Some people are happy to talk about and express their emotions, some less so. It is fine either way, we are all different, but I hope this post will be useful to everyone. Regulating our emotions is important, particularly as teachers where we are often ‘performing’ and therefore have to leave our emotions, feelings or problems at the door. The key, of course, is to know that we are having an emotional reaction to something - what is the signal to yourself that something is going on?
What is your warning sign?
Think of it like a warning light in a car. Your car warns you if it’s overheating, the fuel is getting too low, or it’s due a service. And it tells you this before you actually run out of fuel, blow up your car or run it into the ground.
So, what is your warning light? Do you know and do you listen to it?
Or are you like me who sees the warning light in my car telling me it's due a service and then I ignore it for another two months until my car is crying out for some TLC?!
We need to be aware of our warning signals - it might be feeling flushed, a change in breathing, a strange sensation in the pit of your stomach, or more long term things like changes in our health. Perhaps eczema getting worse, feeling tired all the time, not sleeping properly etc…
Acknowledging your short term warning lights will help prevent the long-term ones from developing. So, think about it now and outline what you think yours are, or commit to really noticing them this week and then ask yourself:
What am I thinking right now that is causing this feeling?
You will be thinking something, maybe many things. But there will be one key thing that is leading to the warning light coming on. The first step to managing our emotions more effectively is to recognise the warning signs and question what we are thinking that is leading to them.
This is an area we go into depth on in one of the trainings in the Positive Teacher Toolkit. Having strategies to challenge thinking and reframe a situation is an incredibly powerful tool for stress management.
Clare Martin is a the founder of the Positive Teacher Network who specialises in helping teachers to find the ultimate Work Life Balance and supports them with many of the difficulties teachers face today.
The Positive Teacher Network provides practical tips and strategies to busy, tired teachers to help them improve their lives allowing them to focus on being great teachers.