social-emotional learning

What Is Social-Emotional Learning?

In recent years, the concept of social-emotional learning, or SEL, has become somewhat of a buzzword, in both the education and therapy sectors. SEL is a lifelong process that describes your ability to learn, teach others and positively contribute to your life and the lives of those around you.

Research on how we learn has uncovered a connection between SEL and the formation of skills like creating healthy peer relationships, responsible decision-making, self-regulation and social awareness.

The Five Competencies of SEL

One of the most prominent frameworks for defining social-emotional learning comes to us from an organization called the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, or CASEL. CASEL has identified five core competencies that characterize SEL.

1. Self-Awareness

Self-awareness refers to your ability to distinguish and understand your emotions and how they translate into your behavior. These include identifying stress and other negative emotions and your awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. 

2. Self-Management

Self-management takes self-awareness one rung deeper into the ability to process your feelings and behaviors. This core competency can include managing anger and stress, as well as remaining motivated to succeed in the face of hurdles.

3. Social Awareness

Social awareness encompasses the willingness to appreciate and empathize with others’ unique experiences and actions.

4. Relationship Skills

The fourth component of SEL refers to building and maintaining healthy relationships through collaboration, demonstrating active listening skills, resolving conflicts and communicating honestly with others.

5. Responsible Decision-Making

This final element pertains to the ability to make safe, positive choices that benefit yourself and others. 

The Link Between Social-Emotional Learning and Mental Health

Studies on the effectiveness of SEL have demonstrated a measurable connection between people who learn social-emotional learning skills early in childhood and the ability to build healthy coping strategies and be more socially and emotionally resilient in the face of life’s challenges. 

The evidence also suggests that those who hone SEL proficiency as children are less likely to struggle with mental health challenges and substance misuse issues in adolescence and adulthood, and more likely to develop into caring, understanding and empathetic adults.  

Research indicates that the development of social-emotional skills in kindergarten leads to a higher likelihood of obtaining a college degree and going on to successful adult employment, and lessens the chances that someone will experience emotional turmoil or encounter trouble with the law as an adult. 

Growing and Thriving Despite Difficulties

If you are struggling with psychiatric issues such as anxiety, depression, mood disorders, trauma and PTSD, or if someone in your life is having difficulties, life doesn’t have to be this way. Reach out to us at Serene Behavioral Health today. We offer four levels of personalized care for adults aged 18 and over who need help from highly trained medical professionals. 

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