♥ Special gift at the end of this post ♥
How our minds work
You all know that I love learning about how our minds work. As someone who is naturally anxious, it fascinates me to see how each of us view situations in different ways.
If we take teaching as an example, I am sure you all know someone who reacts differently to events and situations. I know quite a lot of teachers who are lot more laid back than me. They seem to be able to deal with the unprepared at any time, no matter what they are doing. Alternatively, I know a lot of teachers who become incredibly stressed about situations which don’t bother me.
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of universal issues in teaching that we all agree on and which we can know needs to change. However, I am talking about you, the teacher not the job. Why is that we all have different pressure points? The reason I ask this is that if we can understand why then maybe just maybe we can stop reacting with the same stress response.
We all know that stress isn’t good for us; body or mind. Most of us don’t know however, that our bodies do not recognise when something is real or imaginary. When we are reliving a particularly stressful event from the past or worrying about a future event, our bodies reacts as though it is happening right now and acts accordingly to protect us. Namely producing high levels of adrenaline and cortisol which (if we were in a life / death situation) would give us that extra kick that we would need to increase our chances of survival. However, when we are constantly stressed, this constant increase in hormones means our body doesn’t function correctly, negatively affecting our digestion system and our immune system, especially. This, in turn, means that we usually end up feeling ill. It also has a lasting negative impact on our overall health. (Read The Telomere Effect)
Questioning your reactions
Most us don’t question the responses we have to situations. It is just the way it is. How many times have you blamed other people and situations for your own feelings and emotions? I have definitely been guilty of this and I think it is especially easy to do in teaching. It is a tough job and there are people out there who do seem to be making our job even more difficult for us.
However, what if I told you that you have a responsibility for your own happiness and reactions? That you are never going to be satisfied with anything if you are constantly looking to external factors to provide it for you. The way we view things is everything! It affects our thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions.
Now, before you start yelling at me, telling me that there are real issues within teaching that need to be changed, I completely agree. However, my aim here is to show you that despite what is happening in the world around you, you are the only one who gets to choose how you react to it. For the sake of your health, you owe it to yourself to at least think about how you are reacting to things around you. Are you giving all of the control in your life to a school, a policy, the government? Are they in control of your happiness, your state of mind, you mental and physical health?
Take for instance, marking. They could introduce a policy tomorrow that eradicates marking from our workload. At the beginning, it would be like winning the lottery. The job will feel much easier to manage and you will feel happy because things have changed for the better. However, because you are working on autopilot and are hardwired to react the way you do, I guarantee that there will be something else, before too long, which replaces the marking issue and you are suddenly back to square one, feeling stressed and angry.
Why is this important?
Why am I ranting on about this? Because I have been there. I have experienced real low points in my teaching career and not once did I look within. I blamed other people and situations constantly. It felt good at the time and I had lots of colleagues and friends sympathise with my situation. It is so easy to do isn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, there were things that were wrong and could have been done in a better way. However, constantly getting stressed, annoyed and damn right p****ed off with other people and situations, I made myself so ill that I ended up having extended time off work and health complications.
I read a lot, I researched the brain and how it works, read studies on the power of gratitude, visualisation and meditation! Yes I know! I thought it was too ‘out there’ and way too ‘woo woo’ and it was tough opening my mind to different ways forward. Over time and a lot of practice, I realised that the only person who can provide my joy and happiness even my job satisfaction, was me.
It was not an overnight change. After all my brain had had a long time to create short cuts. It had done such a good job that, to begin with I wasn’t even consciously aware of how or why I reacted to different things and situations in the way I did.
I now make time for reflection which I do in the form of writing in my journal, writing down all of the things of which I am grateful. In addition, I choose to spend time visualising and meditating. I am much more self-aware than I ever was and I am starting to re-wire my brain. As a result, both my anxiety and my physical health have improved despite continuing to be a teacher.
At the end of every day, I look at how I can find my own happiness, a happiness that doesn’t come from anything out there but from everything in me. I will never give the control over to external factors again.
What I hope you can take from this
At the very least, I hope this has got you thinking about how you view situations. How you react to things in your environment. How much control you give your external environment. Maybe it might even encourage you to think about how your mind and body are linked. That a healthy mind is a healthy body and vice versa.
Interested in more?
If you are interested in learning more about how I made the changes then please click the link HERE to read more about my journal ‘The Fear Fighter’s Journal’ where you can pre-order it at a reduced price until the 26th November 2018.
If you would like to receive a FREE copy of the journal then please join my Facebook group HERE and tell me why you would like a copy. I will pick a winner on Monday 26th November 2018.
Until the next time,