Every time I meet up with teacher friends, they mostly mention things like “How can I calm my anxious mind?” or “Is it possible to excuse yourself in the middle of the day for a long nap?”
That inspired me to write a post on how to calm an anxious mind in the middle of a busy day in the classroom. Here’s what I have collected.
It goes without saying that teaching involves stress. However, each person deals with it in a different way. In the education sector, there are a lot of psychological factors at play that cause teachers to react in a negative way when challenged with stifling social situations.
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How Can You Calm Your Anxious Mind?
Anxiety, when ignored, can hinder learning capabilities and performances.
Anxiety is quite prevalent in all ages, but symptoms commonly surface when the mind is surrounded by overwhelming tasks. Teachers are especially vulnerable at school because they are exposed to different personalities, behaviors, and situations that form pressure on their capacity to manage.
To prevent this from happening, get to know practical ways to calm an anxious mind, and how they can be applied when anxiety attacks. Here are some examples that are quick to do but leave you a feeling of contentment:
Drink a Glass of Water
Yes, water. Did you know that simply drinking a glass of water brings some relief? It helps with headaches, keeps you awake, concentrated, and fit.
A headache may appear along with focus and memory problems when you’re worried. Since the brain is largely made of water, staying hydrated might help you feel more alert. Anxiety also causes dehydration among teachers, and a good way to prevent this is to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Do you find drinking water not so challenging? Make it cheerful by adding fruits or herbs into your water so it gives a natural refreshing flavor. You can also use nice-looking water bottles or that which can hold the water temperature you like. Being fancier with your water can be a lot more enticing.
Employ Positive Self-Talk
Negative self-talk like “I can’t do it,” “I’m not enough,” or “There’s no use,” can be detrimental to your thought process. Positive self-talk is exactly the opposite of these talks. It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake, as long as you believe you can fix it, correct it, and handle it; then life goes smoothly.
Positive self-talk is to inspire the mind to keep pushing forward and believe that you can go further and do better. This routine frequently enables you to find hidden good in any circumstance.
Positive self-talk transforms unfavorable thoughts into more upbeat ones. You may feel good about yourself and everything going on in your life by engaging in this internal dialogue. Your inner voice is encouraging you to see the good because you are capable of doing so.
Do some Brain Breaks
Just like how students are distracted, you too can get preoccupied many times. The goal of brain breaks is to help the brain shift focus and reduce the stress you are having at the moment.
From the school’s regular breaks to the day’s longer break of recess or coffee time, note that they are not simply “breaks” but healthy and energy-giving downtimes.
Brain breaks or brief breaks boost blood flow to the brain, which helps it maintain attention and stay awake. Why do you think youngsters are more energized after recess? That is a result of their brain regaining energy.
Try to focus your eyes on green plants and trees, or stare at the horizon. Nature has the power to heal. It has the ability to put yourself back to where it should be. Why not just close your eyes and think of a place like a seashore, mountain top, or country road?
One perfect “brain break” idea is visualizing yourself as calm.
Find a suitable place in your classroom or in the campus that is quiet and relaxing. Sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes, inhale, exhale, and then relax.
Now imagine something you like – a favorite place, the beach, stars in a cool night sky, or anything else you truly love. Start imagining it as detailed as you can. Don’t forget to breathe in and breathe out. See how it helps calm your mind even for just a few minutes.
Visualization is quite simple but it requires practice. By creating a mental picture, you get a feel of what it looks like to stay calm. The next time you’re anxious, you can do this again.
Practice Breathing Exercises
Given that breathing is something we all do naturally, this is also the simplest way to lessen anxiety. However, anxious people frequently feel overwhelmed and unintentionally take breathing for granted. This shortage of oxygen impairs their human thought processes.
When one continuously inhales air via the nose and exhales it out of the mouth, deep breathing is said to be at its most effective.
This technique is excellent since it may be used anytime, anyplace, even during class if an anxiety episode strikes.
Our body normally breathes in and out about 22,000 times a day. This shows that oxygen (air) fuels the lungs and that oxygen is the body’s life-sustaining gas that powers the human body.
Listen to Music You Love
Do you like listening to music? I do!
Music has a special ability to calm an anxious mind. A faster music beat can make you feel in the groove while country and slower music can make you feel more relaxed.
But remember, forcing yourself to listen to music you don’t like could increase tension rather than lessen it. Listening to music simply is a means to calm your brain so you can re-energize and function better in your next activities.
You might want to load up your iPad with soft melodies or your favorite music. Look for good wireless headphones that can transmit sound and music from your smartphone.
Remake Your Classroom
An accommodating classroom setup helps prevent teacher anxiety. One example is a convenient seat plan that engages students more in a class activity than with rowdy classmates.
Posting written directions anywhere in the room will guide everyone with the right things to do. This approach is discipline training, too.
Another thing is the friendly groupings strategy that opens opportunities to get to know buddies during lunch, recess, and other activities; reducing the fear of rejection among students.
This idea not only ensures that students are comfortable but it optimizes organization in the classroom while lessening anxious thoughts for both you and them.
Apply Muscle Relaxation
PMR is a technique that aids in stress reduction. It is a method that involves tensing and relaxing various body parts, and it diverts the person’s attention away from their nervous thoughts.
Muscle relaxation is a practice that may be done anytime, anywhere, similar to deep breathing. It’s even better if you do it every day because it makes it easier to identify any muscle contractions that might be adding to your feelings of anxiety.
In progressive muscle relaxation, you are compressing certain muscles as you breathe in, and then you release them as you breathe out.
Play Classroom Games
Other than student engagement, classroom games encourage the class to interact with each other.
Playing with them can keep you feeling young and energetic. Fun games in the classroom are a sure way to help you forget about stress.
It makes you part of your students. It allows you to catch up with their energy, move your body, sweat out, and even laugh with them to the max.
By joining in fun classroom activities, you are supercharging yourself as you trigger the release of the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Playing can also stimulate your mind and help you solve problems. You will be amazed at how a playful nature can help you loosen up in a stressful situation.
Doing classroom games on a regular basis helps everyone in the classroom trust one another and feel safe. So you’re improving the quality of classroom relationships as well as connecting to your students.
Watch this video Why Do People Get Anxiety? [And 5 Things That Trigger It]
In a nutshell…
We all experience frustration from time to time, not just teachers. Since this is a common occurrence in life, there is little need for concern. But be aware that a large load of anxieties and stresses has a tendency to explode like a balloon. It is time to focus on your anxiety when it takes control and you are unable to relax.
It may take practice to calm yourself at the moment you’re too anxious, but it can be done. This is the reason why I collected these strategies — I want to help my teacher friends and all educators reading this to calm their minds when they’re feeling anxious.
Do you have fun ideas to share with teachers? It would be great to hear them in the comments.