Class 12 (material) – Improving your health

05-14_3I did this in class 12/ IB (International Bacalaureat Diplom-  year 1)  when we talked about healthy/unhealthy lifestyles, how to cope with the demands of being a class 12 student and questions of recilience.

After discussing such thoughts as ‘what makes us feel bad/good’, ‘how do we know which mood/state we’re in’, ‘what does it take to change our mood’, ‘how can we be emotionally stable’ the students read the article. We worked on the vocabulary, then discussed whether they thought this article was helpful. Then they completed the text handling exercises, produced their individual list of useful vocabulary and did the writing task. I found the article on the Internet and added the exercises.

Jutta Zopf-Klasek (Waldorfschule Wien West)

Improving your health

Before reading the text:

Food for thought:

  • What makes you feel good? Or bad?
  • How do you know which mood/state you’re in? How does it show?
  • How about other people? Can you detect their mood?
  • Who/What is responsible for the way you feel?
  • How does the way you feel affect your everyday life?
  • How does the way you feel affect your performance when it comes to school matters?
  • What does it take to change your mood?
  • What does being ‘emotionally stable’ mean to you?
  • How can people be emotionally stable?
  • How important is it to be emotionally stable?

 

 

After reading the text:

  • This text is geared at people interested in the subject of emotional and mental stability – are these thoughts in any way useful to students in their final year(s) at school? What would such a text have to cover to be published on a website for teenage students?

 

Helping your vocabulary grow:

  • Make a list of between 20 to 25 phrases from the text together with their English synonyms or paraphrases and learn them. Choose phrases that you think will be useful also in other contexts.

 

Writing:

  • You have been asked to write an article on how to cope with the demands of being a class 12 student for your school magazine. Write a text of between 300 and 400 words.

When you use phrases from your list of useful vocabulary, underline it.

 

 

 

Improving Emotional Health[1]

Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behaviour. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience[2], and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

What is mental health or emotional health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health is not, however, just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety[3], or other psychological issues. Rather than to the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:

  • A sense of contentment[4].
  • A zest[5] for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity[6].
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life’s challenges and stresses.

The role of resilience in mental and emotional health

Being emotionally and mentally healthy does not mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused[7], flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance stress and your emotions. The capacity[8] to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in low spirits, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

Physical health is connected to mental and emotional health

Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you will automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.

The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affect the way you feel physically and emotionally.

  • [a]  To have good mental and emotional health, it is important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function optimally. Younger people need even more!
  • [b]  The  topic of how to keep a healthy diet is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel.
  • [c]   Physical activity is a powerful antidote[9] to stress, anxiety, and feeling down. Look for small ways to add movement to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise per day.
  • [d]  Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. This can be done while exercising, walking home, or socializing.
  • [e]  There are stimulants that may unnaturally make you feel good in the short term, but have long-term negative consequences for mood and emotional health.

Improve mental and emotional health by taking care of yourself

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Do not let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain the balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you will be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.

Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:

  • Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do, can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy.” Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, hiking, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll[10] on mental and emotional health, so it is important to keep it under control. While not all stressors[11] can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive.
  • Make time for contemplation[12] and appreciation[13]. Think about the things you are grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

Everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to

feel better. The important thing is to find out what gives you a boost[14].

 

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: February 2016.

Text handling exercises:

  1. Page 1: Find phrases from the text which are similar in meaning to the following phrases. (They are in the same order as the ones in the text)

stable (adj)

conduct (noun)

recuperate

satisfying

supporting

improving

ability to cope with stress

enthusiasm

handle

symmetry

maximum degree

confronted

 

  1. Page 2: Some pieces of advice have been removed from the text. Which are the five sentences that go in the gaps [a] to [e]? Choose from the box below.
  Get a dose of sunshine every day.

Go on a diet regularly.

Make sure you go to sleep before midnight.

Learn about good nutrition and practice it.

Join a fitness club.

Wear sunscreen whenever you leave the house in daylight.

Get enough rest.

Avoid energy drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.

Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood.

Don’t take drugs.

 

 

  1. Page 3: Find phrases from the text which are opposite in meaning to the following phrases. (They are in the same order as the ones in the text)

undermine

destroy

held in low esteem

ugliness

raise

increase (verb)

instability

undermines

insignificant

unevenly

hazardous

 

 

  1. Whole text: Decide whether each of these statements is true or false according to the text. Justify your choice by underlining the relevant sentence(s) in the text. (The references in the text come up in the same order as the statements below)

 

  1. Being emotionally and mentally fit is based on a generally positive

outlook on life.                                                                                             ______

  1. Self-consciousness and self-esteem are two aspects of psychological

fitness.                                                                                                          ______

  1. If only we are strong enough, we do not really need other people. ______
  2. Being aware of your feelings and moods is more important than

being able to talk about them to someone.                                                ______

  1. Endorphins are released by all kinds of activities except from physical

ones.                                                                                                             ______

  1. Sweets and learning have the same positive effects on people’s

well-being.                                                                                                   ______

  1. What it is that makes you feel good – and therefore has a beneficial

impact on your health – is highly individual.                                              ______

 

 

 

KEY:

Text handling exercises:

  1. Page 1: Find phrases from the text which are similar in meaning to the following phrases. (They are in the same order as the ones in the text)

stable (adj)                                        healthy

conduct (noun)                                  behavior

recuperate                                         recover

satisfying                                           rewarding

supporting                                         benefiting

improving                                          boosting

ability to cope with stress                 resilience

enthusiasm                                        zest

handle                                                deal with

symmetry                                          balance

maximum degree                              maximum degree

confronted                                         faced

 

  1. Page 2: Some pieces of advice have been removed from the text. Which are the five sentences that go in the gaps [a] to [e]? Choose from the box below.
d

b

a

e

c

Get a dose of sunshine every day.

Go on a diet regularly.

Make sure you go to sleep before midnight.

Learn about good nutrition and practice it.

Join a fitness club.

Wear sunscreen whenever you leave the house in daylight.

Get enough rest.

Avoid energy drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs.

Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood.

Don’t take drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Page 3: Find phrases from the text which are opposite in meaning to the following phrases. (They are in the same order as the ones in the text)

undermine                             strengthen

destroy                                   maintain

held in low esteem                valued

ugliness                                  beauty

raise                                       lower

increase (verb)                      reduce

instability                               balance

undermines                            lifts

insignificant                           meaningful

unevenly                                equally

hazardous                              beneficial

 

 

  1. Whole text: Decide whether each of these statements is true or false according to the text.

(They references in the text come up in the same order as the statements below)

 

  1. Being emotionally and mentally fit is based on a generally positive

outlook on life. T

  1. Self-consciousness and self-esteem are two aspects of psychological

fitness. F à self-consciousness ⱡ self-confidence!!

  1. Being aware of your feelings and moods is more important than

being able to talk about them to someone. F

  1. If only we are strong enough, we do not really need other people. F
  2. Endorphins are released by all kinds of activities except from physical

ones. F

  1. Sweets and learning have the same positive effects on people’s

well-being. T

  1. What it is that makes you feel good – and therefore has a beneficial

impact on your health – is highly individual. T

Improving Emotional Health[15]

Strategies and Tips for Good Mental Health

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience[16], and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

What is mental health or emotional health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health is not, however, just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety[17], or other psychological issues. Rather than to the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

People who are mentally and emotionally healthy have:

  • A sense of contentment[18].
  • A zest[19] for living and the ability to laugh and have fun.
  • The ability to deal with stress and bounce back from adversity[20].
  • A sense of meaning and purpose, in both their activities and their relationships.
  • The flexibility to learn new things and adapt to change.
  • A balance between work and play, rest and activity, etc.
  • The ability to build and maintain fulfilling relationships.
  • Self-confidence and high self-esteem.

These positive characteristics of mental and emotional health allow you to participate in life to the fullest extent possible through productive, meaningful activities and strong relationships. These positive characteristics also help you cope when faced with life’s challenges and stresses.

 

The role of resilience in mental and emotional health

Being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. And while these are normal parts of life, they can still cause sadness, anxiety, and stress.

The difference is that people with good emotional health have an ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience. People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused[21], flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good.

One of the key factors in resilience is the ability to balance stress and your emotions. The capacity[22] to recognize your emotions and express them appropriately helps you avoid getting stuck in low spirits, anxiety, or other negative mood states. Another key factor is having a strong support network. Having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will boost your resilience in tough times.

Physical health is connected to mental and emotional health

Taking care of your body is a powerful first step towards mental and emotional health. The mind and the body are linked. When you improve your physical health, you’ll automatically experience greater mental and emotional well-being. For example, exercise not only strengthens our heart and lungs, but also releases endorphins, powerful chemicals that energize us and lift our mood.

The activities you engage in and the daily choices you make affect the way you feel physically and emotionally.

  • [a] Get enough rest. To have good mental and emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body. That includes getting enough sleep. Most people need seven to eight hours of sleep each night in order to function optimally. Younger people need even more!
  • [b] Learn about good nutrition and practice it. The topic of how to keep a healthy diet is complicated and not always easy to put into practice. But the more you learn about what you eat and how it affects your energy and mood, the better you can feel.
  • [c] Exercise to relieve stress and lift your mood. Physical activity is a powerful antidote[23] to stress, anxiety, and feeling down. Look for small ways to add movement to your day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk. To get the most mental health benefits, aim for 30 minutes or more of exercise per day.
  • [d] Get a dose of sunshine every day. Sunlight lifts your mood, so try to get at least 10 to 15 minutes of sun per day. This can be done while exercising, gardening, or socializing.
  • [e] Avoid energy drinks, cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs. There are stimulants that may unnaturally make you feel good in the short term, but have long-term negative consequences for mood and emotional health.

Improve mental and emotional health by taking care of yourself

In order to maintain and strengthen your mental and emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Do not let stress and negative emotions build up. Try to maintain the balance between your daily responsibilities and the things you enjoy. If you take care of yourself, you will be better prepared to deal with challenges if and when they arise.

Taking care of yourself includes pursuing activities that naturally release endorphins and contribute to feeling good. In addition to physical exercise, endorphins are also naturally released when we:

  • Do things that positively impact others. Being useful to others and being valued for what you do, can help build self-esteem.
  • Practice self-discipline. Self-control naturally leads to a sense of hopefulness and can help you overcome despair, helplessness, and other negative thoughts.
  • Learn or discover new things. Think of it as “intellectual candy.” Try taking an adult education class, join a book club, visit a museum, learn a new language, or simply travel somewhere new.
  • Enjoy the beauty of nature or art. Studies show that simply walking through a garden can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. The same goes for strolling through a park or an art gallery, hiking, admiring architecture, or sitting on a beach.
  • Manage your stress levels. Stress takes a heavy toll[24] on mental and emotional health, so it is important to keep it under control. While not all stressors[25] can be avoided, stress management strategies can help you bring things back into balance.
  • Appeal to your senses. Stay calm and energized by appealing to the five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Listen to music that lifts your mood, place flowers where you will see and smell them, massage your hands and feet, or sip a warm drink.
  • Engage in meaningful, creative work. Do things that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive.
  • Make time for contemplation[26] and appreciation[27]. Think about the things you are grateful for. Mediate, pray, enjoy the sunset, or simply take a moment to pay attention to what is good, positive, and beautiful as you go about your day.

Everyone is different; not all things will be equally beneficial to all people. Some people feel better relaxing and slowing down while others need more activity and more excitement or stimulation to feel better. The important thing is to find out what gives you a boost[28].

 

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., Robert Segal, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. Last updated: February 2016.

 

[1] http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/improving-emotional-health.htm  [03-16] – adapted version

[2] resilience                           power of resistance, strength                                         Belastbarkeit, Widerstandskraft

[3] anxiety                                                unrest and fear, often without any obvious reason    Angst, Beklemmung

[4] contentment                      satisfaction, happiness                                                      Zufriedenheit

[5] zest                                      enthusiasm, excitement                                                   Begeisterung, Freude

[6] adversity                            misfortune, ill luck                                                             Widrigkeit, Unglück, Missgeschick

[7] focused               attentive, concentrating on one’s aims          konzentriert, fokussiert

[8] capacity              ability, competency                                           Fähigkeit

[9] antidote              counteragent                                                      Gegenmittel

[10]  take a heavy toll             be burdensome / stressful               schwer belasten, stark strapazieren

[11]  stressor                            stress factor                                         stressverursachende Faktoren

[12] contemplation                  reflection                                             Nachdenken, Sinnieren, seinen Gedanken nachhängen

[13] appreciation                     esteem                                                 Wertschätzung, Gefallen

[14] give a boost                      uplift                                                     Auftrieb geben, Rückgrat stärken

[15] Based on http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/improving-emotional-health.htm [03-16]

[16] resilience                          power of resistance, strength                                         Belastbarkeit, Widerstandskraft

[17] anxiety                              unrest and fear, often without any obvious reason    Angst, Beklemmung

[18] contentment                    satisfaction, happiness                                                      Zufriedenheit

[19] zest                                    enthusiasm, excitement                                                   Begeisterung, Freude

[20] adversity                           misfortune, ill luck                                                             Widrigkeit, Unglück, Missgeschick

[21] focused             attentive, concentrating on one’s aims          konzentriert, fokussiert

[22] capacity             ability, competency                                           Fähigkeit

[23] antidote             counteragent                                                      Gegenmittel

[24]  take a heavy toll             be burdensome / stressful               schwer belasten, stark strapazieren

[25]  stressor                            stress factor                                         stressverursachende Faktoren

[26]  contemplation                 reflection                                             Nachdenken, Sinnieren, seinen Gedanken nachhängen

[27]  appreciation                    esteem                                                 Wertschätzung, Gefallen

[28] give a boost                     uplift                                                     Auftrieb geben, Rückgrat stärken

Hi eVerybodY/ thEy aRe oUr bEst fRiends! wE’d likE tO rEcommenD tHeM:-)

dReam wItH uS

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