“The anxious student works and thinks less efficiently, which significantly affects the student’s learning capability”.
Jessica Minahan, M.Ed, BCBA, Behavior Analyst and Special Educator, Newton, Massachusetts
The concern with anxiety in young people is not new. Back in 2008 The Children’s Society claimed that “10% of children and young people (aged 5-16) have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem, yet 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age”.
Roll forward to the present day, and Psychology Today claims that anxiety is the number one reason college students seek counselling.
It’s not going to get any better. In fact, younger children are becoming more regularly affected by stress and anxiety due to the pressure of achieving good Statutory Assessment Tests (SATs) results at the tender age of 11.
Signs of stress and anxiety in young people
Stress and anxiety, although considered mental experiences, have many physical effects on the body. Some, not all, of the physical symptoms that can arise from a build-up of stress and anxiety are:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disruption
- Stomach aches
- Poor concentration
- Social withdrawal
- Hair twirling
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in academic performance
The purpose of The Life of Riley group education programmes
The Life of Riley group education programmes are aimed at improving wellbeing and performance through a clear understanding of how to use our brains to their fullest potential. Participants learn how to maintain their own happy chemicals and identify the warning signs of when mental wellbeing needs some attention.
I visit schools and conduct group sessions which allow participants to grow in happiness and positive mental strength, while improving overall motivation and performance. These groups do not focus on problems but instead focus on the strengths and resources we already have within us to relieve anxiety, stress and many other symptoms commonly experienced by students in this overwhelming, high-pressure, target-driven world.
What to expect in a group education session
Group sessions focus on stimulating the intellectual and positive part of the brain
- We commonly begin with questions such as “what’s been good in the last week for you?” or “what’s made you smile today?”
- Sessions are fun and uplifting while offering students the necessary resources and techniques that they can carry through life, long after leaving education
- Every session finishes with enjoyable and well-received deep relaxation. This allows the brain time to accept the new ideas and positive patterns of behaviour discussed each week
- Whether working on a one-to-one basis, or within a group, I encourage all of my clients to leave with a spring in their step, a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their face.
The Life of Riley sessions for young people within education
Talks, workshops and programmes tailored to the age and concerns of those who attend:
- GCSE programme to reduce stress and anxiety surrounding GCSE’s, increasing motivation while improving overall wellbeing and performance Anxiety explained
- Learn to relax and why we should
- Gratitude Workshop (includes creating own gratitude stones)
- The Brain “taking back control”
- A DOSE of Happiness “Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin & Endorphins”
- Fears and phobias explained
- Overcoming exam stress
- Reducing stress in the workplace
The Life of Riley sessions for professionals in education
Happy teachers inspire happy students.
The Life or Riley provide staff wellbeing programmes for teachers and pastoral teams. Staff are under increasing pressure due to targets and the aspirations of students and parents, so there is as much of a need for focus on their wellbeing as on that of their students.