When I asked our group of participants if they knew what the word influence meant, the response was no. So to demonstrate the meaning of influence I had someone stand and try to walk forward representing that she was moving forward with a healthy lifestyle and I represented influence. When I was GOOD influence I pushed my partner lightly on the back and helped her go forward faster more confidently. When I was BAD influence I held my partners arms back to keep her from going forward. She pretended to struggle against me to demonstrate how bad influences can hold you back from a healthy lifestyle. This really helped to demonstrate the meaning of influence to our group and was a visual that they continued bringing up in future lessons. As we worked together to complete the participant hand out I kept going back to that example to explain what influence meant. The next part of the discussion involved what internal or external influences were. Our group came up with some fantastic examples that went above and beyond the curriculum examples and are shared below:
Internal Influences – self-esteem, self-image, feeling good, how you think of yourself
External Influences – shopping (how clothing doesn’t fit and it makes us feel bad), culture (how we were raised or what we traditionally eat or do for activity), media (TV, movies, games, magazines), family/friends, enemies (people who are jealous or talk negatively about us and make us feel bad – we are sometimes our own worst enemies when we talk bad to ourselves saying that we can’t do something or aren’t good at certain things)
For our group this was really a fantastic discussion where everyone had an idea or example to share and they felt validated by others who could relate. I would really encourage you to explore thoughts and feelings on what motivates and holds us back from being successful – especially as it pertains to individual healthy lifestyle goals.