Managing the stress

I teach a lot of people. It’s a stressful job. I see a few students from time to time who are stressed with their language ability. I also see a few who wouldn’t get stressed about anything.

This morning as I was getting ready to run out the door, I noticed I was stressed. I felt the tension in my body the shortness of breath. I had a long day ahead and lot to organise in the coming days. In truth my writing here has been a bit sparse of late because of my life style. It’s pretty full on. Apart from teaching in a number of different places and tailoring to a number of different subjects, I am also organising a trip to the Philippines to start a project called CARE. Caring Actions Real Economy. I will write about how that came about next week.

Anyway during one of my classes a particular student got herself into what I can only describe as a state. It’s not the first time and I tried to tackle it as gently as I could. I noticed she had difficulty understanding my accent in French almost as much as she did my English.

Her conversation was something along the lines of , I know nothing I understand nothing at all, and everyone says you need English for a job and I am going to be unemployed for the rest of my life because I don’t understand a single word.

Now she had already answered a question perfectly in English earlier in the class. We turned round in circles, me trying gently to penetrate with logic, her using her logic to keep the barrier up till the point she was in tears and trembling. I being as gentle as I could let her go and honestly gave up. She was not in a position to be reached.

However it reminded me of my morning, I was giving myself the same talking to, I was running off all the things that had to be done, imaginary outcomes of them not getting done, and then blockbuster movies were being in my head until I became aware I was stressed. I wasn’t late. I had time. I just took a deep breath. I rationalised. What is the worst that can happen, and what if it does happen, what can I change?

Our days our lives, progress one breath, one step at a time, not in months and years as my student was doing in her head, not in days or weeks as I was doing this morning. Next time you feel stressed, can you take a breath and just ask yourself what story are you telling yourself ? Is it true? If it is true, so what?

Have a beautiful day, just remember if you are breathing and moving, you are damn lucky.

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