A lesson on thinking differently with … Dr Alex George

Primary Times gets some insights from Dr Alex about the importance of encouraging children to take charge of their mental wellness.

Dr Alex George is known and loved by many for his honest and approachable take on how we should all care for our mental health. He’s currently the government-appointed Youth Mental Health Ambassador, which means it’s his job to help shape children’s mental health education and support in schools. Now he has written his first book for children, A Better Day, which was created to be a positive and practical guide for children to learn how they can care for their mental wellbeing with confidence.

The book covers all kinds of relevant and helpful topics for children aged 9-11, arming them with the skills they’ll need to deal with everything from peer pressure to exam stress, online bullying and anxiety.

Dr. Alex shares his thoughts about why he wrote this fantastic book…

“It’s easy to think of mental health in terms of just problems, or something that needs to be fixed. I want us to think differently. It’s not all about people looking sad with a rain cloud looming over their heads. It’s also about feeling happy, relaxed and able to deal with any situation life throws at us. Mental health can mean lots of things, and by learning to connect with what’s going on inside our minds, we can turn it into a force for good.

As the Youth Mental Health Ambassador appointed by the Prime Minister, I’m determined to make a change for the better. None of us are born with an instruction manual that shows how to keep our minds in good shape. We have to get to grips with it as we grow up, and that can be challenging. At the same time, I learned from experience that we don’t have to do this alone. Help and advice is always out there for us all, and not just for those moments when we’re finding life tough. I passionately believe that the sooner we make sense of our thoughts and feelings, the better equipped we’ll be to make the most of our lives, which is why I’ve written A Better Day. I want to make mental wellness something to celebrate.”

Dr Alex’s book isn’t just about reading good advice, it’s filled with practical exercises too!

Breathing Exercise

Some people find that breathing exercises help to ease the symptoms of anxiety. This is because when you breathe deeply, it increases your oxygen levels and sends a message to your brain that tells it to relax. Breathing exercises don’t take very long and even better they can be done anywhere. Here is one you can try:

1. With relaxed shoulders and your head upright, breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose.

2. Feel your lungs filling with air, then breathe out slowly through the mouth.

3. Purse your lips to be sure the air leaves nice and gently.

4. Repeat the process for a minute, or until you feel a sense of calm return.

A Better Day, Your Positive Mental Health Handbook is available to buy now on paperback for £9.99.

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