Check Your Mindset
I have been struggling the past little while, but I reached a moment of revelation this weekend. I’ve written about the importance of social emotional learning in the classroom before, I am a huge believer in the importance of being in the right frame of mind, being positive, and taking care of ourselves. I’ve even expressed my belief that intentions don’t matter sometimes, and that we really have to look at the impact we are having. But how does this all affect us individually and internally? Is it possible that our own intentions are impacting us negatively because of our mindset?
I’ve been in a huge slump lately in my personal life. I’ve been having a really hard time finding joy in moments that previously would bring me joy. Being at school has been a big blessing because at least, there, I could fill my cup and feel as though I was fulfilling my purpose as an educator. But this weekend, after having opened up to my husband and close friends, I realized that one of my biggest barrier was my own mindset, my own thoughts, and my own perception of certain situations. The simple fact that I became aware of this has literally changed everything for me. I was able to have the most incredible weekend with my family, truly soaking up so many joy moments despite our over-packed hockey-filled weekend and even find light in harder moments spent morning the loss of my husband’s grand-mother. Simply put, these moments brought us together and allowed me to find clarity.
Why am I babbling about my own struggles? I promise I have a point. First off, as Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change” and so if someone can relate to me and my struggles, and if by sharing I can model that I am human, then it will have been worth it. Second, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how our mindset literally shapes all of our experiences (I just wasn’t able to see it when it was hitting so close to home – come on Annick, practice what you preach). But, as a separate great example, I’ve seen so many quotes like the one below shared on social media, and they rings true and are great reminders every time.
If you are finding yourself getting frustrated with a certain behaviour, take a moment, refresh your mindset, and see if you can come back to the situation with a new appreciation of what is truly going on and how you can help.
Another example I’ve been thinking about is how our mindset heading into a professional development day is incredibly powerful. If you walk into the room believing that you have nothing to learn, you won’t learn anything. If you go in thinking that this day will be a waste of time, it will be. If you spend your time thinking about all of the things that you could be doing in class instead of fully immersing yourself in the PD, you surely won’t get much out of it.
What about your mindset before a meeting with a parent? With your administrators? And about a lesson that you’re not super excited to teach? Or about recess duty? The list goes on, and on, and on.
Mindset is important!
So, how do you change the negative that tends to get ingrained in your mind? Trust me, I get that it’s hard… after all, I was stuck in a slump for a very long time. But what if you just take a moment to think about your thoughts. Are they breathing positivity or are they poisoning your mind? We’ve all heard the saying “perception is reality”, so how might you alter your perception? Focusing on your thoughts to see what they are trying to tell you, might help. Maybe you need to give yourself a little pep talk before a PD day. Maybe you need to treat yourself to a specialty coffee and change your body language in order to walk into the room determined to find one thing that you can take away from the day. Maybe you need to take a deep breath before reacting to a student’s behaviour to remind yourself that this child is communicating with you and needs support to work this out. Maybe you need to chat with a trusted friend to hash out what you are truly feeling and remind yourself of your purpose in order to refocus and move forward. Maybe you don’t know what you need, yet… but a great place to start is just to check your mindset. It might just change everything, like it did for me.