It’s been a really tough year.

2020 has truly put us through our paces and we may well be feeling that we want this year over, with the promise of a new start next year.

The vaccine brings promise of hope, but we also recognise that normal life may still be a long way off.

As human beings we are predisposed to negativity: because of our brains’ evolution we tend to be focused on ruminating on past events- (what went wrong) or on predicating future events- (what might go wrong?) This was useful when we needed to avoid the sabre-toothed tiger, but less so now, when our brains tend to latch on to less life threatening scenarios! 

Neuro- scientists estimate that we think between 60 000- 80 000 thoughts daily- and the majority of these lie outside our conscious awareness as our brains filter what comes in. However, the thoughts that enter our conscious awareness, we tend to believe to be true. When, in fact, as our awareness increases we can start to catch those thoughts and decide whether we choose to accept them as truth, by asking: 

Is this thought serving me? 

What might I choose to think instead? 

Tell me what you want! 

Due to our brains’ negativity bias, we tend to focus on what we don’t want, when actually we can choose to shift our focus to ‘What do I want instead?’ What we focus on expands, and as, Star Wars fans will know-

In fact, the more we focus on what we want, the easier it becomes for us to create, as when we visualise what we want, we start to create new neural pathways which will help us create success, just as athletes mentally rehearse a race before it happens. 

Countdown to Christmas 

I’ve noticed both in my neighbourhood and on social media that people are starting to put up their Christmas decorations earlier than usual and I will be doing the same. This may be because we’re at home more or because we have more time on our hands- but also because those twinkling Christmas lights represent connection, bringing light in dark times, and the hope of something better.

Hope is absolutely central to our happiness and it seems we have good reason to hope for a better future, but let’s also take time to look back over the course of this year. 2020 has been a tough teacher, but there are lessons we can learn. One lesson for me has been that we are more resilient than we knew. We have all faced challenges this year but we have learned: 

  • To manage our mindsets- by focusing on positive influences and minimising negative- too much news and social media.
  • The importance of community and relationships. We have definitely got to know our neighbours better this year!
  • Our ability to adapt and change.

Be present now

For many years my to do list was my task master. Gradually I’ve learned to pare this down and focus on choosing my own agenda and dialling down the noise of the should dos and the nice to haves. For many years in teaching my brain was always racing ahead, with too many tabs open. I found it hard to focus on one person or one task at a time. Moving to self employment has forced me to take charge of my time and boundaries-  eg switching off my phone when I’m not working to focus on my family, or I would find myself working all of the time!

As we come to the end of the year can you take some time to reflect on what 2020 has taught you.

Sarah Bramall and Rebecca Daniel are ex teachers, with a combined experience of thirty years in secondary education. They are now Transformation Coaches, NLP and DISC practitioners working in education to improve Teacher Well Being. To learn more about the Teacher Well Being Project, please visit us here or connect on Linked In or Facebook.

On November 30th 2020 at 4.00pm BST we invite you to attend a 1-hour free online webinar to help you to shift your focus from the present and look forward to the future, spread peace and goodwill and create deeper connections so you can enter the Christmas break feeling less stressed and more positive for the future.

Click here to reserve your space: