Mental health and the well-being of students have become somewhat of a hot topic these days, given the toll the recent pandemic has taken on our daily lives. And so, to assist students, schools have taken it upon themselves to provide different means of support, ranging from teaching meditation techniques to providing yoga lessons and implementing programs such as EASE, which are developed to help learners identify and manage anxiety, etc. While all of these are great, they are all missing one essential component – the planning tools for shifting the mindset of students because for learners to use these strategies they must be able to take and apply them whenever problems arise in a real-life context. And what does the process of shifting mindset entail? It involves creating planning templates that will allow students to reflect on where they are currently with managing stress, and set goals for where they need to be, and use problem-solving techniques being taught in class. Below are some steps that schools can take to develop the tools students will need to overcome an anxiety mindset.
1. Identify Characteristics
When it comes to creating a shift in mindset for overcoming anxiety, there are many characteristics one should possess; for simplicity’s sake we have chosen the following four: positive-focused, understanding, self-compassionate and self-confidence. What you choose for your learners and how many traits is up to you.
2. Create Self-Reflection Form
Once you have identified the qualities students should possess to overcome anxiety, the next step involves creating a self-reflection form for learners to assess where they feel they are in this moment in time with regards to each area, as shown in the example below, which includes questions for reflecting, prompts to guide their thinking, checklists for noting where one is at within each characteristic, and spaces to note areas for improvement in each category.
Providing students with a self-reflection form such as the one above gives them a starting point in determining their strengths and weaknesses, which can then be used for setting goals to overcome the areas they may be struggling with.
3. Create Goal-Setting Template
After creating a self-reflection form, a goal-setting template needs to be developed for students so they can outline specific steps for overcoming areas of weakness, as shown below.
When completing the form, students can be thinking about meditation or yoga strategies, or those provided by a program such as EASE that will help them to shift their mindset in areas where they wish to improve. For example, during a lesson on managing anxiety, students could choose from a list of strategies for understanding where one’s anxiety comes from to use in their goal-setting form.
4. Create Problem-Solving Template
Finally comes the template that will allow students to identify problems they are facing and solve them using strategies from the overcoming anxiety mindset you want to instill, which could look something like the one below.
When completing the above template, students would first need to identify the problem they are facing, rephrase it positively, and then ask themselves what causes their anxiety, how they can practice being kind to themselves while resolving it and lastly, how they can improve their self-confidence so they can move past the problem and the anxiety associated with it. Once they have gone through the problem-solving process, students can reflect on the strategies they used to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t so they are better equipped to handle upcoming issues that may arise. This is but one way the template could be arranged and when creating yours, keep in mind that there should be a logical process for students to follow as they work through the problem-solving process.
5. Repeat and Revise
The same forms for self-reflection, goal-setting and problem-solving can be used over and over again until the process of overcoming anxiety becomes second-nature to students. And when learners get to this point, does this mean you can’t push them further into exploring and developing new characteristics? Absolutely not! You can always revise the templates by removing some of the characteristics and replacing them with new ones to focus on!
When it comes to helping students overcome anxiety and improve their mental health, the simple act of providing the tools for shifting mindset will go a long way in assisting learners in knowing how to use the techniques and strategies being taught in class in everyday life. And imagine the impact this will have on students as they move through life with the know-how and the skills to deal with any stressful situation they may encounter!
Are you wanting to design templates for shifting mindset but feel you might need some further guidance? Contact us, we are happy to help!