Why we need to keep a sense of perspective

The way you measure a society’s soul is by the way that it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

Issue No. 128 – 27 May 2013

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Why we need to keep a sense of perspective

Dr Jenny Brockis is a friend of mine and she specialises in brain fitness (www.drjennybrockis.com). Her articles are always interesting and this one was particularly so because I see it relating very much to teachers, rather than children. I was talking to a woman recently who is a councillor at a Perth university. She said most of the people who come to see her are staff, not students, because they are so stressed out and under pressure. Now what does that say about our education system? Teachers, whether at early childhood, primary, secondary or tertiary level, can very easily lose perspective because of their dedication to their career. They often go above and beyond the call of duty and as a result, their mental health can suffer just as much, if not more so, as their physical health. Read what Jenny has to say and I hope it helps. It is reproduced here with permission.

A group of us had been having a bit of a discussion about those big events in our lives and how the accompanying anxiety can sometimes completely wreck our enjoyment of what should be a joyful of exciting occasion. My friend Claire from Savagely Creative who is a bit of a brain, said “Jenny you must watch this video clip if you want to know how to help keep things in perspective.”

Our Claire has a wicked sense of humour and the clip is hilarious.

You will never have to worry again about the difference between being “small” and “far away.”

You may always see cows in a different light as well…

Watch the video here http://youtu.be/vh5kZ4uIUC0

But isn’t it true that sometimes when we have something important on our minds, it can sometimes start to weigh a bit heavy and if we are not careful it can completely overwhelm us.

The incidence of depression in our society is escalating at an alarming rate. Depression is now already the leading cause of disability in the workplace globally.

But what is perhaps more disturbing is that depression is not the most common form of mental disorder that we suffer.

That accolade goes to anxiety.

It appears that more and more of us have to counter our demons of anxiety on a daily basis. Tasha Broomhall from Blooming Minds reminds us that our mental wellbeing is every bit as important as our physical wellbeing and yet how many of us ever go along to our GP for a mental check up?

In the light of the evidence that one in five Australians will suffer an episode of mental illness in any given year, perhaps we need to start addressing this problem.

Why are we all experiencing so much anxiety at a time when we are living longer, enjoying better nutrition, health and living conditions and at a time when our wonderful technology has provided us all with so much we can take advantage of?

Is it that we have merely lost our sense of perspective?

Our brain is constantly adapting to our environment. It is set up to detect anything new, that is different, because it could potentially be something that is dangerous to us. That ability to detect danger is what has allowed us to survive.

Our modern society provides us with a constant supply of novelty, to excess. Our poor brains never get a chance to draw breath for long enough to evaluate the first new item to determine whether it is safe or not, when there is something else new vying for our attention. Consequently our brain remains in a state of being hyper-aroused and doesn’t get a chance to quieten down.

Our access to technology adds to this burden of continuous accessibility and connectivity and we experience an ever-growing amount of stress that can manifest itself as fear or anxiety.

So what can you do to keep things in better perspective?

  1. Use humour. If you watched the video clip, it may have already have helped to reduce your stress hormones, your blood pressure and maybe even made you smile. If we practice having a good laugh every day about something, it really does make a difference.
  2. Share your concerns with a friend or someone you trust. As the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. Another person will see the situation with a fresh pair of eyes, which may help you to regain a sense of perspective about the whole situation.
  3. Have a quiet time just for you, everyday. Do you have a special place, somewhere where you can be alone and just enjoy a short time of peace and solitude? Even if it is only for ten minutes, your brain will enjoy the break.
  4. Get enough sleep. Worries of course can impair our sleep pattern, but sleep deprivation will make our worries seem bigger. Sleep is often a good time for your brain to find a solution to what has been on your mind.
  5. Know that you are not alone. That whatever concerns you; other people will have other worries that concern them too. Hearing about what other people have had to deal with, stories of courage and overcoming adversity can all help to remind us that sometimes we do sweat the small stuff, and we really don’t have to.
  6. Stop and breathe. Practising deep breathing exercises, doing regular exercise, practising forms of meditation including Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi and mindfulness are all powerful ways to enhance resilience to stress.
  7. Get help. If your anxiety has grown to the size to be impinging too much on your life and not in a good way – it’s time to consider getting professional help. A life without anxiety is so much more enjoyable than enduring a life with it.

How do you keep a sense of perspective in your world?

Do you watch comedy programs or perhaps volunteer for charity work?

Do you take time out on a regular basis to reconnect with nature, go walking or travel to other lands and other cultures?

Do you spend time with those who mean the most to you, enjoying their company, sharing love and laughs?

Are those cows still “far away?”

Photo credit: Philipp Klinger Photography via Compfight

Copyright © 2013 Brain Fit, All rights reserved

Kidz-Fiz-Biz Resources

To keep your sanity and help in the classroom, check out the Kidz-Fiz-Biz resources

Wanting to attend a PD but not in Perth? Check out the Kidz-Fiz-Biz DVD Let’s Get Physical.

Quotes of the Week

“When the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the door which has been opened for us.” ~ Anon


The Bathtub Test

During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the director, “How do you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized?”

“Well,” said the director, “We fill up a bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No.” said the director, “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”


“It was all excellent. I loved the relaxation and quiet techniques.” ~ Marg Grover, Perth

“Hello Marlene! Are you planning to come to the UK? I would so love to attend your workshop. Your book is fantastic – fun plus quality. Thank you for all the fun you have given us. With best wishes, Diana Thompson”

About The Author

Marlene Rattigan B.A., Dip. Ed. (ECS), CELTA

Marlene Rattigan is an Early Childhood teacher, a teacher of English as a Second Language, and from 1987-2000 was a nationally accredited fitness leader. Her background is in music education. A keen interest in motor development in children led to the creation of Kidz-Fiz-Biz which she taught successfully for 13 years. Marlene also conducts workshops for children, teachers and parents at schools, in the community and at festivals. She has produced teaching manuals complete with audio CDs which are an extension of her ‘Kidz-Fiz-Biz’ program.

PO Box 6894, East Perth WA 6892, Australia
T: +61 8 9325 1204 M: +61 (0) 410 64 2781 E: info@kidzfizbiz.com

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Until next time … continue being a legend in your classroom.

Marlene Rattigan, Editor
Kidz Newz

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