcare setting training support, family or children programmes, you can contact SPD Tuition and Coaching directly via email at email@example.com, or via phone on 07884271025. All programmes have habit building, understanding the science behind behaviour and creating an environment of self and co-regulation at their core.