The Best Technique To Help You De-Stress

 

Pouli

 

Hello my friends!

Stress is one of the world’s largest health problems, leading to exhaustion, burnout, anxiety, a weak immune system, or even organ damage. Studies show that art therapy, coloring mandalas  and drawing in general, can minimize anxiety and combat negative mood. Art therapy is a form of therapy that encourages creativity and self-expression as vehicles to reduce stress, improve self-esteem, increase awareness and help remedy trauma. Psychologist Carl Jung recommended coloring mandalas (circular designs that can contain intricate patterns or symbols) as a therapeutic intervention to promote psychological health, as he perceived that drawing mandalas had a calming effect on his patients while facilitating their processing of thoughts and emotions.

Today, art therapy is recognized for its many therapeutic effects on aspects of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. As described by art-therapist Myra Levick, these include:

To provide a means to strengthening the ego.

To provide a cathartic experience.

To provide a means to uncover anger.

To offer an avenue to reduce guilt.

To facilitate impulse-control.

To help patients/clients use art as a new outlet during incapacitating illness.

In 1971 a radiation oncologist named Carl Simonton formulated a concept for cancer patients involving among other things the integration of art therapy. Simonton and his wife designed a strategic approach to attack cancer from all sides, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually with a host of progressive and relaxation techniques. In perhaps the most significant plank to bridge the fields of alternative and modern medicine, mental imagery and art therapy were employed as complementary tools to fight cancer cells and help rejuvenate the body.

Try the following theme:

Draw yourself.

Draw a picture of a part of your body you feel needs a special attention. Draw an area that you feel is perhaps a target organ of stress, for example a headache, sore back etc.

On another sheet of paper, draw an image of this same body region fully healed.

Use your imagination to restore this image to health through metaphor.

OR

Draw a peaceful image

OR

Draw how you feel right now. What emotions are you feeling right now? What does your anger look like to you? Try to visualize your emotions  on paper.

Art therapy is a portable form of therapy, and one that can be practiced alone without the support of a therapist.The beauty of art therapy is that it can be practiced for as long or little as you wish, depending on the amount of time you have. Just ten minutes of self-directed art therapy, every day, can make improvements to the quality of your day and to the levels of stress you experience.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

It’s never too late!

Hello my friends!

I wanted to share this truly inspirational video with all of you!

Always remember that, it’s never too late to make your dreams come true!Never give up!!!!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

WHAT MAKES GREAT TEACHING?

Hello my friends!

Teacher quality is what teachers know and bring to the classroom. Teaching quality is what teachers do with what they know once they get inside the classroom. It includes the strategies and techniques teachers use to get students to learn. These strategies include understanding and applying the evidence on how students learn, using instructional best practices, enhancing strategies for instructional observation and evaluation, providing effective and ongoing professional development and establishing a common vision for philosophical beliefs about students and teaching (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

There are many variables that affect instruction including the subject, grade level, learners’ needs and desired outcomes. Effective instruction promotes excellence and student learning outcomes through best-practices and teaching practices based on high standards of instruction and student engagement.  It includes elements such as effective questioning and use of assessment by teachers. Students’ perceptions of their learning environment influence their approaches to learning (Ramsden, 2003). For instance, they are more likely to demonstrate deep approaches to learning when they perceive that teaching is high quality, they have some voice in what is to be learned, and they are aware of the goals and standards required in the unit. Specific practices, like reviewing previous learning, providing model responses for students, giving adequate time for practice to embed skills securely and progressively introducing new learning (scaffolding) are also elements of high quality instruction.
Effective teaching practices need to occur in physically and psychologically safe climates. A safe learning environment is the keystone for learning. Effective teachers create physically and emotionally safe learning environments in which students can take academic risks, make mistakes, obtain feedback and revise their initial ideas and understandings (Kaplan & Owings, 2002).

The positive effects of high quality teaching are especially significant for students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Evidence suggests that when taught by very effective teachers, students can gain an extra year’s worth of learning (Hanushek, 1992, Sutton trust, 2011). Research evidence from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development affirms that “teacher quality” is the most important school variable influencing student achievement (2005).

According to Christopher Day and Qing Gu in their book Resilient Teachers, Resilient Schools, Building and Sustaining Quality in Testing Times, the definition of quality in teachers should be understood in the broadest possible sense. It goes beyond the technocratic concerns for performativity and test results. The continuing aspiration for quality is driven by teachers’ sense of vocation and care about and for their pupils. It is about the extra mile that the best teachers willingly travel to motivate each one of their pupils to learn and to bring about the best possible achievement in them. It is related to their passion, commitment and continuing enthusiasm for their own learning and development which is importantly supported by their school and which results in an abiding sense of efficacy, hope and belief that they can and do continue to make a difference in the classroom.

Thank you very much for reading!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

GREAT TEACHING AND THE POWER OF WORDS

 

pexels-photo-207983

Throughout human history, our greatest leaders and thinkers have used the power of words to transform our emotions, to enlist us in their causes, and to shape the course of destiny. Words can not only create emotions, they create actions. And from our actions flow the results of our lives.

Anthony Robbins

Hello my friends!

Words can hurt and shock, or they can heal and lift spirits. Words can change lives, for better or for worse. Words are not only powerful, but they can have a last impact.

Be aware of students’ feelings when receiving assessed work back because they can be particularly sensitive to any comments you have written on their work. Giving students face-to-face feedback can be very powerful and productive. Good feedback promotes involvement and shows that the teacher is taking an active interest in the learner. The Great teacher speaks genuinely and listen openly. Spending time with a student means a great deal. Whenever it is feasible turn to them for help. Say thanks. Be on the lookout for even little things the student does that are meaningful to you. Be specific as to what you appreciate. Ask a question. The Great teacher is open to their suggestions. When the student does something positive, acknowledge it. Recognize the positive result.

Bob Greene writes: “A few words though they mean little at the time to the people who say them, can have enormous power. We need to be more aware of the effect that our words might have on someone else. We also need to understand that words we often utter carelessly or while in an emotional state can have a lasting impact. Greene points out that positive words can also have a major influence and can last a lifetime. His story is about a professional writer who was shy and lacked confidence in his childhood. But something happened in his high school English class that changed his life. It was a routine occurrence-his teacher returned a writing assignment to him. He doesn’t even remember what the grade on that paper was, but he does remember the four words she had written on it: “This is good writing.” This was a young man who liked to write and often dreamed of composing short stories, but he lacked the confidence until that day. His teacher’s little note got him to think differently about his abilities, and it was the beginning of  a successful career in writing. To this day he believes that it would never have happened without those four words written in the margin of his paper. Greene concluded his article this way: “So few words. They can change everything.”

Great teachers use words of encouragement. And words of encouragement create an atmosphere in which students can thrive!

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

 

 

 

TEACHER BURNOUT AND EMOTION REGULATION STRATEGIES

Hello my friends!

Teaching is an emotional endeavor. Teachers may experience happiness when students accomplish an important task, frustration when students cannot grasp a concept, disappointment with lack of effort. Teachers try to regulate their emotions because they believe it helps them achieve their goals.
But one factor that is important is the intensity of the experienced emotion. The perceived intensity of anger and frustration episodes was associated with longer duration of the emotion episodes, intrusive thoughts, immediate actions in the classroom and doing something specific to cope. High intensity episodes were associated with changes in teachers’ classroom behaviors and may influence their teaching effectiveness. Teachers who reported high levels of emotions intensity were more likely to endorse the effectiveness of showing negative emotions and had lower levels of teacher efficacy than teachers reporting lower levels of emotion intensity. These high intensity teachers show their emotions more often in the classroom and are less likely to regulate their emotions, they have lower confidence in their skills to manage or teach effectively than low intensity teachers. So, there is a relationship between burnout and emotion regulation, so we will discuss two emotion regulation strategies which are associated with reducing negative emotions. In this course we will consider the following strategies the antecedent-focused strategies and those that are response focused.

Antecedent-Focused strategies

Teachers need to learn about their hot spots and try to develop cool nodes. Keeping an emotion teaching diary may help identify if there are common patterns in timing, situations and antecedents of intense emotion episodes. Once hot spots are identified, teachers can plan to prevent them. For instance, if a hot spot for one teacher is constant talking among students then she may change student seating arrangements to prevent student interactions.
Because teacher’s negative emotions are typically aroused when students misbehave or do not pay attention, teachers can learn to use specific management strategies such as have the class do a quiet activity or redirecting students in order to prevent situations escalating. Teachers report that reflecting during the difficult situations also can help them manage their emotions more effectively. Some teachers use appropriate humor and initiate classroom situations that enhance students’ positive emotions. They can also engage students in discussions about emotions, strategies for emotion regulation and the possible consequences of inappropriate emotion expression in the classroom.

Response-focused strategies

These strategies are characterized by the modulation of experiential, behavioral or physiological emotion responses late in the generation of the emotion response. The most commonly described response focused strategy during the emotion episode is suppression when a teacher tries to keep her face passive and not say anything inappropriate. This is often an ineffective strategy but teachers may find no other immediate alternative. Reducing the physiological response by pausing and breathing deeply is commonly used by teachers. Or stepping back from the situation during the immediate emotion episode and relaxing at the end of a difficult school day. Talking at the end of the day is a good strategy of many teachers.

Here are the 12 steps towards managing your difficult emotions and work stress
1.Make a note of any negative feelings you still have about your teaching role – outside as well as inside the classroom. Take notes of any resentment that you feel towards your school or your employers or your colleagues.
2.Describe your largest work stressor in detail.
3.List two other work stressors you are experiencing.
4.Identify how you respond to your specific work stressors. keep a stress diary, recording what causes you stress, when and where. Learn to recognize your stress signals, your symptoms. For example, When I write a book most of the time I feel anxious about the deadline. My thought is “I will never make it!”, So I work faster, I have headaches and sometimes I work longer.
5.Set specific and observable goals to respond more effectively to your work stressors. Be better prepared for them when they happen. It is better to make changes in one or more of the following areas:
a)You can change your thoughts, for example alter your perfectionist attitude.
b)You can implement healthy stress management techniques for example exercise or relax.
6.Pace and balance yourself
Take minibreaks throughout your day to reduce symptoms of tension and stress. In the following videos I will show you brief combination techniques which they need not take more than a few minutes and the payoff can be seen in increased mental alertness and productivity. Choose leisure activities that balance the unique stresses of your job. For example, as a teacher your job requires much sitting or mental concentration so consider a complementary leisure activity such as aerobic exercise or a school is a controlled environment so you need an activity such as hiking in nature.
7.When one reaches the stage of burnout, there is emotional, physical and mental exhaustion Asking your manager or headteacher for support when you need it can be a vital part of your wellbeing at work. By speaking about your concerns and feelings, your senior may be able to put things in place that will decrease your chances of burnout. Reach out to those close to you when you are feeling depleted. Talking things over is the simplest way to relieve some anxiety. Ask your colleagues, family and friends if they can offer support and guidance. Social support is a recognized way for people to deal with stress.
8.Go home on time. Be sure to get plenty of rest, avoid alcohol and cigarettes and eat properly.
9. Please separate your home life from your school life. Leave work at work. Do not work at home!
10. Be realistic in what you can accomplish compared to what you want to accomplish.
11. Make your class or your workspace more comfortable. Change positions. Achieving a good fit between you and the computer can make you more productive and your work experience more comfortable. Adjust your keyboard when you change posture. Relax and rest your elbows by your torso when you use your mouse. Have an appropriate illumination when reading your books or printed materials.
12.You can reduce your stress levels by laughing which lowers the stress hormones including cortisol epinephrine and adrenaline and strengthens your immune system by releasing positive hormones. Laugh alone when you feel something is funny. Seek out cartoons and comedy films. Look for the funny side of life and share it with your colleagues.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

16 Practical Ideas for students with ADD

Hello my friends!

Thank you very much for your kind emails!!! After twenty years in education (with students who experience dyslexia, reading, spelling, handwriting difficulties, ADD) and counselling, I know that teachers and other educators are VERY BUSY people with many responsibilities. Many teachers emphasized the need for practical ideas easy to implement in the classroom and not overly time consuming.

These practical ideas are for students who have attention disorder difficulties that interfere with their ability to learn:

Discuss the issues involved with your colleagues and ensure that in general you have got their support for the approach to ADD that you are adopting.

Seat the student away from windows and put the student right in front of your desk.

Develop an two-way agreement in the form of a Contract. A two-way agreement specifies precisely how a student will behave or what task the student will accomplish. It also specifies what support a teacher or administrator will provide in order to assist the student in meeting his/her goals. Ask the student to select a reinforcer that he or she would like to earn if the criterion of the agreement is met. Once the student meets the criterion immediately provide the reinforcer. Each week this Contract need to be reviewed. It may be necessary to modify the requirements made in the Contract.

Some students with ADD may need school accommodations. Some accommodations include extended time on tests, shortened assignments, note taking. Provide worksheets with fewer questions and problems. Break long assignments into smaller chunks and do not grade for neatness.

Use timers or verbal cues to show how much time the student has remaining for an activity.

Students with ADD can learn better by listening. You can provide help for students by reading aloud to them or letting them work with partners or in a group.

Keep your instructions simple.

Do everything possible to avoid background noise while working on language activities. Do everything possible to avoid interrupting. Listen intently and show that you have heard and understood. Encourage your student to complete the task and give lots of praise.

Allow student frequent physical breaks to move around, to hand out or collect materials, run errands to the office, erase the board, etc.

Always begin the question with a student’s name. This focuses the student’s attention before you ask the question and keeps him or her “with you”.

Ask both open-ended and specific types of questions.

When a student makes a correct statement students say “Good job.” If the answer is incorrect, someone says “Good try! or Nice try! or You can do it!”

Use a token system to make sure everyone takes a turn answering your questions and no one monopolizes the conversation.

Students with ADD often have poor short-term memories. Strategies can be taught to improve short-term memory and increase concentration span for example, self-discovery techniques or memory aid systems for remembering specific items.

Teach students to organize their materials. Have students color code by choosing one color per subject. Or suggest that students buy Post It flags in each subject color. Graphic organizers can help all students take a step-by-step approach to solving problems and memorizing information. These organizers can be used to solve math problems, arrange historical events in chronological order or complete any sequence of important facts.

It is very helpful if you can give the attention deficit student some responsibilities which that student will manage to achieve. It helps the child improve self-esteem and gain greater understanding of the sequences of cause and effect.

ADD is unrelated to intelligence.

When these strategies are applied more regularly in the classroom, they will benefit not only students with ADD but the entire learning environment.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx

The positive side of negative emotions

Hello my friends!

Emotions can influence behavior, but they have other implications, as well. One important function of emotion is to provide information (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Emotion regulation is driven by epistemic motives when people are motivated to experience emotions to attain certain information. Emotions provide information about oneself and about the world. People are motivated to attain two different types of information about themselves. First, given the need for positive self-regard, people seek out information that enhances their self-images (Rogers, 1951). Second, given the need for consistency and predictability, people seek out information that verifies their self-images (Seann, 1987). When emotional experiences reflect negatively on themselves, people may be motivated to avoid these experiences.

Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. By accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation.

We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, and anxiety are emotional states that many people experience regularly but try to avoid. And this is understandable—they are designed to make us uncomfortable. These negative emotional states can create extra stress in your body and your mind, which is uncomfortable but also can lead to health issues if the stress becomes chronic or overwhelming. Managing negative emotions means not allowing them to overrun us; we can keep them under control without denying that we are feeling them. A study on emotional acceptance, from the University of California, Berkeley, found that putting pressure on yourself to feel upbeat when you are actually feeling downtrodden or dejected can take a psychological toll. The latest UC Berkeley study reaffirms the benefits of this explanatory style. The researchers found that accepting negative emotions or thoughts in the moment helps individuals avoid catastrophizing or dwelling on temporary negative mental experiences. Research has suggested that acceptance  whether it is embracing our good and bad attributes, or accepting the way we look – is associated with better psychological well-being.

Prof. Ford and team sought to determine how acceptance of negative emotions – such as sadness, disappointment, and anger – might influence psychological health. Accepting negative emotions without judging or trying to change them helps people cope more effectively with various types of stress. Negative emotions serve a purpose and have a positive intention. As Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”

Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Lab said: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health. Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. And perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up.”
The researchers found that subjects who reported trying to avoid negative emotions in response to bad experiences were more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, 6 months later, compared with those who embraced their negative emotions.

Dr. Ronald Siegel, another psychologist with Harvard Medical School, he discusses proven strategies for cultivating mindfulness and self compassion. He share this insight:
“When we are hurting, when we notice that we’ve had a disappointment, we’ve had a failure, something hasn’t turned out well, which [it] inevitably will. Inevitably, we’ll have these moment of defeat, that we can just be nice to ourselves and give ourselves a hug, feel the feeling of vulnerability, feel the feeling of failure, and trust that that’s okay too, that it’s just part of the cycle and we don’t have to identify with that or believe in it. Because as it turns out, none of us are so great and none of us are so terrible.”

There are several strategies that have been explored and recommended as a means to accepting and processing negative emotions:

Observe your emotions. Remember, you are not your emotions, you are the watcher of your emotions (Tolle, 2010).

Label the emotion you are experiencing.

Acceptance increases your own self-compassion and tolerance for frustration (by Practicing Mindfulness). Feeling with non-judgment and non reaction is healing and a necessary part of the self-growth process.

Re-appraise and re-frame.

Choose your action.

Thank you for reading.

Love always,

Vassiliki xxxx