You know that feeling of someone looking at you with deep appreciation? Acknowledgment of what you have done for them. Gratitude for you?
If you’re an educator somewhere in the world you certainly should have! Because it’s happening for you right now!
One good thing to come out of this crisis is the universal appreciation for our educators. I hope that you’re feeling this from the parents around the world currently.
Have you noticed? It’s highly likely that if you’re an educator, you haven’t noticed, BECAUSE YOU’RE TOO DARN BUSY!
Many of the teachers we’ve spoken with are just trying to get through each day. Rolling with the daily changes as best they can. There is little time to sit back and savour the appreciation that is universally rolling towards them.
But I hope you do take a moment to be self conscious. To be aware of you. And if not to see our grateful eyes on you, then at least because self awareness, being conscious of your self, could be your best friend right now.
3 reasons why Being Self Conscious could serve you now:
1. To turn off the stress response
It’s pretty normal to be feeling some stress in these times where our fundamental sense of safety is being challenged.
And we know that stress reduces the brains ability to function optimally: when the stress response is switched on, cognitive abilities such as decision making, creative thinking, and memory, are impaired.
In such changing and uncertain times, we need to have our “wits about us”, to be able to best respond with the challenges and tasks we’re faced with. We need to be able to switch off the stress response and regain control of our nervous system and brain functions.
And we have the tools to do this. THIS is the time to be flexing our emotional intelligence ‘muscles’ and implementing the tools we have at our disposal, but the first step is to recognise when we are “in stress”. Once we’ve done this, we can use our tools and skills to take back control of our nervous systems, switch off the fight /flight mechanism and get ourselves back online.
The first step to getting ourselves out of emergency mode and back into thinking and creation mode therefore is self-awareness. To manage our stress response in order that we can function optimally, we need to become conscious of our selves - to be SELF CONSCIOUS .
2. To increase our attention, which increases our wellbeing.
Being self-conscious allows us to break out of subconscious programmes of thinking and feeling, in which we’re often operating, and come back to this moment. To Now. And when we do that again and again, not only are we keeping check of our stress levels but we’re also practicing the skill of attention.
To paraphrase the title of an important paper that was published several years ago by a group of social psychologists at Harvard, “A wandering mind is an unhappy mind.”
Researchers have found that people spend an average of 47 percent of their waking life not paying attention to what they’re doing. William James, often referred to as the founder of modern psychology, said that the ability to voluntarily bring back a wandering attention over and over again is the very root of judgment, character, and will.
When we practice the skill of attending to the present moment, by consciously being aware of how we’re feeling, what’s happening in the body and what thoughts we are thinking, we are strengthening the part of the brain responsible for attention. Science tells us that when we increase our attention, we increase our wellbeing. We are changing the actual neurology of the brain in a way that is wiring us to be healthier and happier.
3. For one-another, and our students.
Being self conscious in order that we can practice being present not only helps ourselves, it also helps those around us. And this is a time where our colleagues, and our students, need us.
We all know the different feeling when someone is really present and listening to us, and when they’re distracted. When we’re truly present with another person, we can feel empathy and compassion for them. And feeling understood, heard, seen, felt, is extremely powerful. It can build trust, relationships, heal wounds and turn off the stress response for the other person.
Our colleagues, friends and of course our students need us more than ever right now. They need us to be ok, calm, confident and there for them. And no matter how we’ve been feeling and thinking about the situation, when we are back in front of our children we can be the security and reassurance they may need in order to navigate their way through these times. We have the skills and tools to be there for them. To be present. To be a stable nervous system for them to emulate when their own may be firing on overdrive.
We can do this by being aware of ourselves. Self Conscious.
So, are you feeling self conscious?
Get in touch and let us know how we can help.
Sally Boardman, BSc(Hons) MPhil(Psych), CEO at Our Thriving Kids, Neurochangesolutions Consultant for Dr Joe Dispenza and Professional Development facilitator for Life Skills Group.