How often and how easily do you experience overload?
Let’s consider the teaching profession and if it is any different than other caring professions or workplace. In conversation with Dr Rani Bora, an NHS psychiatrist, also a Three Principles coach, we share the constructs of workplace stress. In her book entitled “How to Turn Stress on its Head” Rani shares an inner view of stress – beyond the concept of information, before information signals wire our brains into alert and overload. Rani writes:
“Too many people are stressed and anxious these days. Staff burnout from stress is a well-recognised problem, and stress is one of the leading causes of health problems in the workplace. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has defined stress as:
“The reaction people have to excessive demands or pressures, arising when people try to cope with tasks, responsibilities or other types of pressure connected with their job, but find difficulty, strain or worry in doing so”.
How can we support ourselves? Where is the hope of something different?
A Simple Understanding for You
Why is it that sometimes we experience stress and overload at work and at other times we don’t? Why is the feeling of Friday afternoon so different than Monday morning (or even earlier on Sunday)?
The one and only variable between the two experiences – is our own thinking in the moment.
All pain and suffering is connected to our mind, our psychology, and it begins with one small thought.
Our feelings indicate what we are creating – they show us the quality of our thinking. It is true that we each live in a separate reality created by thought in the moment. This means that we create all our experiences from joy, to worry, to stress. All of them.
Dr Bill Pettit, a senior psychiatrist, says, “All mental illness begins with one small negative thought at a time. The body’s stress response is supposed to last 3 minutes. Some of us hold on to negative thinking and stay in the fight or flight zone far longer than necessary.” In teaching, that can be terms at a time, leading to a sense of overload.
Don't take your thinking seriously!
When we see that worry and stress are not caused by external factors, but totally by our own thinking – we have hope! These days I try to remember not to take my own thinking seriously if I feel its negative.
I recently experienced some very emotional personal difficulties out of the blue, whilst I was in the receiving centre of the emotional storm outburst I heard and saw happen, I managed to distance myself. How? I knew I was in a very neutral space and that the storm was not mine. I know it was the other person’s ‘stinking thinking’ or what Dr Bill calls their ‘psychological innocence’ created by them, aimed at blaming me and I didn’t need to engage.
I chose to settle away from further emotional entanglement to withdraw to a place of quiet. In time fresh, new thought, neutral and far less negative arrives. From this space of clarity – I know what to do next. I am not stressed because I am in tune with my well being.
A settled, calm mind can access all the mental resources the mind must offer, with grace and ease.
Which in turn brings me around to teachers, or any stressed workforce. It must seem as if you are desperately holding hundreds of beach balls under the water and you can’t keep it up
It really is simple, don’t try to push down the beach balls or push through your stress, you are only increasing the pressure on you.
Find a place, in your own mind… or wherever settles you and let go or be quiet. Simply being and letting go. I found great relief understanding that stress is not caused by anything other than my own negative thinking. Now that’s something inside me that I can manage!
A clear mind is always our natural state.