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How To Be Mentally Tougher


smart classroom management: how to be mentally tougher

To be an effective teacher in this day and age, you’ve got to be mentally tough.

You’ve got to be able to say no.

You’ve got to be able to follow your classroom management plan as written and maintain a calm disposition.

If you’ve struggled with these areas in the past, and are looking for ways to strengthen your resolve, we’ve got you covered.

What follows are six disciplines anyone can do that are proven to help.

1. Sit in silence.

If you’ve become addicted to your phone, the internet, or social media—and thus have weakened impulse control—this first one is surprisingly difficult.

You can meditate if you wish or just be with your thoughts. But the act of doing nothing will help revert you to a calmer, more patient, and disciplined state of mind.

For a greater challenge, do it with your phone within reach.

2. Turn off your phone.

Taking regular breaks from your phone will put you back in touch with your natural rhythms. As long as you know where your loved ones are, then just shut it down.

Go do something productive. Make something with your hands. Go for a walk in nature or work in your yard.

Slow your body and your mind will follow. If you’re swayed by the pull of your phone, then you’ll likely be more easily swayed by your students.

3. Read more.

Some people report that they can’t concentrate enough to read anymore, at least not nearly as long as they were once able.

But reading strengthens the mind. It trains focus and reduces stress. The key is to do it every day and for longer periods of time until you’re able to read for at least 30 minutes nonstop.

Anything that instills discipline will make you tougher in the classroom and more able to stand your ground.

4. Exercise.

Turn off the music and podcasts. Don’t watch television. Just focus on your breath or let your mind wander.

You may also want to challenge yourself by doing exercises that take mental strength, like planks, squat holds, and yoga poses.

Time yourself for each and push the envelop every workout.

5. Take cold showers.

This one hurts. It also takes some time getting used to. You may want to start with slowly cooling the water at the end of your showers.

In time, you’ll be able to jump right in at the coldest setting. Cold exposure has many physical benefits, but it also takes lots of mental strength and courage.

According to research, the pain of cold showers triggers chemicals in the brain that counteract the discomfort, leaving you calmer and happier for hours afterward.

6. Fast.

Waiting until you’re hungry before eating also has many physical benefits, but it also clears the mind and sharpens thinking.

The mental strength comes from delaying gratification, which has been shown to correlate with success.

I recommend eating twice per day. No snacking. Preferably with a 16-hour window of no eating.

Note: Please check with your doctor before doing numbers 4-6.

Try Just One

What’s great about these disciplines is that the benefits go beyond strengthening your ability to be a consistent leader for your students.

They’re also associated with better well-being and fulfillment.

They flood the body with healthy endorphins and counteract the negative effects of stress and binging on screens and unhealthy food.

Start with just one idea above and stick with it for at least two weeks. It may take that long to overcome your resistance.

Once you do, however, once you get comfortable, it’s a sign you’ve gotten mentally tougher.

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