Welcome to Day 2 of Scottish Children’s Health Week 2022! We came up with three #BeBrave Tuesday ideas for you to try which include drawing a brave character and getting inspired to be brave.
Perhaps one of the bravest things you can do, if you are struggling with a health condition, is to find the strength to keep pushing forward. We work closely with Hands On so for #BeBrave Tuesday, who provided us with an activity where you grow your own confidence tree. This activity involves drawing and colouring in your own tree and using it to focus on things that you are already confident in and ways to improve your confidence in future. It’s a really nice way to reflect how far you’ve come and how much you want to grow in the future. It’s sure to leave you feeling strong and brave. Head over to our SCHW 2022 Activity Book to find a full week’s worth of fun and play.
Our Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Service have blog post for you below which is all about the adventures of Super-Bear on a mission to help children and young people feel more brave and confident. We hope you enjoy!
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s Super-Bear!
Do you want a super boost of inspiration? Do you want to #BeMoreBear and have the motivation to fly high? Look no further! Bear and his superhero power poses are here to save the day!
“I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” –Superman
The Children and Young People’s Health and Wellbeing Service is one of the three branches of Children’s Health Scotland.
The origins of our service started around 2003 when we listened to what young people and their families needed in relation to health and wellbeing. In 2010 we ran our first pilot programme and over the years we have continued to change and develop based on what young people and their families say they need.
We focus on supporting Children and Young People with developing skills in self-management.
Within our service we currently have 4 programs which each run for 6 weeks and are all based on self-management.
Self-management means improving the relationship you have with your health and wellbeing and building your confidence and self-esteem. We support children and young people to access information in a fun and interactive way, developing skills to cope with their health conditions and to meet other young people living with similar challenges.
Our SMS:Face to Face programme runs in person in Edinburgh whereas our SMS:CONNECT was created over lockdown and runs online. We also have SMS: Why Weight which is run in partnership with NHS Forth Valley. Our final programme is the SMS:HUB which is a monthly meet up for those who have completed one of our programs.
Self-Management does not focus on managing a specific health condition but rather it empowers young people to manage their own health and wellbeing. With the mention of empowerment, it brings us to the main theme of this blog: Raising confidence and self-esteem through power posing.
So many of us love superhero stories because we can relate to the problems that superheroes face. We see a role model and a source of inspiration. In a recent SMS: HUB session we encouraged our children and young people to take a step back and imagine themselves as a superhero.
This activity aimed to inspire confidence in our young people as well as encourage them to consider who they are now, and who they want to be.
We asked the group to first draw themselves as they are now, as a Clark Kent figure, rather than as a Superman. This allowed the group to consider the present and all that they currently have or are. The next step, to draw themselves as a superhero of their own creation. During this part of the activity, we discussed what superpowers they would love to have.
“Teleporting would be a good power, so you don’t have to use all your energy travelling”
Many of our young people felt that having superpowers would help with their daily struggles. As above, if you could teleport rather than use public transport, walk or drive then your energy could be used in other ways. In fact, energy was a big topic of conversation in the group. What powers might be tiring, which powers would be good but only if they didn’t use a lot of energy. Which brought the conversation to powers the group would not want to have.
“I wouldn’t want to read minds because I already worry about what people think of me, I wouldn’t want to hear it.”
“I think being invisible would be quite lonely”
Our young people were able to think critically about the task and discuss what might otherwise have been difficult topics in a safe and supportive environment. This is one of our overall aims of the HUB and it was absolutely super to see so many of our young people not only enjoying the activity, but also opening up to the group.
What child, what person, hasn’t dreamt of waking up one day with magical, superpowered abilities? Let us take a moment to ask ourselves why? Superheroes have a hard job; they fight crime, they keep the world safe, their job is never done. Perhaps we crave their abilities, to be able to fly, to lift buildings, or even teleport. Or, the more likely reason, we look at superheroes and we see their confidence, their bravery, we see how they tackle their problems head on, and if they fail, they try again.
Unfortunately, most of us, are not superheroes, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have their confidence! Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows through scientific research that “power posing,” or holding a position that projects confidence even when you don’t actually feel that way, can have a super impact on your wellbeing in that moment!
So, what actually is a power pose? A power pose is the way you move or hold your body. It can make you feel different emotions. By holding our heads high and allowing our bodies to take up space rather than shrinking in on ourselves we can influence our hormones and reduce stress. A power pose might involve raising or opening your arms, moving your hands away from your body or taking up the space you need (envision Wonder Woman).
Here at Children’s Health Scotland, many of the children and young people we work with express a desire to be more confident. In our last SMS Face to Face programme, we gave power poses a go and this is how it went:
We began by discussing what self-esteem and confidence mean, so that we could begin to understand how power poses can help with these areas.
Self-esteem is how you think and feel about yourself. It’s about feeling confident in yourself, liking who you are, and believing that the things you are good at and the things you care about, are important.
Self-esteem and confidence aren’t things that we either have or don’t have. There are more like a scale ranging from low to high. Once we understand the scale, we realise that we can move up and down over the course of our lives, over the course of a day or even a week! It can depend on what situation you in – it might be higher when you’re with family, but lower at school, or depending on what activity you are doing.
There are so many things that affect how we feel about ourselves. Some of these things are what we call internal factors and external factors. Internal factors can be things like genetics, personality, emotions, the way our brain works. Some of this is not within our control, but some of it is. External factors are things such as what is happening in the world around us, social media, COVID, school friendships and health conditions.
Here, we introduced the idea of power posing!
We asked the group to find a space and take up as much room as they needed. Once everyone was in position, the magic began with the wonder woman pose!
The group stood or sat strong with their feet apart and firmly on the ground. They made fists with their hands and placed both hands on their hips, pushing their shoulders and chin up.
While holding this pose, we asked the group to focus on their breathing, to take a mindful moment and step back from any worries they may have had. We held this position for around two minutes and encouraged the use of affirmations: This meant using the voice in their head to say positive, or nice, things to themselves. Over time, if we try to think positively, it can help us to move on from the negative thoughts and believe in ourselves more, to feel happier and increase confidence.
While practicing our power poses, the atmosphere in the room seemed to change. By focusing on ourselves and taking up space, you could feel the group’s confidence growing, even if only for a moment. When we released our poses and returned to our natural postures, the group let out a collective, and relaxed breath, signalling a return to the day, but perhaps returning a little lighter than they left.
At the end of the session, we recapped on our day and paid close attention to reflecting on the power poses. The group expressed their desire to share what they had learned about confidence, self-esteem and power poses with their families and practice more at home. Building your confidence can take time but taking small steps can often lead to a big change.