Last Updated: Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Positive thoughts – third and fourth level

What is this?

Ideas to support you to design a learning activity to support young people to consider their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and choices. Young people will develop their own strategies to improve their emotional awareness.

CfE Experiences and Outcomes: third and fourth level

  • I understand the importance of mental wellbeing and that this can be fostered and strengthened through personal coping skills and positive relationships. I know that it is not always possible to enjoy good mental health and that if this happens there is support available. HWB 3-06a / HWB 4-06a
  • I am learning skills and strategies which will support me in challenging times, particularly in relation to change and loss. HWB 3-07a / HWB 4-07a

Purpose of the activity

  • Young people will be encouraged to develop their emotional awareness by considering their thoughts, feelings, behaviours and choices.
  • This activity can be adapted for use at home, if young people are learning remotely.

Learning activity

  • Healthier Minds is East Renfrewshire’s guide to promote the mental wellbeing of our children and young people.
  • Young people can develop their emotional awareness by paying more attention to their thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and by looking at the connections between these. If we challenge our thoughts, we can sometimes break a negative cycle. Being able to identify whether our thoughts are unhelpful or helpful is very useful.
  • Follow the link to changing thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Encourage young people to look at the examples of ‘thinking errors’ and think of times when they can recognise this in themselves. What were their unhelpful thoughts at the time?
  • The following questions will help young people challenge negative thoughts and to try and make their thoughts more balanced:
    • Is this thought helpful to me?
    • What is the evidence for and against this thought?
    • What kind of ‘thinking error’ could it be?
    • What would you say to a friend in the same situation if they were thinking this?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of thinking in this way?
    • Is there another way of looking at the situation?
    • How important is this thought? How will you feel about this in 6 weeks?
    • What thought could I replace this with that would be more helpful?
  • Young people could list their unhelpful thoughts, as in the example, and write down their helpful thoughts beside them.
  • The ‘helpful’ thoughts are more realistic and will make challenges easier to handle. Being able to change unhelpful thoughts can therefore be a good coping strategy and stop you feeling so anxious.
  • Show the clip ‘Resilience: Increase your inner strength’ and ask young people to consider what choices they have made previously which impacted negatively on their lives. What could they do differently if faced with the same situation again?
  • Inky Johnson's story leaves us not only motivated and inspired, but also with a great life lesson. His resilience and courage helped him find his life's purpose, even when it seemed that everything he had planned was falling apart.

Extension activity

  • Watch the clip 6 steps to building resilience
  • Ask young people to consider when they have previously put into practice any of the six steps. How could this make a difference to them in the future?

National Benchmarks

  • There are no Benchmarks relating to this aspect of health and wellbeing.

Possible approach to assessing learning

  • In these activities, you could ask young people to self-reflect on how they can turn negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • When planning approaches to assessment, you may wish to consider the latest guidance published by Education Scotland.
  • If young people are working remotely, receiving examples of learning at home will help you to understand how they are managing the tasks you have set and enable you to provide feedback.
  • Some young people may want to upload photos or a record of their work to their online learning journal or online learning space on Google classroom or Microsoft Teams. This will give you the opportunity to provide feedback and next steps.