A few of my students struggle with self-control. Their impulsive behavior leads them into difficulties that they blame on other students (and teachers). “The other kids don’t understand,” or “The teachers take it too seriously,” are common comments that admit no personal responsibility. Indeed, there may be responsibility beyond the personal- other students may be baiting, trying to get a good reaction; perhaps there are structural issues that would better support the students who are struggling. Right now, though, I am going to try a quick ABC with them.
Notice yourself. What are you doing? feeling? thinking? Don’t judge those actions, feelings and thoughts just notice them. Can you name them?
Notice others. What are they doing? feeling? thinking? Can you name what is happening around you. This is a great place to use those inferring skills.
When you came to awareness, were you aware of your breathing? Do that now. Breathe in. How long did you inhale? Hold your breath for that same amount of time. Exhale for that same amount of time. If the first time you inhaled for a count of three, try for a count of four. As you do this, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Be purposeful in your breathing. Try this 5 times: inhale- hold- exhale.
Choose your actions. Will you stay quiet or will you speak up? Will you stay still or will you move. We do not choose our feelings but we can usually choose how we express those feelings. If you are happy at a stadium, you may stand up and cheer for your team. If you are happy at a quiet church service you probably won’t stand up and cheer. At this moment, is one way of acting better than another way? Make your best choice for this moment.
Maybe this will help some of my students. Maybe teaching them will make me better at doing the same. I’ll keep you posted.