Teacher Health and Wellbeing – Mindfulness Recommended

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By Nicki Allman

Find out how mindfulness can improve your health and wellbeing

mindfulness

Stress is part of our daily lives as educators. Life is often busy as we move from one activity to the next and generally we don’t have opportunities to stop and pause. How many times do normal everyday stressful activities spill into a feeling of not being able to cope and of thinking that our workload is too great? Finding ways to cope with the daily toils of a busy, endless working day is crucial. The lack of productivity and solution-based activities from increased stress can lead to illness and an inability to cope. Mindfulness can play an important part in dealing with stress. It provides an opportunity to pause and relax, a time to take stock and just focus on the now. It can help provide ways to deal with the stress and anxiety that the job of an educator brings.

What is mindfulness?

The Oxford dictionary defines it in two ways:
  • The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.
  • A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.

Mindfulness is also ‘paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally,’ as defined by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Mindfulness is not a recent concept. 1979 saw the development of ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ (MBSR) followed by the development of Mindfulness Based Cognitive theories in the early 1990s and this is now an accepted and endorsed part of mental health. Much research has been done on mindfulness and its impact on wellbeing. It takes into account the development of awareness of thoughts, emotions, sensations and the environment surrounding us. Educational interventions have looked into the way that teachers can be responsible for their own care and undertake activities to help focus on the ‘now’, which ultimately will help build resilience and a sense of greater wellbeing.

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