Friday, 30 September 2016

Stories - and emotional well-being

There is plenty of evidence from the findings of research that tells us that children and young people benefit in many ways from being taught relaxation, calming techniques and how to be "mindful".

Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment. Not trying to suppress thoughts or ignore emotions but to "just be" and accept whatever thoughts and feelings we might be having. It is a form of meditation. 

Learning how to meditate isn't an arduous or boring activity for children. Children are naturally mindful and, given the time and opportunity, can benefit physically, emotionally, cognitively, intellectually and socially from learning how to incorporate moments of calm, or how to respond or deal with stressful moments in a healthy way.

Brain imaging scans of adults have shown changes in brain patterns and responses in people who meditate or practice mindfulness. Improvements in concentration, ability to be resilient, handle stress, learn, focus etc are all linked to these changes.

Two sources that discuss and explain this in more detail are:


So we can conclude that knowing how to stop, be calm and "just be" and developing the ability to step back and respond in better ways to stress or difficult moments is a good and healthy thing for both adults and children.

(c) Karl Newson
Stories of the Story Therapy variety have a contribution to promoting this sense of calmer well-being in children too. The right stories can be healing, nurturing and inspiring. They can help children open up about how they are feeling or, through the characters and storylines, see that they are not alone. They can help children develop empathy and compassion and understanding of others. Other types of story can help develop imaginations, and fun interactive story-lines and role playing enable children to step out of their lives momentarily and experience adventures or different situations as they pretend to be someone/something else or elsewhere absorbing calming and emotionally strengthening lessons or life skills along the way.

A simple story that introduces children to relaxation or meditation is a great way to enable a child to calm down or feel relaxed. Such stories can be shared on a one to one basis with a child or with a group of children too: a kind of story time with added benefit.

Audio stories set to fun and calming music are also great for groups of children. Visualisation or interactive type stories invite children to act out the story - or simply listen and imagine.

Listen here:

Story Therapy series is a collection of stories, books, print/audio/CD that offer stories that nurture, inspire and heal. There is something in the collection suitable for children from preschool age up to twelves (guide only) and they can be used with a child or children at home, with groups or by play therapists, counsellors etc working with children.

Check out the series here