Student’s Mental Health

The Importance of Brain Breaks!

Students Mental Health

Franchesca Adames, Staff Writer

It is estimated that, among children under the age of 18 in the United States, approximately 16.5 percent had at least one mental health disorder. Only about half with mental health problems receive the treatment they need and 70% of mental health conditions that appear in children/ adolescents can be addressed with early intervention. Steps we can take to further promote mental health awareness are promoting positive self-esteem, providing safe outlets to manage anxiety, and offering other mental health resources. Enforcing brain breaks for young students will improve their performance in their schooling because mental health problems greatly affect their academic performance and success. Poor mental health contributes to a lack of motivation, problems with focusing on work, and chronic stress has even been linked to higher risks of strokes, heart attacks, and more. While mental health is linked to your brain it can affect your entire well-being.
You may be asking, “Why brain breaks? Why not just tell students to go to their parents or counselors to seek help?” One way to answer that would be that many students don’t feel comfortable going to others for such personal matters. I asked a student at LHA, “Do you believe we should prioritize mental health at young ages?” to which they replied, “I believe that students should prioritize mental health from a young age. In this society, issues with self-esteem are prominent because of the idolization of certain standards (whether appearances, attitudes, etc.), which are more accessible through mobilized (i.e. phone) social media. As young kids, we are developing our values and mindset, and thus, susceptible to peer pressure/expectations that attempt to manipulate it.” If you don’t know what brain breaks are specifically then to describe them in simpler terms, they have planned learning activity shifts that mobilize different networks of the brain.
Brain Breaks can involve physical activity, mindfulness exercises, and/ or sensory activities. These can include brain teasers, physical activities like quick exercises, etc. They aren’t just downtime for students to be off task, they are breaks for students to deviate from the subject for a short period of time and collect themselves while also improving student behavior and their focusing skills. A thesis written by Meghan M. Barker states, “After five weeks of intervention, students in the treatment group displayed a decrease in instances of off-task behavior. It was concluded that brain breaks do improve student focus and behavior…” Many other studies can state the same fact that taking breaks can improve not only students’ lack of focus, but also improve mental stability. Try to give your students or yourself 10-15 minute breaks and watch how well your/their mind improves, I guarantee you’ll feel refreshed for longer periods of time!