Positive Mental Health for Educational Success: Simple Daily Habits to Reduce Stress & Improve Focus
Academic pursuit requires focus, alertness and sharpness of mind. Students must be physically fit and mentally adept to ingrain increasingly complex concepts. Often the idea of mental fitness or positive mental health takes a backseat compared to physical health. However, for comprehensive growth as a scholar, it is very important for students to also hone in habits and routines that aid them in developing and maintaining a good mental health quotient. Mental health should be prioritized within the daily routines of students.
Some of the time-tested methods known to bring positive mental health outcomes for all age groups can be applied as easily to young adults and teenage students and even to very young student groups. Some of these healthy daily routines for students involve the following:
- Morning Schedule
Mornings set the tone for the rest of the day. A positive affirmation upon waking up goes a long way in initiating the day in the right direction. Other things like drinking water, stretching, going out into the sunlight, walking or meditating are immensely helpful too. Avoiding screen time in the morning saves precious time for activities like reading, getting ready in time for school and being punctual. The international baccalaureate PYP programs include morning prayers and meditation schedules so students start school on a good note.
Exercise is one of nature’s ways to release happy hormones. They are better than tea and coffee and the best stress busters and health promoters known to humankind. Regular exercise can reduce stress, improve focus, build muscle and keep at bay chronic illnesses later in life. The best daily routine for students can have an ideal mix of yoga, jogging, running, or walking in a park. These do not require expensive equipment and can be done at home or outside. The best ICSE schools in Pune, as also other schools in India, lay emphasis on exercise in the form of yoga and sports within their co-curricular activities.
Being present in the moment helps a person reap the best benefits of creative ideas, doing tasks on time, being organized and keeping stress free. Some practical ways to achieve mindfulness are preparing a to-do list for the day the night before, doing meditation or deep breathing exercises, indulging in an activity such as Sudoku or reading books, connecting with nature and doing small chores such as watering the plants etc. Playing with pets is also a good way to be mindful, as is spending time with the family in activities of mutual interest. The best IB schools in Pune, such as MIT Gurukul, have mandatory meditation, book reading etc, in their daily and weekly schedules as the first set of activities in the school timetable.
- Healthy Eating
Food affects not only our bodies but our mind as well. Healthy food leads to healthy neural connections and keeps the mind sharp and ready to acquire knowledge. Starting the day with a nutritious breakfast, having plentiful fruits and vegetables and adequate amounts of water throughout the day helps build a fit body and mental faculties. Within the busy schedule of students, some easy snack ideas can be dry fruits or fresh fruits, multigrain flour bread with protein-rich filings and salads. Traditional home-cooked food is the best option as against eating food from outside or buying junk food. MIT Gurukul, like the other IB boarding schools in India, ensures that its hostel students are given well-balanced and nutritionally rich food to concentrate on their studies.
A good night’s sleep is the best way to wake up fresh, be happy and efficient throughout the day, and maintain optimum mental health levels. Sleep helps dispel both physical and mental fatigue, repairs body cells and maintains the body’s rhythm. The sleep needs to be good quality as well as of optimum length. About seven to eight hours of undisturbed sleep daily is a must for students. A fresh mind can imbibe classroom learning easily. Eating two hours before sleep, avoiding screen time an hour before bedtime, and scheduling bedtime routines are good ideas for sound sleep.
Taking breaks throughout the day between study times gives the students time to relax and return to their studies with renewed vigour. These breaks, which should ideally be technology-free, also help reduce strain on eyes and stress; and improve focus. Spending time with family or friends, playing games, helping the mother in the kitchen, talking to one’s grandparents or taking them for a walk are simple yet powerful ways to utilize study breaks. Top international schools in Pune, such as MIT Gurukul, also have games and sports periods, art classes, music and dance training etc., in between the subject classes to give students artistic and sporty ways of distressing and building mental focus.
Conclusively we can say that maintaining mental health for better focus and educational success results from consistent routines and good habits. The school and parents can both play an important role in encouraging and supporting students to develop such habits. We welcome parents to meet our psychology and academic counsellors to understand ways to help their child in such habit formation. To set up a meeting, parents can write to us at email@example.com