This blog will discuss what emotional wellness for middle school students looks like. Readers will first be introduced to the concept of emotional wellness, followed by seven essential practices that promote it in middle school children.
What are Some Practices for Emotional Wellness for Middle School Students?
A few emotional wellness practices for middle school students are listed as follows:
- Let’s Talk About Mental Health
- Using Mood Charts
- Conflict Management Training
- Breathing & Relaxation Techniques
- Making School a Community
- Screening for Well-Being
- Addressing Bullying with Compassion
What is Emotional Wellness for Middle School Students?
Emotional wellness is a term used to describe the quality of your subjective experiences in life. If you have achieved this construct, you will be able to recognise, process, express, and communicate your emotions healthily. As emotions are messages from our body and mind trying to communicate with us, they must be heard and understood.
A few signs of emotional wellness are:
- Emotional agility
- Coping skills
In middle school children, emotional wellness affects the quality of their peer relationships, their ability to communicate, and how well they cope with life becoming more complicated. Emotional wellness at this age also promotes learning and maturing.
7 Emotional Wellness Practices for Middle School Students
This section will describe seven essential practices that can build and sustain emotional wellness in middle school students. These need to be conducted by a teacher or counsellor for supervision.
Let’s Talk About Mental Health
You can’t promote emotional wellness in kids if there is a lot of stigma related to mental health. Middle schoolers care a lot about what their peers think. If they are afraid that they will be judged for showing their vulnerabilities, they won’t open up or get the help they need.
The best way to get rid of stigma is to talk about mental health. Teachers can conduct regular group discussions with students to openly talk about common issues and coping strategies for emotional wellness.
By conducting sessions like these, schools can help normalise talking about one’s feelings and how to deal with them. Such conversations are imperative for emotional wellness as they lead to better insight and reduce feelings of isolation.
Using Mood Charts
Anyone attempting to develop emotional wellness will find that mood charts are extremely effective. These are tools that help you build an awareness of your emotional states so that you and others can understand your behaviour.
For middle school students, these charts can be placed somewhere accessible so that children can label their emotions periodically. A typical mood chart will have slots for each hour and emotion labels to pick from.
In a classroom, there can be another row or column for each student’s name. That way, students can become more aware of each other’s emotional states and be more compassionate.
Conflict Management Training
Middle schoolers are at the stage of emotional development when they slowly start prioritising their relationships with peers of the same sex. This change in social dynamics typically brings with it many instances of conflict.
If conflicts are not handled in a healthy and constructive way, they lead to several emotional problems for all parties involved. Hence, it makes sense to train middle school students on ways of conflict management and non-violent communication.
These strategies can be taught to students via workshops, training sessions, group discussions, and by modelling desired behaviours. For the latter, teachers are expected to lead by example. However, films and audio-visual content can also be used.
Breathing & Relaxation Techniques
Emotions don’t just come out of nowhere; they are messages sent from our body and mind. In order for students to understand what is the underlying message between each emotion, they need to be able to control their reactions.
It can be hard to resist giving into an impulsive decision when feeling emotional. One might end up doing something they regret. To prevent that from happening, students need to be taught how to create some space between any trigger and reaction.
One of the most effective ways to create this space is through breathing and relaxation techniques. Students can be trained in these techniques so that they are more in control of how they respond to situations, which of course is a big sign of emotional wellness.
Making School a Community
Since relationships, of all kinds, are a huge component of emotional wellness, schools must take this into consideration. If a middle school wants its students to feel secure, comfortable, and trusting of their institution, the school must present itself as a community.
Teachers, staff, parents, and students need to come together to create a safe space for each individual setting foot on campus. This means that the systems must encourage connections and promote a sense of looking after each other.
Without such efforts, students tend to feel alienated when they are facing any problem. They find authorities unapproachable and cannot get the help they need to maintain emotional wellness. Hence, a sense of community is essential in schools.
Screening for Well-Being
Middle school authorities can make a huge impact on students’ emotional wellness by screening for psychological problems. Some of the common emotional issues faced by children of this age group include anxiety, negative thinking, body image issues, stress, identity confusion, and loneliness.
Bullying, too, is an issue that might hamper students’ emotional wellness. Therefore, it is a good practice for schools to administer screening and assessment tools. If students with issues related to emotional wellness are detected sooner, they can get the interventions that they need faster.
Addressing Bullying with Compassion
When it comes to bullying, middle schools must understand that though there is a victim and a perpetrator, both children in the scenario need help. Students only resort to bullying others when they are hurting inside.
This could be because of parental neglect, displacement of anger, or behavioural issues in one’s household. If a middle school wants to promote the emotional wellness of all students, then cases of bullying should be handled with compassion.
While punishment and strictness is important to enforce rules, at the same time, children who are bullying others, must be given the help they desperately need. Otherwise, simply disciplining may not truly solve the problem.
This blog discussed what emotional wellness for middle school students looks like. Readers were first introduced to the concept of emotional wellness, followed by seven essential practices that promote it in middle school children.
The emotional wellness activities for middle school students mentioned here were Let’s Talk About Mental Health, Using Mood Charts, Conflict Management Training, Breathing & Relaxation Techniques, Making School a Community, Screening for Well-Being, and Addressing Bullying with Compassion.
FAQs (Emotional Wellness for Middle School Students)
What are some examples of emotional wellness?
There are many behaviours that point to one’s emotional wellness, some of which include:
- Being able to understand and process emotions
- Ability to relax
- Ability to form and sustain healthy relationships
- Non-violent communication
What are the 3 areas that emotional well-being influences?
When someone has attained emotional well-being, they have a much easier time being in tune with their emotions. They’re able to handle them in a healthy way and focus on learning. Emotional well-being also influences your ability to be vulnerable; a key ingredient for trust in relationships. It’s also easier to be your authentic self when emotionally well.
What are the 5 parts of emotional wellbeing?
The five essential parts of emotional well-being are listed below:
- Human connection
- Physical activity
- Learning new skills