Tuesday, 5 February 2008

More on mindfulness

The challenge I am setting myself at the moment is to focus on whatever situation I am actually in. I have a tendency to flit, in thoughts and actions. Sometimes it is called multitasking, and sometimes (especially in teaching and as a Mum) it is beneficial and essential. But I can see it comes at a cost; it's a bit like running 5 lights off one battery - the battery drains more quickly and needs recharging.
So I am trying, where practical, to do one thing at a time.
At school, the list of tasks is ridiculous and ever-growing. Last week I felt totally overwhelmed by this. I spoke to a colleague, who helped me to see that the priority was the Y8 reports I have to write, and the assessments I have to complete in order to write them. She told me to "focus on those, do only those, and leave everything else."
So I have tried to do that. I didn't really believe it was possible. Didn't believe I could put on one side all the other marking / assessing / materials developing. But I have really tried - and it is working. I have got one set of reports finished. I have marked half of the assessments. I can see I have made progress. The other jobs are still there, but they will have to wait and I have decided they will wait. And the world hasn't fallen apart.

When I have been worried this week, I have allowed myself to focus on that worrying. I have linked it in to a technique D taught me, of allowing myself worry time - and then shutting out the worry at other times, until my next worry time comes around. It's working.

When I have felt anxious, I have focused in on where in my body I feel that anxiety. What are the physical sensations? I have let myself acknowledge the physical symptoms, acknowledge the worry - and then moved on to the next thing when I have spent enough time on that or when other demands arrive.

When I am teaching, I teach. If I am working with a pupil and another wants my attention, I am getting better at pointing out to them that I am talking to someone else and they will have to wait. (I'm not sure they are getting much better at waiting, though!)

I feel calmer. I feel more productive. I feel less stressed (most of the time!)

So now I need to move back to looking at the tough issues D and I have decided to work on, principally that of anger. Maybe I can apply some of this to that sensation. It still terrifies me, but I feel slightly more grounded and hopefully more able to at least look at this emotion, why it terrifies me so much that I block it out, and what I can do about it.

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