This blog has been written by Debbi Wood owner of StrengthCards.co.uk about how we can harness mindfulness, strength cards and positive affirmations to help tackle bullying.
What are Strength Cards and do they actually work?
Mindfulness, Strength Cards, Positive affirmation’s may be terms you are used to hearing and know exactly what they mean, or maybe you’ve heard them, but not sure what its all about, some new fad or mumbo jumbo that will pass quickly.
Mindfulness is on the increase, staff are being trained in their work place to use it, google life coaches and you will see a plethora of them listed, Mindfulness is now being taught in schools, it is fast becoming a tool used in a variety of settings with children, for example in ELSA sessions. In 2014 the use of Mindfulness in schools was discussed in Parliament, however some schools had already started using Mindfulness, Tonbridge School in Kent and Hampton School in Middlesex were the first British schools to include mindfulness in the curriculum for all 13- and 14-year-olds in 2010. Since then, more schools here and abroad have become involved.
Research on children practising Mindfulness showed they were significantly less likely to develop suicidal ideation or thoughts of self-harm, it helps bullying, according to Mindfulschools.org and author Janice Houlihan from the University of Massachusetts: “Mindfulness practices help the bully, victim, and any witnesses involved develop a deeper awareness of themselves, resilience, compassion, and a greater ability to regulate their emotional responses.”
So, what is it all about? Mindfulness is
- Observing your life as it happens
- Accepting your current situation without judgement or struggle
- Allowing feelings to exist without letting them drive your actions
- Noticing thoughts as they arise without the need to buy into them
- Taking action on what you feel in your heart rather than old habits or short-term convenience
How can Strength cards help?
Strength cards can be used in lots of different ways to explore strengths and empower the child, it awakens memories of when they are at their best.
They are a perfect tool for helping young people to identify and explore their strengths. They build in self-confidence and awareness.
And how does that work in practice?
Take the 24 Character strength set, each card has a strength, ‘strong’ ‘helpful’ ‘kind ‘ the child is asked to select 5 cards they feel represents strengths they have, they can discuss with you why they believe they have that strength, it often leads to them recounting stories to show the reason why, giving them self-awareness of their strengths, you can then ask them to select 3 they wish that they had, a discussion over this can often lead to the awareness that they actually already have the strength, they just didn’t see it.
What about Positive Affirmations?
Positive Affirmations can be used as a reminder when they are alone and need that inner voice to remind them that they have strengths, the small bag of 30 Positive emotions, is small enough to pop into a school bag but is a powerful tool.
Positive statements can help the young person to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. When they repeat them often, and believe in them, they can start to make positive changes.
According to researchers, spending just a few minutes thinking about your best qualities before a high-pressure event– an exam, for example – can calm your nerves, increase your confidence, and improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Self-affirmation may also help to mitigate the effects of stress. In one study, a short affirmation exercise boosted the problem-solving abilities of "chronically stressed" subjects to the same level as those with low stress.
What's more, affirmations have been used to successfully treat people with low self-esteem, depression, and other mental health conditions.
In short, Mindfulness, Strength Cards and Positive Affirmations are here to stay, and here to help.
Strength Cards is a registered company set up in 2018 by Debbi Wood from Hampshire, Debbi has worked in pre-schools, residential care, social care, Barnardo’s missing children and CSE teams, an autism assessment team, and currently in the government’s Troubled Families programme, she holds a diploma in preschool practice and counselling level 1 and 2 and counselling children and adolescents, She saw first-hand the benefits of using Strength Cards with children, She design’s and prints Strength cards and Positive Affirmation cards which are then sold through her web site http://www.Strengthcards.co.uk.
Keen to involve key Charities in the use of Strength Cards with their members and supporters, coupled with a desire to support those charities, led Debbi to approaching the Anti-Bullying Alliance and offer them an online shop, where members and supporters can purchase from the range available with ABA logo, and a 10% donation (after promotional discounts and fees) will be made to ABA. Their shop link is https://www.strengthcards.co.uk/shop-anti-bullying-alliance
Debbi Wood - Owner - StrengthCards.co.uk