How do we encourage young people to adopt a positive growth mindset and build resilience through mindset training? Given the nature of the world today, there are inevitably scenarios where young people are experiencing stress and anxiety. We can support young people and equip them with multiple skills and coping strategies in order for them to be productive in potentially stressful situations. This requires educators and parents to embed healthy living models and psychological skill development in the education of young people. Young people’s awareness and understanding around psychological and physical health and its impact on the ability to meet the demands of the world today is essential for a healthy and prosperous life.
What the research says:
‘Techniques such as Mental Skills Training can be an effective way to deal with performance enhancement and interventions such as imagery work, pre-performance rituals, goal setting, positive self-talk, cognitive restructuring, simulation training, centering, mindfulness and thought stopping can have a positive effect on the way an individual copes with pressure’ (Greene, 2002)
Between the approximate ages of 6-12 years old, Erikson (1963) suggests that students are psychologically developing to feel competent rather than inferior. Between the approximate ages of 13-19 years, he suggests that students are trying to find their identity in a bid to overcome the confusion that is present throughout this stage of development.
Sports, Exams and Music Performance
In sports and music, children are often taught basic fundamental movement and coordination skills such as running, jumping, skipping, throwing, catching, playing an instrument and other skills from the age of 4. Today, even after basic physical skills are learned, there is a rush to competition, even at 6-8 years old. However, most children are not prepared for competition. Often at age 4-6, they are just learning to cooperate with other children in games and other performance scenarios. Cooperation among children often builds social skills and has a positive impact. Competition is a more complex interaction which involves greater stress and pressure. The rush to competition often includes physical skills but not mental skills. Often we assume young people cannot do sophisticated mental training. There is sufficient research that shows mental training can be done for young children. In addition, one must keep in mind that young children are new to competition. Therefore, it’s unrealistic to expect young children to respond like champions or adults and display mature attitudes, rise under pressure, or understand losing gracefully.
What we offer
‘Over the Rainbow’ – a programme designed to teach relaxed breathing techniques and introduce classical music to primary school-aged children, in order to help them combat and build a resilience to stress and anxiety.
I have designed the ‘Over the Rainbow’ programme to help equip young children in their formative years with simple yet invaluable breathing techniques which encourage them to breathe properly. The programme benefits from introducing children to the power of classical music as a tool for stress relief and fun!
The idea is that they will carry these tools with them into teenage years and adulthood, thus providing a useful support in dealing with situations which may cause stress and anxiety, such as preparing for impending examinations, competitions and sports or music performances.
Second level workshops
The School of Performance will share with students trusted tools, techniques and exercises that will support them in developing healthy habits, achieving razor-like focus and being resilient in their personal and school life. I will help students to create their own unique resilience strategy plan so they can be mentally, physically and emotionally ready for life’s challenges. The School of Performance workshop series explores the fundamentals of performance psychology and growth mindset training such as self-talk techniques, breathing techniques, mindfulness training, goal setting, finding purpose and managing stress. The intention is to share practical tools and techniques with young people so they can feel confident in how they respond to opportunities and engage with the world around them.