Book an in-school visit

Five ways to wellbeing – Connected

The evidence-based Five Ways to Wellbeing presents a useful framework of 5 keys to maintaining positive mental health. It’s been the foundational framework for Public Health England since the NEF released their scientific papers in 2008 and 2011*. And it’s a framework that works well for adults and children, schools and workplaces. See this NHS website for more information.

These 5 keys to positive mental health are Giving, Connecting, Active, Learning and Mindful. For their Mental Health & Wellbeing School Workshops and online version, A-life have devised the acronym GetCALM to help children remember the 5 keys, ensuring they are more able to incorporate them into their daily lives.

Previously we looked at the importance of giving for our mental health (click here to read the article).

Today, let’s look at why connecting with other people can be beneficial to our mental health & wellbeing…

Evidence shows that we need to feel connected with or close to others. Feeling that we belong and are valued is essential for our self-worth. Having trusted relationships is one of the most powerful protective factors for children’s wellbeing. Helping children develop relationships with others is a key confidence building skill. It doesn’t come naturally to all children, it takes time and effort, but it’s worth it. One of the best ways for children to connect is through play.

Here are 5 ideas for how you can get Connected:

  1. Invest in your friendships – developing relationships with friends and family is so important as they will support and enrich you every day. Try arranging a fixed time to eat dinner together as a family if you can. Arrange a day out with a friend you haven’t seen for a while. Or have lunch with a colleague.
  2. Join a group or clubs – Shared interest groups such as sports, art, drama or brownies are great for enhancing our sense of belonging.
  3. Play a game – turn the TV off and get out a board game or card game, This gives us the opportunity to talk and connect through play, while learning to take turns and share, which are essential skills for children to be able to build relationships and friendships outside of the home.
  4. Really listen – when you’re next talking to someone remember to talk, pause, listen and smile J
  5. Volunteering – helping at a local school or community group for example. Find out how to volunteer on the GOV.UK website.

Making the most of technology to stay in touch with friends and family is great. Video-chat apps like Skype and FaceTime are useful, especially if you live far apart. But don’t rely on technology or social media alone to build relationships. It’s easy to get into the habit of only ever texting, messaging or emailing people.

Science tells us that when we perceive threat to our safety, we feel fear or stress and our body goes into one of 3 survival modes – fight, flight or freeze (which one will depend on the person). We release cortisol and adrenaline which affect our ability to think / reason & access our working memory. Conversely, when we have TRUSTED RELATIONSHIPS, we experience care/kindness/love and our bodies produce oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that, interestingly, is stronger than cortisol, confirming that love is greater than fear J

A-life mental health workshop activity for connecting with others

    get Connected is one of the activity stations in A-life’s Mental Health & Wellbeing school workshop, which highlights the importance of building healthy relationships with others through an escape room type challenge to encourage teamwork and working together to win the prize. For more information on their school workshops or to see other resources and lesson plans, please visit A-life’s website

Brilliant day,! Great interactive activities covering the whole area of mental health. Children really enjoyed the range of activities and the lessons learnt. Great organisation. Great resources. Clear instructions given. 5*
Pupils said: I really liked the phones where you could see the solar system. i felt really happy i solved the escape room challenge and unlocked the box @St Lawrence Primary School