Myself & Me – is a social business set up by me, Bernadette Speight. I am an experienced coach and mindfulness teacher previously working with adults who have had extremely tough lives. Working with troubled adults taught me how much their lack of self-esteem ran very deep and held them back, impacting every aspect of their lives. As you can imagine this was challenging work.
In 2012 I was invited to work with a group of children aged 9-11 who were struggling at school and realised that I could make more of a difference by working with children to build their self- esteem before negative thinking becomes too ingrained. The brain is amazing, but can easily develop the habit of accepting negative thoughts automatically, especially when young while the brain is still developing. Once children believe they are not good at something, that ‘belief’ can easily be transferred to other aspects of life or learning. Myself and me sessions include teaching the children mindfulness and how their brains work and how we are sometimes actually tricked ‘unconsciously’ into believing something that is not fact. Subsequently, they are then encouraged and guided to be curious and question their understanding before accepting things as fact. Through this curiosity and practice of mindfulness they achieve a more positive self image, this in turn promotes a sense of well-being; something we are all striving for in today’s stressful world.
I´ve tested and proven that when we teach children mindfulness practices they are able to build up their own inner resources. They will then handle the emotional up’s and down’s that we all experience at different stages and times during a life, much better. They no-longer get caught up in their thoughts and emotions, they learn compassion for self and others. This enables and promotes better quality relationships with their families, peers and teachers.
By encouraging the children to interact with my lessons I developed and produce some effective affirmation coaching cards; which, if used as directed, will help instil a sense of self valuing and improving self esteem, leading to an increase in self confidence etc. This first pack of cards was designed around the children´s main priorities; “being safe, being loved, being kind” – additional cards were then focused on “accepting, loving and caring for oneself, being happy to be themselves, being the right age right now, and having courage and an ‘I can do it’ attitude”.
The children began using the affirmation cards in May and by July the school, the children and their parents recognised significant improvements in the attitude and behaviour of the individuals in my group, not only about themselves but towards others too. The Headteacher said that all of them showed improvements with some achieving much higher levels in SAT’s tests than had been predicted.
Myself and Me plan to publish more affirmation cards as well as storybooks and teacher’s lesson plan packages. I intend to see this ‘coaching and mindfulness’ approach used in every school for the benefit of all