Equip Students With The Skills To Increase Their Resilience
Twenty-five per cent of adolescents currently has a mental illness.
One in four adolescents currently has a mental illness.
One-quarter of adolescents currently have a mental illness.
Regardless of how you say it, the meaning and the harsh reality remains the same. Too many young people are battling a mental illness.
If you prefer visuals, this may help. Imagine a group of eight teens (you know, like the groups you see at the mall), two of those individuals are likely struggling with mental illness.
Now imagine a classroom of 28 students. Seven of those faces are likely masking a mental illness.
Now multiply out these two small, isolated examples to an entire school, and an entire country. That is a lot of people.
If you’re like me, after hearing this statistic and imagining the gravity of the situation, your head starts to spin. You are filled with thoughts about your own experiences with mental illness, thoughts of those that are close to you that live with depression or anxiety, and even celebrities that have lost their battle against their own mental illness. Whether we see the impacts of mental illness in our own lives or on our favourite media outlet, they are everywhere.
The Resilience Project
In 2008, Hugh van Cuylenburg, the Co-Founder and Presenter of The Resilience Project spent a year living in northern India and found that even without some of what many people think are basic necessities, such as running water and electricity, the natives he lived with were happy. Upon returning to Australia, the reality of the discouraging mental health statistics became the driving force behind the now twelve-year-old company, The Resilience Project.
As stated on their website, The Resilience Project’s mission is to “teach positive mental health strategies to help people become more happy”. The Resilience Project has developed many resources spanning from teaching students through school workshops and online learning courses, to company-wide presentations that all centre on three main pillars: Gratitude, Empathy, and Mindfulness. Also known as GEM.
For us to better understand how The Resilience Project hopes to accomplish its mission, let’s breakdown the meaning of resilience, as well as its three central ideas.
Resilience is the ability to recover from challenges. It is the capacity to overcome obstacles and return to one’s original state and is often used interchangeably with toughness or grit. It is through resilience that one can overcome with difficult life circumstances, such as mental illness, and live a life filled with happiness.
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful which involves acknowledging and demonstrating appreciation for something.
Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another person. To empathise with someone is to recognise and share the opinions of others.
Mindfulness is the mental state of being present and fully aware of the current moment.
What do all of these words and ideas have in common? They all can help fight mental illness, are all on the rise in popularity, and most importantly, they are skills that can be taught and developed at any time in a person’s life.
While The Resilience Project initially focused its efforts primarily in the teaching of students, they have expanded to include programs for all ages. Starting with a 21-week program for Early Childcare centres, to their corporate program the team at The Resilience Project has designed researched-backed wellness programs that incorporate various mediums and align with the teachings of the Australian Curriculum.
Similar to The Resilience Project, other companies have developed programs or workshops that are teaching students and adults alike how to infuse gratitude, empathy, mindfulness, and resilience into their daily lives in hopes to increase happiness and grit and overall improve mental health.
For example, you may have seen an influx in gratitude journals (a place for noting what a person is grateful for each day) at your local bookstore or even new meditation and mindfulness applications in your device’s AppStore.
Working Mind Resilience Training of Melbourne visit companies and host workshops that specially designed to increase resilience through the reduction of stress, strengthening of mindset, and consistency of a good night’s sleep.
Working Minds has hosted resilience workshops for clients as well known as Microsoft, Toyota, and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. The clout of these clients shows us that many globally successful companies value grit and resilience in employees so much that they are willing to pay for their training to strengthen it. It also indicates that in the future these large companies will look to sustain their workforce’s resilience by recruiting employees with these characteristics.
WunderTraining is another example of a business created to empower teams and individuals to remain positively engaged at work and build resilience through group workshops.
With over 30 workshop options, companies can browse their offerings and select the objective that best fits their company’s needs. Many of Australia’s top 50 organisations in the world’s leading industries as well as national and state governments have enrolled in WunderTraining workshops to increase their business’s positivity, resilience, and compassion.
While we acknowledge people of all ages are struggling with mental health, at Leaders of Evolution, we agree with The Resilience Project, that it does not need to stay this way. Instead, we believe that through workshops and training, students can bring a bright future to Australia because after all, the students of today are the leaders of tomorrow.
We acknowledge that the workplace is changing. While we may not be able to predict the technical skills our youth will need at their first job, by analysing big company’s values we can predict that areas such as grit, independence, and goal setting will help an individual get hired and thrive.
In over 267 schools throughout the country, our programs are currently teaching students the skills and behaviours they need to be happier and live a more fulfilling life.
Each “C” of our 4 C’s (Competence, Confidence, Character, Connectedness) Leadership Learning Framework connects to an integral element of grit and resiliency.
For example, increasing a student’s positive self-worth is necessary to develop their confidence to overcome mental illness, and behaviours such as empathy and responsibility help create a strong character that can propel students to success.
Our course, Future Skills of the Workforce, brings what Working Minds Resilience Training or WunderTraining does through a workshop for adults, to students in years 11 and 12 through an interactive and engaging online training. This course helps students develop the grit and positive mindset they need to excel in the future workplace.
Specifically, one of the four lessons of this course is exclusively for teaching autonomy and grit. Through this lesson, students learn what grit is, how it can be used in the workplace, and even take a quiz to evaluate where they fall on the Grit Scale.
By doing this, students can assess their current position, determine ways they can increase their grit, and appropriately plan for the future.
2020 has been a whirlwind. From wildfires to a global pandemic, the year has not gone quite as we have all planned. These challenges have increased mental illness for students and adults all around the globe. Now more than ever, we all need resilience. We need grit. We need positivity.
To do this, you do not need to rush to signup for an in-person workshop (although many great workshops have moved to an online format) or exaggerate your happiness. Instead, I urge you to incorporate small elements of gratitude, grit, and mindfulness into your everyday life.
Let someone know that you appreciate the work they have done, do the extra repetition in your workout when you want to give up, stop taking a photo of the sunset, and just enjoy it. Small acts like these increase happiness, and therefore ultimately help combat mental illness.
If you are a teacher or a school leader, I especially encourage you to evaluate how you are teaching grit and resilience in your classrooms. Are you teaching students how to overcome obstacles and demonstrate grit? Are you teaching students the skills they need to be resilient and defeat mental illness?
Our team is here to assist you in teaching your students lifelong skills that will lead them to happy and fulfilling lives. Get in touch [email protected]
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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.