Teacher uncovers mental health


Credit: Grace Lucas

Keeping yourself mentally well is a key factor in maintaining a healthy body. Health teacher Brian Grout talks about some ways to keep yourself mentally healthy throughout school and your personal life.

One of the things Grout goes over is ways to deal with losses. No matter what the loss is, whether it is a friend, a family member or a pet, dealing with it is always hard. Grout mentioned that grief is a normal part of the process and that every loss is unique.

“I think what a lot of people are afraid to do is to ask for help” Grout said. “It could be something really small like asking a friend or family member for extra support or something as big as finding a therapist or a counselor.”

Grout believes that asking for help is something students should always remember to do when going through anything upsetting. When Grout teaches mental health as a course, Grout makes sure to share important tips with his students.

“Having emotions is normal and fine. Being sad or having lows, being upset, being angry and being happy; emotions are okay and everyone has emotions.” Grout said. “Handling your emotions is what is really important and making wise choices when you are emotional is really important as well.”

A healthy mindset is needed to get through life. Trying to figure out how to manage life through school, home and friends or anything causing stress or making you upset can be very difficult for some people. One thing that is important is to relax and to have an established support system.

“Know who you can go to,” Grout said. “There is a lot students can do to support themselves.”

Sophomore health class provides students with tools to help deal with stress. Making lists of things to do then prioritizing them in a ‘need to do, could do and kind of need to do’ order is something that can help with homework. Staying calm during school is important as well.

According to Grout, practicing breathing exercises is a good way to relieve stress. Breathing exercises can be as simple as just taking deep breaths and exhaling slowly or as organized as the “4-7-8” breathing exercise. The “4-7-8” is also known as the “The Relaxing Breath” as it is meant to help people calm down and relax.

According to the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine people need to complete a five-step process in order to relax and relieve stress. Step one is to exhale completely, making a ‘woosh’ sound with your mouth. Step two is to keep one’s mouth closed and silently inhale through your nose for four seconds.

Step three is to hold one’s breath for seven seconds. Step four is to exhale through your mouth for a total of eight seconds, again making “woosh” sound. Repeat the process two to three more times to complete the technique, if the exercise is done correctly one should feel more relaxed.

Preparing for a test can cause a lot of stress on students; all of the information you have learned over the course of one to three weeks crammed into one test that has the power to make or break your current grade. Studying is essential when it comes to school. There are a number of things one can do to help with studying and each person is different. One method will help a student ace a test while the same method will not help a student at all.

Something that will make studying easier is having the surrounding area clean. Try clearing off the location you are studying on whether it is a desk, bed or floor.

Turn off or unplug any electronics, even the sound of static can distract one’s subconscious.

“Put the phone down and [turn] the TV off for a second,” Grout said.

Another thing to do while trying to pass is finding ways to relieve and understand stress. Managing time wisely and efficiently goes along with that.

“Think about what questions are going to be on the test and how you are going to answer them, so mentally prepare and think about it [the test],” Grout said.

Studying hard also means needing to take a break sometimes. Studying too hard for too long can make it harder to pass a test because brains cannot obtain too much information in a short period of time. Taking a few minutes to let the brain relax is something one needs to do when studying.

“Laughter is really good and that is what the internet is great for,” Grout said. “You can YouTube whatever videos you find funny; whether it is a comic, or it is animals being funny, whether it is kids being funny. You can YouTube a lot of things that will make you laugh.”

The mind and body are both very important components of health. If you do not have a healthy mind, you do not have a healthy body. Keeping up with mental wellness is something just as important as physical health.

“It all goes back to what support you have and reaching out and utilizing your support system,” Grout said.