Mindfulness for teachers: practice makes peaceful

14 May 2020

What are the benefits of mindfulness for teachers?

Tony didn’t write for fifteen minutes and you didn’t notice and you have an Everest pile of marking, and a meeting you are presenting at the end of the day. Teaching can be really stressful; it’s often a culmination of small occurrences that build up throughout the day and create a knot in your shoulders and an uncontrollable urge to exhale at the end of the day. Mindfulness for teachers can help.

What are the benefits of mindfulness for teachers?

Mindfulness for teachers is a short and practical practice that can be incorporated into even the craziest schedules. Not only that, but that pent up stress throughout your day could be relieved by just a short and simple mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness exercises help you to be in the present moment, rather than concentrate on your ever growing to-do list. Mindfulness helps us to untangle the growing mess of thoughts in our heads and let go of unhelpful thoughts. The National Instituture for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommend mindfulness as a way to prevent depression and the NHS stresses the benefits of mindfulness for those susceptible to stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness for teachers can help:

  • Stress and anxiety
  • Low mood, sadness and depression
  • Feelings of loneliness and anger

Mindfulness practices for teachers

At a basic level, mindfulness involves taking some time to sit and be in the present. Well, what on earth does that mean? The best way to control your brain to be in the present, to begin with, is to concentrate on your breathing.

  • Slow down your breathing.
  • Fill your mind with the feeling of your lungs being filled with air and then the movement of your body as you exhale.
  • Focus only on your breathing.
  • If your mind wanders (it may do this a lot to begin with) don’t berate yourself for it. Notice the thoughts and then send them on their way, bringing your focus back to your breathing.
  • Start by doing this for one minute. Build up the time you spend on this mindfulness practice – aim for ten minutes.

Once you have mastered this simple mindfulness practice, you may find that it comes in very handy during points of high stress in the classroom and beyond. If you feel overwhelmed with your workload, take 5 minutes to focus on your breathing; the workload is still there, but you will feel mentally more equipped to deal with the situation.

Mindfulness bodyscan

The mindfulness bodyscan can really help you to physically and mentally relax. It can be better to lie down for this one in case it works so well it sends you to sleep! Lie down and guide your focus through your body.

  • Begin with focusing on your breathing.
  • Throughout this practice, notice the touch and pressure of the surface below you.
  • Move your attention to different areas of the body either systematically from head to toe or sporadically).
  • Take note of feelings of tightness, pressure, temperature and anything else.
  • Work your way through your entire body.

Again, if you find your mind veering off to something else, accept the thoughts and then draw your focus back to the body part.

Mindfulness exercise

Mindfulness can be applied to a wide range of activities: gardening, eating and all sorts of exercise. It’s common to distract ourselves from the workout that we’re doing, but being more mindful of our exercise can be great practice of mindfulness and make your exercise more enjoyable.

  • Use the breathing practice that was first mentioned during exercise to control your breathing during cardio.
  • Try a body scan to take note of any pains, aches and potential weak points for injury.
  • If you’re out in nature for your workout, use mindfulness to take note of everything you can see, smell, hear, touch and even taste.

Practice makes peaceful

On a final note, mindfulness needs practice. To begin with, you will find your mind wanders all the time. Try not to get angry with yourself over this. The distracting thoughts and the control to let them go is all part of the process and will help you let go of thoughts that stress you out. The more mindfulness you partake in, the more controlled and calm you will feel.

Mindfulness can help stress, anxiety and depression, but if you are feeling like you can’t cope, always seek the support of a healthcare professional. The NHS has great mental healthcare resources and can point you in the right direction if you’re struggling.

If you’d like some more ideas of how to stay healthy this January, we’ve teamed up with food expert and blogger, Helen Graves, to bring you quick packed lunch ideas.

<a href="https://blog.hope-education.co.uk/author/talitha-mclachlan/" target="_self">Talitha McLachlan</a>

Talitha McLachlan

Hope Education writer

Talitha worked as a primary and secondary teacher for 9 years before turning her hand to writing. She is passionate about effective education of children and supporting teachers to do this. In her free time, Talitha enjoys sewing, films, and spending time with her two cats.
Related blogs

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This