Meditation And Mindfulness – Essential Guide For Educators
Teaching is as stressful as it is fulfilling. Having to share your knowledge and information with multiple people of any age range can be tiring. And since our mental health often don’t get as much attention, stress usually causes different physical, psychological, and emotional issues for teachers.
Grooming college writers and other educators who need to handle challenging tasks on and off their working hours can feel naturally overwhelmed. Over the decades, research has shown that tutors’ stress levels have spiked due to increased workload. Although there are many ways to manage stress, meditation and mindfulness are among the most effective ones. Some people like Asian monks, Indian Gurus and Western yoga enthusiasts are even known for their focus on meditation. But apart from what we know from old Jet Li movies, what exactly are meditation and mindfulness, and how do they help educators?
What is meditation?
Meditation is any activity that helps you focus, control your attention and improve your awareness. While meditating, you decide what your mind dwells on and are in total control of your body. The practice can help you feel calm internally even if storms rage around you. It is a handy tool in your arsenal if you tutor teens who are notoriously challenging to keep in check.
What about mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a practice that entails focusing on the present and acknowledging whatever is happening at any moment without passing judgments. One effective way to maintain this grip on your mind is to focus on your breath or the sounds around you. This practice sounds straightforward until you try it and find out that the human mind loves to wander. Mastering concentration is one of the perks of regular meditation and mindfulness. As a teacher, you need to always remain focused because your students can tell when you are distracted. Learning to direct your attention to a specific thing has many upsides. It helps you focus more on the present and not drift into sad reflection or hopeful daydreams.
Mindfulness and meditation are not exercises that you can learn in a matter of hours. You can read many articles and books on them, but you will not progress if you don’t practice. You may ask how educators can find time to practice mindfulness daily since they are often busier than a bee on Wall Street.
Consider trying these techniques:
1. Moments of appreciation
This technique aims to help you become mindful of what is happening in the present. Start by choosing a signal that will remind you to pause and take in all that’s happening around you. You can pay attention to the sound of the bell after each class. Whenever you hear it, take it as a signal reminding you to notice and appreciate all that is happening around you at the moment. You can go about this awareness silently in your mind or say what you notice aloud.
Genuinely appreciating the tiny details in life can help you relax. There is more to living than teaching youngsters to become good writers, mathematics, etc. The best moments in our memories are always laced with appreciation. Below is a step-by-step outline of what to do when practicing moments of appreciation:
- Take the spotlight away from everything around you and focus on your breathing.
- Take slow, deep breaths and exhale at the same pace. Keep your mind focused on how your chest expands and contracts to facilitate breathing.
- Feel for tense areas in your body like raised eyebrows, clenched fists, etc. If you notice tensions, try to redirect your breath to that part of your body. Do this by imagining your breath traveling to that part of your body and easing the tightness there.
- Exhale to return to the present.
- To conclude this exercise, reinforce your thoughts with positive affirmations, such as “I’ve got this” and “I can do this.”
2. Mindful breathing
Mindful breathing is a technique many people start with on their meditation journey. This practice requires that you focus entirely on your breath for a short or long period. During your meditation, try to go somewhere with zero distractions. Find a quiet spot, sit (or lie) down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Your posture doesn’t matter as long as there are no distractions for the exercise’s duration.
While lying down, see your attention as a tool that you can direct to anywhere you want it to be. Channel that tool to wherever you feel your breathing is coming from. Don’t try to change your breathing pattern; just observe it and let it flow freely. If you notice that your mind wanders during meditation, don’t judge yourself too harshly. You can try counting each breathing cycle, noting how often you exhaled and inhaled in a given time frame.
Benefits of mindfulness and meditation
- These practices help relieve work-related stress
- Meditation can help you achieve clarity in different aspects of your professional and personal life
- Meditation plays a role in reducing high blood pressure and the risks of heart diseases
- Mindfulness helps you develop a less critical attitude towards life
- Mindfulness can improve your communication skills, thus making you a more relatable teacher
Meditation and mindfulness aren’t some foreign practices reserved for Shaolin monks; they apply to everybody. And if you are an educator carrying the weight of the world, you need to meditate twice as much.
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