Evidence That It Works
A study with a diverse group of teens discovered that adolescents who were taught the belief that people have the ability to change lessened their social stress, helping them to cope better, to keep their bodies calmer, and to do better in school–as much as seven months later.
Why Does It Matter?
The way students view social challenges at school can dramatically affect the levels of stress they experience in their body, their thoughts, feelings, behaviors—and even their grades. If they believe that they (and their peers) have the capacity to change, then it’s more likely that they will see social struggles (like being bullied or excluded) as changeable and surmountable too.
It’s crucial for young adolescents to realize that they are not helpless; they can grow and adapt, and the peer who is challenging them can change, too. Things can get better. This perspective releases some of the pressure they might feel, and then they can think more clearly about a social problem as a challenge to solve rather than a threat to fear.