CURRENT SPEAKING TOPICS
Beyond Stress Management: Defining a Self
Stress is the body’s natural response to threat, real or imagined. When data on stress was first researched, the focus was on “events” occurring or accumulating in a person’s life and “causing” stress. With time studies revealed that knowing which events occurred in a person’s life was not nearly as important as first thought in predicting stress and stress-related issues. Turns out “the nature” of the individual to whom the event occurs is often more important than the event in determining the level of stress (threat) experienced. With advances in Natural Systems Theory and Bowen Family Systems Theory, demonstrate a further widening of understanding of the causes of stress and effective strategies for managing stress. Along with the nature of the event and the nature of the individual, the nature of the emotional system of which the individual is a part…matters.
Defining a Self provides a way for each person in an organization, from classroom, to teaching team, to administration to think about and initiate changes which are positive personally and for the organization.
Anxiety and Defining a Self as a Teacher, as an Administrator
People have two guidance systems for making decisions: the Emotional Guidance System and the Thinking Guidance System. The Emotional Guidance is fueled by anxiety and driven to choose actions that reduce immediate anxiety without taking into account long-term results. The Thinking Guidance System is that part of our minds that can slow down, tolerate anxiety, and make decisions based on facts and reaching long-term goals.
Anxiety and Defining a Self provides a framework for participants to examine the basis for everyday action decisions, moment to moment, in actions from driving, to interacting with others, personal habits, and approaches to self-improvement and goals. Understanding the influence of the Emotional Guidance System and the Thinking Guidance System is particularly important in the educational setting as the emotional functioning of each teacher, student, and administrator matters and influences others. Strategies for improved functioning are a part of Anxiety and Defining a Self as a Teacher, as an Administrator.
Teaching Kids to THINK
Today’s students are faced with important decisions early in their lives, decisions which can affect the rest of their lives. Our anxiety often leads us to lecture students on what they should think rather than to teach them how to think. People have two guidance systems for making decisions: the Emotional Guidance System and the Thinking Guidance System. It’s important for students to recognize emotional pressures on decision-making, particularly how our emotional needs can blind us to the damaging results of decisions based on short-term relief of anxiety, decisions based on immediate results over long-term results.
Anxiety and Defining a Self
Anxiety is the body’s natural response to threats, real and imagined. Anxiety and our capacity to manage anxiety go a long way to determining how much we enjoy our work and how effective we are in our work and home life. Each of us has within us as living beings, two guidance systems on which we rely to decide moment by moment actions. The most influential and readily accessible of these is the Emotional Guidance System, which isn’t good news. Our emotional guidance system is designed to get us out of immediate anxiety, no matter the long-term cost. Easy examples of the emotional guidance system in charge include: procrastination, over-eating-sleeping-drinking, relationship cut-off, relationship dependence, angry defensive responses, lack of planning, failure to reach goals, over-reliance on experts, unwillingness to seek needed advice, and generally engaging in predictable, self-defeating behaviors.
The Thinking Guidance System is that part of ourselves that can tolerate anxiety when in our best interest, can consider the likely long-term results of our actions, can set long-term goals and work toward them regularly, does not over-blame self or over-blame others.
Defining a Self defines how these guidance systems function as well as providing strategies to improve functioning, particularly during times of stress.
The Stress Prone Educator
Stress comes in two forms, acute and chronic. Acute stress, which is related to an immediate situation, is usually resolved when the situation is either taken care of, or time passes and the situation concludes. Chronic stress is a sustained way of going about life that generates stress. Behind the “Stress Prone Person” are certain beliefs which predispose us to experience threat without cause and encourage ways of approaching life resulting in health problems, relationship problems, and personal dissatisfaction.
Natural Systems Theory, Classroom Applications
Natural Systems Theory recognizes that the behavior of every member in an emotional system influences the functioning of other members of the system. For the teacher to be most effective, the teacher needs a way to account for how the “system” operates. How do people respond when anxious, and how does their behavior affect others in the group? Of particular interest is the most basic response to anxiety—the formation of triangles. A triangle is formed when two anxious people get closer by talking about a third person who is not present. Gossip is a simple example. A parent teaming up with a child in finding fault with a teacher, is another example. The classroom, the school, the district are all emotional systems, which means that each person in the system has a part in its emotional health.