Wellbeing. What is it and why is it so important?
When your world is so filled with Worries that it feels as though you cannot see, touch, hear or even smell anything else, the last thing you want to do is to talk about them. What might be more possible is to learn about Wellbeing.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines Wellbeing as, “the state of being healthy, happy, or prosperous; physical, psychological, or moral welfare.”
This is not how I explain Wellbeing to children and young people. Rather,
I suggest that Wellbeing looks like two words that have been stuck together.
When you unstick them and swap them around they look like this.
One part of Being Well is having the tools to help you manage the Worries you have.
I ask, do you always carry certain things around with you wherever you go? We might have fun trying to think what those things are and even try to draw them.
I share what I carry:
- an umbrella (in case it rains)
- a banana (good for energy)
- my Wellbeing (to help me with my day)
I ask a child if they know where my Wellbeing is? In this picture, my Wellbeing is all around me. Can you see it shining?
The idea of Wellbeing shining is an important one. Shine is a verb, it describes an active state that is changeable. With a pair of shoes, when you polish them they shine more. If you stop polishing them, the shine will fade. So with Wellbeing, when you get active and look after your Wellbeing, your Wellbeing will improve. If you stop actively looking after your Wellbeing, your Wellbeing will decline.
In my work I challenge children and young people to be Curious about their Wellbeing. Challenge can be difficult but I share how exciting it can be when your Wellbeing is shining. I encourage children and young people to be Curious.
- How do you look after your Wellbeing?
- How do the people around you look after their Wellbeing?
Their discoveries lead to each child and young person forming their own ideas. I have frequently been amazed at a child or young person's capacity to understand their need to look after their Wellbeing and the brilliant ways they have achieved this. I will never forget working with a seven year old who had experienced a significant bereavement. Her Wellbeing was not shining. Her world had shrunk to nothing but Worries. My seven year old knew she was not actively looking after her Wellbeing, nor did she wish to. Until one day she entered the counselling room and said, "Yesterday, I saw a bird outside my window. I listened to it sing. It was there today. I'm going to listen to the birds singing again tomorrow." There was our beginning, listening to the birds sing. It felt so precious. It also reminded me of the importance of encouraging children and young people to find their own ways to make their Wellbeing shine. Listening to the birds sing outside her window was not the starting point I anticipated for our work on Wellbeing, yet it worked beautifully.
Another child once said to me, "No one ever told me I needed to look after my Wellbeing before." Yet, when you do, it will shine.
To follow the Worry Wizard story and find out more about the activities and materials I have developed to help children with their Worries and Wellbeing please go to www.TheWorryWizard.com
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