Many people see their school years as a time of joy, a time in which they discovered themselves as a person and made long lasting friendships, a time in which they found their calling in life. For many however, school was a time of hardship, filled with stress, anxiety and helplessness.
How can school be the same, yet so different? And in this world full of ever increasing stress provokers such as terrorism, natural disasters and environmental degradation what can schools do to enhance the ability of students to cope with all the stress?
The solution is resilience. Resilience is positively related to the ability to recover from stress and is believed to be related to seeking out chances to grow and improve. Perhaps by implementing positive psychology techniques into the school curriculum that increase the resilience of students, schools can reduce the distress students encounter as well as improve their wellbeing not only in the classroom environment but also at home.
Currently in the USA, the UK, China and Australia a curriculum based program called the Penn Resilience Programme is being applied to different schools. The programme teaches cognitive reframing, confidence and assertiveness, decision making, coping skills, creative brainstorming and relaxation. The students that underwent this type of resilience training showed reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. These effects were found to be long-lasting with significant improvements in overall wellbeing and increases in optimism.
As a teacher or school principle don’t just stand there and wonder, take action to help the students by implementing these techniques into the curriculum. And if you’re a parent, go and share this with your child’s school, don’t be passive.
Sin, N. L., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2009). Enhancing well-being and alleviating depressive symptoms with positive psychology interventions: A practice-friendly meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 65, 467–487.
V.S. group 5