How Sleep Affects Your Mind – Guest Blog Post by Kristina Lalovic from Colossal Sleep

How Sleep Affects Your Mind – Guest Blog Post by Kristina Lalovic from Colossal Sleep

Sleep is an important part of our lives. Not only do we need it to recover and function throughout the day, but it is also a crucial part of our health. When we’re feeling sick, our bodies need more sleep than usual.

Similarly, when we don’t sleep enough our immune system weakens and we might catch a cold more easily.

But it’s not only our general health that is affected by our sleep patterns. It turns out that our mental health might even be much more susceptible to changes in our sleep routines. In this article, we’re going to talk about all the ways sleep can affect your mind.

However, let’s first mention why is sleep important and what happens to our bodies and brains while we’re asleep.

Why Do We Need Sleep?

For animals, as well as for humans, it is impossible to survive without sleep. In order to prove that, several scientists have deprived themselves or their research participants from sleep for days, and the results were always the same.

What they all experienced was a decrease in cognitive skills, a drop in awareness and focus to their surroundings, as well as an over-exhaustion. They also felt much weaker, their immune system was damaged and so on.

So, what are the main reasons we sleep?

We sleep in order to:

  • Repair our organs and muscles
  • Restore and strengthen our immune system
  • Rebalance our hormones
  • Help our brain retain information

When putting it like this, it seems all quite simple. But what can sleep do to our minds apart from making us feel cranky when we’re sleep-deprived, or making us feel happy when we’re well rested?

Let’s find out what are the main ways your sleep can affect your brain.

Sleeping Affects Learning and Memory

Staying up all night before an exam was found to have really poor effects on how we memorize and learn. On the other hand, getting a night of good sleep before heading to an exam has shown to have many more benefits on our brain and how we remember things.

This is why naps often provide a fairly good and efficient boost to our learning capabilities. Some people claim that they managed to memorize better and improve their performances thanks to using power naps to recover during studying or working.

Our brain simply needs sleep in order to process all new information received throughout the day. When not sleeping sufficiently, our brains don’t have enough energy to store new things we learn.

As a result of this lack of energy, it becomes much harder to recall things. Without having and maintaining a regular sleeping pattern <strong>humans can become forgetful</strong> and develop mentally.

Thanks to these findings, it became evident that chronic sleep deprivation increases one’s dementia risks in older age.

Lack Of Sleep Decreases Our Cognitive Skills

Sleep does more than just enhancing our memory skills. Apparently, when we are well-rested our mind is much clearer, and our brain cells function properly. When we’re tired or sleep-deprived, our brain cells become unable to process information accordingly or to translate images into conscious thoughts.

This is exactly the reason why driving is highly discouraged when a person is tired. In fact, a research study has shown that sleep deprivation had almost the same effects on our brain as alcohol.

A sleepless night will slow you down, make your brain less active and potentially lead to poorer decisions.

You Might Eat More Unhealthy When Sleep Deprived

Since sleep affects and recovers our prefrontal cortex – the part of the brain that is responsible for planning and decision making, it can become much easier to lose self-control which will result in faulty decisions.

As a result of this change in the way your brain thinks, you might be less self-controlled when it comes to food. It has been shown that self deprived people tend to eat more processed and unhealthy food compared to people that get the proper amount of sleep.

This is also why obesity is often linked to sleep deprivation as well.

Sleeping Affects Your Mood

Not only will decreased amount of sleep make you less efficient on work, decrease your performance and lead to poorer decisions, but it will also affect your mood.

A study has found that women that were deprived of sleep experienced higher levels of anger, depression, and hostility early in the morning when compared to women that slept full 8 hours.

It’s not so uncommon to feel cranky, more irritable and impatient when we lack sleep. On the flipside, when we sleep well, we feel happier, full of energy and ready to take on whatever the day might bring.

This is why depression, anxiety and other mental issues are often connected to sleeping disorders such as shift work sleep disorder, insomnia, interrupted sleep and so on.

Not Sleeping Enough Might Result In Less Creativity

Researches have shown that people that were deprived of sleep, or that have slept only a few hours less than 8 hours, were less likely to think outside of the box, come up with creative solutions and maintain their problem-solving skills.

On the other side, getting a full night of sleep promotes creativity. This was proven thanks to a study testing participants on a task involving numbers. People that have slept more managed to figure out the problem faster and at a more successful rate than people who were sleep-deprived.

Sleep Enables More Efficient Multitasking Skills

Multitasking is possible thanks to the activity of the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that enables us to do several tasks simultaneously and that needs sleep in order to function properly.

This is also another reason why it is better not to drive when tired. Not only our brain functions more slowly and isn’t able to alertly respond to our surroundings, but the cortical function of multitasking is weakened by a lot when we don’t get enough sleep.

Your Brain Gets Rid Of Unnecessary “Trash”

Our brains have a system that gets rid of unnecessary toxins and, apparently, this system seems to be most active during sleep. A recent study about this brain’s system has thought us that by sleeping, our brains manage to eliminate bad toxins that can cause Alzheimer’s or other neurological disorders.

During this process, brain cells also shrink in size in order to allow toxic waste to be eliminated properly from the brain.

Developmental Trauma – Guest Blog Post by Kim Atherton

Developmental Trauma – Guest Blog Post by Kim Atherton

Following on from the GetPsyched video on trauma and its treatments and some recent training I’ve done myself, I wanted to offer a written piece on developmental trauma.

Developmental trauma occurs early on in a child’s life and can have detrimental consequences for children and their families. Developmental trauma can lead to long term or permanent changes in the structures and functions of the brain.

Childhood traumas can affect the nervous and the immune systems, as well as possible changes to the hormonal systems, particularly when the trauma exists over an extended period of time.

Sometimes, developmental traumas can lead to children being removed from their birth families and placed in local authority care, with foster carers or with other family members, also known as kinship carers.

Psychological symptoms of trauma don’t always present in children initially, they can occur several months or years down the line once they’ve developed a good relationship with their carers or once they start asking questions about their life history.

Sources or trauma for children can include:

  • Emotional, physical or sexual abuse,
  • Neglect,
  • Serious accident, major surgery or illness,
  • Change in the family dynamic,
  • War or natural disaster,
  • Domestic violence in the home environment,
  • Moving home suddenly,
  • Drug and alcohol abuse in the home environment,
  • Bereavement of family or other loved ones and
  • Removal from birth parents

These sources of trauma can also be called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or toxic stressors.

Approximately 1 in 4 individuals have experienced at least 1 ACE in their childhood, with approximately 1 in 10 experiencing more than 4 ACEs.

Adverse Childhood Experiences can have an extremely long-term and inter-generational effect on individuals and their families as this video demonstrates.

Adverse Childhood Experiences have been shown in multiple studies to have negative consequences on health in later life, including increased risk of heart disease, cancers and premature death.

Sometimes children aren’t aware of memories of trauma, especially if the trauma has occurred in infancy or very early childhood. However, the body’s reflexes do still remember, and children can be extremely sensitive to things that may seem very trivial to you and me, perhaps the smell or the sound of everyday things.

Children can become very sensitive and hyper-aware in the places that are their safest places to them, like home or school. This can present itself as hypervigilance- perhaps staying at the back of a busy room so that they can see almost everything around them and see all means of escape. It can also present as adverse behaviours or diminished concentration as the child contemplates the safety of the environment they’re in.

When we experience stress, adrenaline is released which helps us to respond appropriately to stimuli in the environment around us. Different levels of adrenaline would be released when someone knocked at the door compared to if we came face to face with a threat to our lives.

However, when we are persistently in a heightened state of stress, the long-term stress hormone, cortisol, is activated which causes us to think of what may be seen as low-level stress to become more and more unmanageable unless we seek out appropriate support.

Additionally, because developmental trauma can cause epigenetic changes in the DNA, triggers can cause children who’ve had traumatic experiences to become stressed very quickly and the fight, flight or freeze response in the brain is activated to low-level stressors. The fight, flight or freeze response is a survival reflex activated at the back, lower section of the brain.

Once these survival instincts are activated, the blood supply that usually supplies the rational region of the brain in the upper, frontal sections is diverted to muscles in the body and prepares the body to freeze, fight or to escape.

When the rational region of the brain is essentially not functioning properly, it means the child can then not determine the level of threat the stimuli is invoking. Basically meaning, that they respond similarly when there’s a knock at the door to what they would to a higher-level threat.

The upper frontal regions of the brain are also responsible for emotional regulation, and you could imagine once again that if a child feels threatened and the blood supply is diverted, that the child then becomes impaired in their ability to emotionally regulate themselves and may, therefore, experience emotions often at their most extreme.

Without adequate intervention, this could have a profound impact on a child who is still developing emotionally and socially.

However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. While trauma can have profound effects on children and their families or carers, they can be prevented in a lot of cases with a supportive and nurturing environment.

This has been the focus of family health services for some time and therapeutic parenting can also be very beneficial.

Some traumas like bereavements or serious accidents can’t be completely avoided in life, but children can be helped through those experiences in numerous therapeutic ways, which can be tailored to individual need and circumstances.

The organisations below offer therapeutic support to help individuals heal from Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Adoption Support Fund (ASF) can be accessed by adoptive families and those with special guardianship orders to help fund some therapeutic support services.

https://beaconhouse.org.uk/

https://www.naotp.com/

The following resource also provides ACE score questions and resilience score questions, which may be of some help if you’ve been experiencing health difficulties for some time and perhaps haven’t quite been able to pinpoint why or where it may be stemming from.

https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/ (ACE score and resilience Score).

 

Supporting Those Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder – Guest Blog Post By Jenny Robertson

Supporting Those Diagnosed With Borderline Personality Disorder – Guest Blog Post By Jenny Robertson

Over the course of my career, I have often worked with clients diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

How to understand and help those affected by depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns is often shared and discussed on social media, but there tends to be far less information circulated about BPD.

I wanted to share some factors which are helpful to recognise, to avoid misunderstandings and conflict and support those affected.

The current Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) defines the main features of BPD as “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and effect, as well as markedly impulsive behaviour, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts”.

BPD is indicated by the presence of five (or more) of the following:

  1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (not including suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in Criterion 5)
  2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealisation and devaluation
  3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). (not including suicidal or self-mutilating behaviour covered in Criterion 5)
  5. Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behaviour
  6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

It should be noted that diagnosis is difficult and not always accurate, with the term itself is controversial and said to generate stigma.

BPD is found in around 0.7% of the general population, with a far higher prevalence among those in mental healthcare and forensic settings. There is conflicting data as to gender differences in the prevalence of BPD: it is sometimes found to be more common among women, with other studies indicating no difference.

There is little research focussing on BPD among those with non-binary gender identities.

Causes are not clear, though developmental trauma and abuse have been found to be high among those diagnosed, with neurobiological, genetic and psychosocial factors all viewed as playing a role in the onset of BPD.

For those with BPD, relationships can be very difficult. There can be a powerful fear of being abandoned, paired with a real struggle to make and keep friends, despite trying very hard to do so. Others are inadvertently driven away, as behaviour swings from clinging and idolising to hateful anger.

Loneliness and rejection are often experienced, but difficult to tolerate and express. This quote from Mind is illustrative: “The worst part of my BPD is the insecure relationships … when I am attached to someone, they are my whole world and it is crippling”.

Intense, labile emotions last from hours to days. Those with BPD can have an underdeveloped sense of identity, mirroring those admired and often changing and shifting image.

Feelings of emptiness and impulsivity can lead to extensive drug and alcohol use and other risk-taking behaviours, which can be alarming and concerning to those supporting them.

As a practitioner, working with someone with BPD can be challenging. A therapeutic alliance can appear to be blossoming well, when suddenly an action is perceived as a slight, a comment interpreted as an insult, or a distressing mood is experienced by the client, and the relationship completely shifts.

Accusations can be made, communication withdrawn, hostile emotions can erupt. The therapist can be left wondering what they have done wrong and how they can regain the former dynamic.

Friends, family members and partners supporting someone with BPD can have similarly bewildering experiences.

While it can seem impossible at times, it is essential to remember that people with BPD can heal and achieve balance and that research increasingly evidences that the condition is not as resistant to change as previously thought.

The role of validation is important. In common parlance this word is often used as a negative term, applied when someone is perceived to be agreeing with, excusing, permitting or minimising inappropriate conduct.

However, validation is the act of communicating to another person that you recognise and acknowledge their emotions, thoughts and experiences, even if you disagree or are upset by their words or actions.

Explaining to the loved one or client with BPD that you are present, listening, trying to understand and remain aware that historical and recent experiences might be impacting how they are thinking, acting and feeling in the moment can help to avoid communication breakdowns.

For an extensive exploration on Marsha Lineman’s six stages of validation, please see here.

Setting and maintaining boundaries is a particularly challenging aspect of supporting someone with BPD. Clear and consistent boundaries ensure a sense of comfort, safety and respect in a personal or professional relationship, but those with BPD can, consciously or unconsciously, be inclined to test the boundaries of others.

This may be in the form of demands and requests, timekeeping issues such as arriving late, missing sessions or wanting to remain in session after the designated time has elapsed, overfamiliarity, aggression or intimidating use of language and tone.

Succumbing to the temptation to permit or tolerate boundary transgressions leads to a sense of confusion for both parties, as what is acceptable and unacceptable becomes less clear and more difficult to vocalise.

Honesty, clarity, assertiveness and the willingness to respectfully challenge is important in establishing a predictable routine. For those with BPD, this sense of stability and trust can be pivotal.

A strengths-based approach is beneficial. To the person with BPD, conflict and a focus on problems may feel all too familiar.  Highlighting areas of proficiency, genuine interest and progress helps cultivate an internal locus of self-worth, esteem and identity.

Finally, patience is key. As stated above, those with BPD can take time to settle into relationships and can find establishing clear lines of communication with others difficult at times. It is therefore important to allow time and space for an alliance to grow.

Emotional Intelligence, A Perspective & Guide For Teachers – Guest Blog Post by Gobiner Gill

Emotional Intelligence, A Perspective & Guide For Teachers – Guest Blog Post by Gobiner Gill

Performance levels can increase with the use of a positive mindset as it facilitates direction and focus. The relationship between mental preparation and positive psychology becomes important and there is evidence of its use in business, education and sport.

It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the use of positive psychology should form part of teacher training and induction programmes. Given the contention that psychology plays an integral role within teaching, it would be purposeful to argue of its merit for teachers in classroom settings.

One key concept that resonates closely with teaching is emotion and its impact during the academic year. Teachers invariably elicit a range of emotions that have the potential to impact students and colleagues.

Therefore, teachers need to understand the complexity of emotions and regulate these accordingly. Effective emotional regulation could lead to more effective and facilitated performance levels. The regulation of emotion can be understood through the theory of emotional intelligence (Goleman, 2004; Mayer & Savoley, 1990).

In examining the nature of emotional intelligence and its importance within teaching, this chapter advocates its value for teachers. Through the use of grounded theory, teachers will be supported to facilitate strategies to enhance and increase emotional intelligence levels for themselves to be used within their professional practice. This chapter will be split into the following sections:

  • Outline the definition and conceptual space of emotional intelligence
  • Identify research avenues that promote the efficacy of emotional intelligence
  • Facilitate the purpose of emotional intelligence in teaching with the use of the Daniel Goleman (2004) model

Definition of emotional intelligence and conceptual space

Emotional intelligence has been defined as ‘the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotion, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions’ (Salovey & Mayer, 1990, p. 189). A closer inspection of this definition clearly aligns to the work of a teacher.

For example, teachers will be in constant dialogue with their emotions in both favourable and unfavourable situations. A favourable situation may surmount to success during a teaching observation. An unfavourable situation may surmount to an inability to cope with stress and pressures of time management. Based on these situations teachers should be in a position to understand their own feelings and emotions these have on students and colleagues.

The framework of emotional intelligence provides opportunities for teachers to engineer their own thinking and support students and colleagues that they work alongside. It has been outlined by Mayer & Salovey (1990) that people who exhibit higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to control their emotions and regulate these appropriately in order to support others.

It is postulated that teachers who are in control of their own emotions will demonstrate positive body language and display effective verbal expressions. Therefore, it is proposed that teachers should employ emotional intelligence to identify their own feelings and that of students and colleagues in accordance with the situation. In consideration of this suggestion, it would be purposeful to evidence previous research that has utilised emotional intelligence in different fields.

Identify research that promotes the efficacy of emotional intelligence in different fields

Extensive research has been carried out on emotional intelligence within the last 30 years (Goleman, 2004; Petrides, Furnham, & Frederickson, 2004; Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

The effectiveness of emotional intelligence has been largely evidenced through meta-analysis research carried out by (Van Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004). Based on the meta-analysis results it would be prudent to examine how emotional intelligence can influence teachers with evidence from other sectors.

The business sector can demonstrate possible relationships that co-exist within teaching. One would expect teachers and business leaders to lead with a clear philosophy, demonstrate competency and control.

Further, both the business and education sectors share common goals that demand results and success. Arguably, one could resonate that business leaders and teachers who think ahead and act on impulse are likely to direct performers to change strategy and action plans.

Research by Freedman (2010) highlights that leaders with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to achieve greater sales, productivity, profitability, and customer loyalty. In substantiating this evidence further, Freedman (2010) highlights a number of research explorations related to business that identify how awareness, self-management of emotions, motivation, empathy and social skills contribute to greater effectiveness in business.

Arguably, aspects highlighted in the research by Freedman (2010) give credence to their utility and purpose within teaching. Recently, Turner and Baker (2014) have also outlined how sports psychology can support the business sector to utilize transferable skills to increase performance levels.

The education sector is another area that resonates closely to emotional intelligence and teaching. For example, one key characteristic for educators and teaching relates to guidance and support to foster learner development and progress in delivering success.

To supplement this further, practitioners within education deliver excellence to their students to provide a pathway for future success with facilitated learning. A key determinant within education and teaching is motivation, which compromises both intrinsic and extrinsic values.

To supplement the facilitative nature of motivation it is suggestive that practitioners utilize a mixture of strategies. Arguably, teachers require an inner self-drive to enthuse those that they are providing opportunities to succeed. The demonstration of communication is also important to teaching.

Within teaching, it is suggested that coaches regulate their emotions by employing strategies to remain in control during intense situations. A closer examination of emotional intelligence, therefore, is suggestive that teaching demonstrates alignment with emotional regulation. In making this assumption it would be ideal to propose the impact of emotional intelligence and teaching efficacy.

One could argue that there is a close alignment between emotional intelligence and teaching characteristics including game strategy, technique and character development. Research evidence of Thelwell et al. (2006) has considered the relationship between emotional intelligence and coaching efficacy to determine coaching relationships.

Thewell et al. (2006) identified the characteristics of coaching efficacy aligned closely with emotional intelligence.  The key emphasis of the research outlined that coaches whose levels of emotional intelligence were high were likely to support performers more effectively.

The evidence presented above demonstrates co-existence and effectiveness of emotional intelligence within the business, education and sports sectors. In consideration of this, it has become pertinent to assess the potential relationship between emotional intelligence and teaching to enable opportunities to apply transferable skills within the applied practice.

In consideration of this, the purpose of the next section is to apply emotional intelligence to teaching. It is proposed that emotional intelligence will allow teachers opportunities to increase the self-awareness of practices. Through self-awareness, a teacher could self-regulate their emotions and support students with motivation.

Further, it is proposed that building empathy and addressing relationship management skills would facilitate effective teaching practices.

Propose the Daniel Goleman (2004) model of emotional intelligence and associate its link to teaching

The Daniel Goleman (2004) model of emotional intelligence contains five aspects that align closely with teaching practices. Given the flexibility of this model, it provides opportunities for teachers to employ it through an interchangeable process.

Therefore, an explanation of each aspect of the model and its influence to improve performance levels will be provided. To utilize this influence an emphasis on promoting the use of activities that could help increase emotional intelligence will be offered.

1) Self-Awareness

One of the central tenants of the Goleman (2004) model is self-awareness, which is defined as ‘the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, and drives, as well as their effect on others,’ (Goleman, 2004, p. 88). Self-awareness is an integral process as it provides a platform from which a core basis of the emotional intelligence paradigm is built.

Arguably, to demonstrate and facilitate high-quality teaching one could postulate teachers acquire increased levels of self-awareness. Teachers who exhibit high levels of self-awareness better understand their own emotions and regulate these accordingly.

Further, teachers that exhibit increased levels of self-awareness are more likely to assess and evaluate their own sessions and employ self-reflection. Therefore, teachers who are self-aware of their ability to communicate during lessons are most likely to engineer appropriate responses from students. Indeed, teachers who increase their own self-awareness levels are most likely to help facilitate and guide students and colleagues to increase attainment levels.

The process of increasing self-awareness could be formed from facilitative techniques and strategies. In raising self-awareness levels we are educating young and upcoming teachers and those who have been in the profession for a long time the art of understanding their own behaviour and to regulate emotive patterns.

Given the important context of self-awareness and its relationship with effective performance, it is proposed that teachers utilise the process of identification. Through the process of identification, it is hoped that teachers build their own levels of self-awareness.

One example of raising self-awareness is through the process of identifying emotions and their impact during successful and unsuccessful situations within classroom practice, as demonstrated by the worksheet below.

Worksheet 1: Positive and Negative Cycle

Positive Cycle

Negative Cycle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is recommended that teachers focus on thought processes, body language and expressions displayed to outline their emotions during positive and negative cycles. Teachers should compare and contrast various emotions to increase self-awareness levels.

To facilitate levels of self-awareness, it is recommended that teachers implement the use of reflective practice (Knowles, 2007). Reflective practice is pertinent for teaching as it enables an opportunity to identify own strengths and areas to improve.

In application, it is proposed that once emotions have been identified and a period of reflection takes place, opportunities emerge for teachers to implement strategies to facilitate applied practice. Through the use of positive and negative cycles, it is further recommended that teachers utilize the practice of assessing their emotions on a consistent basis.

2) Self-Management of Emotions

The second aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is the self-management of emotions, which is defined as ‘the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods; the tendency to suspend judgment to think before acting’ (Goleman, 2004, p. 88).

Managing own emotion(s) is important because it offers a sense of control and the ability to think logically. Further, managing own emotions enable teachers to facilitate directive actions. Given the varied role of teachers, it is unsurprising that they will exhibit a continuum of emotions from the students they teach.

Therefore, teachers should employ strategies to facilitate and self-manage emotion. Research by Thelwell et al. (2006) identified that effective coaches arguably are those that can regulate their own emotions. In other words, coaches who fail to regulate their own emotions will not be successful in controlling those of their players.

Good coaches are more likely to be in control of their emotions and regulate these during appropriate situations on a consistent basis. There is indeed an opportunity to assess how this research can apply to teaching practices. Good teachers that have control of the situation are more likely to deal with issues with effective self-awareness. This can apply to all teachers irrespective of experience.

To self-manage emotions, the worksheet below is designed to allow opportunities for teachers to facilitate their own emotions. It is proposed that teachers facilitate opportunities to identify both positive and negative emotions within their own professional practice.

The self-management process worksheet is designed for teachers to examine and assess reaction to both positive and negative emotion outcomes. It is hoped that teachers can through identified interpretation and raised self-awareness regulate and self-manage emotions within a reflective process.

Within the professional practice, teachers are sometimes asked about the distance their students have travelled. This worksheet should actually support teachers to realise the distance they have travelled when managing their emotions during negative and positive situations.

Worksheet 2: The Self-Management Process

Anger/Disappointment/Frustration

Happy/Excited/Joyful

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 3) Empathy

The third aspect of the Goleman (2004) model relates to empathy, which is having the ability to understand students and work colleagues and their needs but also finding the balance with own requirements. Therefore, a teacher who demonstrates empathy with their students or colleagues would understand needs and emotions more effectively.

Empathy is an important aspect and teachers should look at facilitating as many opportunities to support students. Through the use of empathy, it would be useful for students to know that peers are responsive to their needs and requirements. Building empathy in teaching is important because teachers with higher empathy levels are able to better understand players.

Benefits of empathy

Opportunities to increase empathy levels

1) A better understanding of colleagues and students 1) Peer observation with fellow teachers
2) Demonstrates opportunities to support other colleagues 2) Video/visual recording of oneself and other teachers
3) Allows the implementation of strategies at an early intervention stage 3) Maintain a reflective log or journal to write down how you deal with situations
4) Associates with the ability to assess body language 4) Use mirror images – to see yourself in reflection so you can ask questions of your body language, expression or emotions
5) Associates with the ability to assess expressions 5) Have regular scenario building meetings to examine empathy levels
6) Associates with the ability to assess emotions 6) Associate with practitioners from different backgrounds and teaching specialisms to increase transferable skills

The worksheet on empathy is designed for teachers to better understand their working practices. In proposal, it is suggestive that teachers identify peers that they work with and assess how they relate to working under pressure.

To facilitate this activity, it is proposed that teachers identify two colleagues (present or from previous experience) and assesses their empathy levels and emotion when working under pressure.

Having considered this process, teachers should seek to understand their behaviour and how they would react to similar situations. This approach provides opportunities for teachers to examine their own levels of empathy in given situations.

Worksheet 3: Empathy

Individual 1 (Positive Teacher)

(Working under pressure)

Individual 2 (Negative Teacher)

(Working under pressure)

Myself

(Working under pressure)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4) Motivation

The fourth aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is motivation, which is defined as the inner self-drive to achieve goals. Teachers should be in control of their motivation to engineer motivational responses from students. A popular strategy employed in education is the use of goal setting.

It has been demonstrated that when goal setting is employed effectively it increases motivational qualities (Locke & Latham, 1990). To make sure that goal setting is applied and effective it is highly recommended that teachers employ goal setting that includes process and performance goals.

Goal setting provides opportunities for teachers to direct focus to increase motivational properties of their own working practices and students. Given the value of goal setting, it is proposed that it should be employed by teachers to enhance emotional intelligence and motivation.

To provide opportunities to increase motivation levels the goal setting matrix has been designed to support teachers. The goal-setting matrix enables teachers to design purposeful interventions to enhance performance levels.

To elicit short-term gains, it is proposed that teachers utilize the matrix on a three-week period. This short period will allow teachers opportunities to provide individual feedback. It is recommended that teachers introduce mental, technical, physical and nutritional goals to facilitate performance levels.

Further, this matrix will enable teachers to focus on integral aspects relative to performance levels.

Worksheet 4: Goal Setting

Aspect

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

Mental

 

Physical

 

Technical

 

Nutritional

 

5) Relationship Management

The final aspect of the Goleman (2004) model is relationship management, which is the consequence of developing skills and strategies in managing others. Good relationships allow an opportunity for effective team unity and group cohesion.

Arguably, effective group cohesion increases the likelihood of success. Developing effective relationships with peers and students is important as they can exhibit an array of different personality traits.

The management of relationships is important given the varied role of teachers that resonate from continuous professional development, teaching and learning, assessment and report writing.

The following strategies are recommended for teachers to implement within their professional practice to facilitate relationship management:

  • Setting ground rules that inform students of roles and responsibilities
  • Develop teaching practices that enable students to combine and build group dynamics through lessons and tutorials
  • Incorporate methods into tutorials to support students in developing task and social cohesion
  • Process avenues that foster intrinsic and extrinsic motivation

The Relationship Management Model

Teachers should consider the model above to demonstrate the importance of effective relationship management. Effective relationship management skills should enable teachers to coerce students to engineer associated group cohesion. Therefore, teachers should be implicit in developing practices that form effective group cohesion.

Building effective group cohesion enables teams to impact performance levels more effectively than those who have ineffective group practices. It is recommended that teachers should also implement the following strategies:

  • Foster effective relationships through engagement and reflective practice to enable teachers and students to develop self-awareness.
  • Implement varied training methods to encourage students to facilitate problem-solving skills.
  • Teachers are encouraged to implement transferable skills from other educational domains to elicit different behaviours but also allow engagement within own practices.
  • Allow opportunities for students to engage with performance and social related activities to develop effective group building exercises to increase cohesion levels.

Summary

The main emphasis of this chapter was to highlight the benefit of sports psychology and in particular emotional intelligence within teaching. Through enhancing, levels of self-awareness teachers should be in a position to make applied practice more effective.

In addition, teachers who increase their own self-awareness levels will facilitate effective self-regulation and emotional control. Enhanced levels of emotional intelligence would also enable the formation of increased motivation and regulated empathy.

The rubric of emotional intelligence also allows teachers to develop effective relationship management to increase group dynamics. In summary, the evidence clearly stipulates the benefits of increased emotional intelligence to enhance performance levels.

References:

Goleman, D. (2004). What Makes a Leader? Harvard Business Review, 82(1), 82-91.

Knowles, Z., Gilbourne, D., & Tomlinson, V. (2007). Reflections on the application of reflective practice for supervision in applied sport psychology. SPORT PSYCHOL, 21(1), 109-122.

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Petrides, K. V., Furnham, A., & Frederickson, N. (2004). Emotional intelligence. The Psychologist, 17, 574-577.

Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. D. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9, 185-211.

Thelwell, R., Lane, A. M., Weston, N. J. V., & Greenlees, I. A. (2008). Examining relationships between emotional intelligence and coaching efficacy. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 6, 224-235. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2008.9671863

Turner, M., & Baker, J. (2014) What Business Can Learn from Sport Psychology: Ten Lessons for Peak Professional Performance. Amazon.

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How Blog Psychology Contributes To Discussions In Mental Health – Guest Blog Post by Dennis Relojo-Howell, Founder of Psychreg

How Blog Psychology Contributes To Discussions In Mental Health – Guest Blog Post by Dennis Relojo-Howell, Founder of Psychreg

Due to the popularity of blogs, there are now many people who are increasingly aware of mental health issues. And those who are struggling with them are now more open to talking about it.

Indeed, mental health blogs promote important conversations on mental health, all because of the explosion of the blogging culture.

It is estimated that there are more than 1.8 billion websites. These websites are typically dedicated to a particular topic or purpose, ranging from entertainment and social networking to providing news and, more importantly, as an avenue for critical discussions.


Blogs are essentially another form of websites. At its core, blogs are dynamic websites which are regularly updated and allow reader engagement. Psychreg for instance, allows its readers to engage in a range of topics in psychology, mental health and well-being – with the ultimate aim of addressing intertwined issues within the realms of the discipline.

https://youtu.be/J4AIpxzXUCs


It is recognised that blogging started in 1994, with Links.net considered to be the first ever blog. Blogging has come a long way – from being interactive, online forms of the traditional personal diary to becoming a repository of critical discussions.

What makes blogging even more remarkable is that it is democratic: Anyone can start their own. Indeed, when I decided to launch my own psychology blog, Psychreg, I found the process to be pretty straightforward.
Taking into account these features of blogging, it is arguably one of the most effective medium to raise awareness about mental health.


Blogs demonstrate that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. This is the core reason why I developed Psychreg to become a platform for people afflicted with mental health issues to share their narratives. Through the use of blogs, the powerful lived-experience narratives are reaching far more people.


With the increasing popularity of blogs, it is only sensible that they should be adapted in order to change the way people think and act about mental health.


It is comforting to know that across the world, people use blogs as an effective medium to share their narratives and experiences, to increase awareness and understanding, and to offer comfort and support. And not only that, blogs in similar genres are now being given recognition similar to those of mainstream blogs.


Needless to say, blogging is not just simply writing a blog post (and getting to grips with WordPress); there is a psychology behind it. An emerging subfield in psychology that focuses on the application of psychological principles and research in order to optimise the benefits that readers can derive from consuming blogs is known as blog psychology.


A recently published article in the Psychreg Journal of Psychology explored the theoretical underpinnings of blog psychology such as readers’ perception, cognition, and humanistic components in regards to their experience of reading blogs.


Although blog psychology is still in its infancy, there is definitely a huge potential to it towards contributing to the discipline of mental health.

With the continued popularity of blogs, it is crucial that a specialised discipline be developed to encompass all forms of internet-mediated communication, specifically in blogs, such as the use, design, and its impact on mental health and well-being of its readers.

It is also important that mental health bloggers network with each other to share best practices, which was the aim of 1st Mental Health Bloggers Conference held in London last December 2018.


Critical discussions about psychology, mental health, and well-being play a vital role in helping people feel better about themselves.

Blogging provides researchers and practitioners an excellent opportunity to create these conversations. It allows people to feel more connected to the world outside their home through the internet.

This is the very reason the world needs dedicated mental health bloggers, who will talk about relevant health psychology, mental health and well-being issues.

They can help us think progressively and critically, and in essence, help us build a world where everyone takes mental health and well-being more seriously.

Understanding Medical Unclassified Symptoms (MUS), Does Mental Health Play A Role? – Guest Blog Post By Rosie Allden

Understanding Medical Unclassified Symptoms (MUS), Does Mental Health Play A Role? – Guest Blog Post By Rosie Allden

Have you ever suffered lower back pain or pain in general that you can’t explain? An enduring headache that aspirin or ibuprofen won’t kick? A change in your inner works?

Then a few days, a week, a year later it resolves itself? Or maybe its ongoing and your doctor is stuck of how to help? You may have had or have what is termed a medically unclassified symptom.

Physical complaints without being explained by a sports injury or biological cause can be classified as medically unclassified symptoms (MUS). MUS are any physical complaint without any found organic cause or pathology and account for 1 in 5 general practitioner consults in the United Kingdom.

MUS has its own thesaurus of names explaining the same phenomena: somatisation; functional somatisation; psychosomatic and functional symptoms.

Further classified into a number of disorders: somatic symptoms disorder; somatoform disorder; functional somatic syndrome; bodily distress syndrome; functional disorders; and conversion disorder, all disorders denoting physical symptoms with no identifiable cause and un-diagnosable by any medical test.

Then a spanner in the works with functional neurological disorder (FND), that poses physical symptoms to be caused by the nervous system, rather than physical or neurological disorders.

All the disorders are arguably contested illnesses, illnesses not taken seriously in medicine due to no pathological explanatory basis, despite its impact on individuals functioning.

A number of symptoms fall under this bumbershoot; muscular, joint and back pain, the chronic of which is increasingly termed fibromyalgia, a condition of enduring pain; headaches; heart palpitations and chest pains; irritable bowel syndrome; faintness; and tiredness, associated and in chronic cases diagnosable as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) also known as myalgia encephalometric (ME), extreme fatigue.

A proposed 1.5 to 2 million people in the U.K have fibromyalgia and 260,000 individuals have CFS with a trend of incidences between the two and further co-morbidities with other health difficulties.

A number of theories pose to explain these difficult disorders and include traumatic injury, arthritis, autoimmune and, or nervous system abnormalities, although remain inconclusive.

This blog will emit fibromyalgia and CFS, as they are independently recognised disorders and will focus on other MUS symptomology that remain an enigma in the biomedical texts.

The surge of unidentifiable symptoms has been recognised in Germany with the division of mental health care into psychiatric and psychosomatic, the U.K in comparison operates from the dual model of physical, with various specialities and mental (psychiatric) health.

Interestingly individuals with psychological distress will present with unexplainable physical symptoms and similarly, those suffering stress will demonstrate similar physical complaints with chronic stress acting as a catalyst in a number of illnesses.

We have all undoubtedly heard of the brain-gut axis, the communication of brain to gut and gut to the brain; gut microbes attributable to our mental health and counter to this mental health associated with irritable bowel syndrome.

Then there are the less common brain-uterus, for both sexes, there is the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, which keeps our reproductive centres and immune systems in check.

We as a species are a mind-field of axes in the conjunction of physical and psychological health and is levelled-up or levelled-down as a result of our endocrine system, our perfume centres spritzing out hormones.

When stressed cortisol prepares our innate autonomic nervous response of either fight, flight or (a less effective survival instinct if you’re not a possum) freeze, either to conserve the energy to at some point leg it or conjure the energy to fight.

Unfortunately, in this stone-age, we can’t fight it out with other humans (it’s not an accepted practice) nor can we set fire to our workload, walk away from our desks and be done with it.

This primal response is synched with the tenth cranial nerve (vagus nerve) (known as the polyvagal theory), this nerve sends messages from your brain to your heart, lungs and digestive tract.

Picture this, you are about to do a speech to a large group of people, before stepping out your heart beat increases (circulating the blood to all extremities, including feet, essential for the flight component), your breath might quicken and shorten and your tummy knots (the expression ‘bricking it,’ is literal).

Congratulations your nervous systems are working, and after the speech, your cortisol will ease up on the ninja grip and you will go back to an equilibrium.

In the potentiation of stress may mean this equilibrium isn’t restored and remains on full volume (this is the case in PTSD), whilst one night of not sleep fretting about the presentation tomorrow, a week, a month of not sleeping impacts individuals’ health.

Stress has been linked to not just insomnia but asthma; brain shrinkage and memory loss, a catalyst in the development of Alzheimer’s; circulatory problems; gastrointestinal disorders; hypertension; cardiovascular diseases, to name a few, let alone depression, anxiety and headaches from the stress of it all.

The use of stress management mediates our heightened responses into the awareness that it is unlikely that the audience you are presenting to is going to go after you with pitchforks and this can be aided with the likes of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Generally, if we are stressed we are somewhat psychological distressed and if we are psychologically distressed we will be stressed. An example of a nervous breakdown whilst donating a psychological state is a result of a number of stressors, neither is exclusive.

The therapeutic techniques of CBT and similar, are psychological techniques found effective in the management and mediation of pain and in the symptoms associated with MUS.

The enigmatic circumstance of MUS may well be the mysterious soup of our body’s response to psychological distress and stress with the endocrine and nervous systems responding appropriately or not, affecting our physical health.

This blog touches on only one of our motion centred room odourise going off (cortisol), we have a collective of 50 different hormones simultaneously operating all at the same time… Giving rise to potential toxic chloroform to our body’s regular functioning.

For further reading check out Dr O’Sullivans, ‘It’s all in your head.’ Check it out by clicking here

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