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Alan White

Alan White

We are well into a new school year and normally for me this represents a time of new hope, fresh ideas and renewed energy and enthusiasm. It can also be a very difficult time however, for many students as well as teachers. For some students it can be a time when anxieties about school can begin to take hold again. Many teachers begin the school year wondering where they will get the energy needed to meet the many and varying demands that come with teaching.

Very often, these feelings are as a result of our own limiting beliefs. Our internal narrative or the story we tell ourselves, shapes not only our perceptions of the world around us, but also our perceptions of ourselves in the world. More often than not, it is our own limiting beliefs that become our biggest obstacles and prevent us from achieving what we want most.

Personally, the thought of beginning to write these articles again and complete my next book was very challenging. I was beginning to feel that I had run out of ideas and that what I was doing was not having the positive impact that I had hoped it would at this point. This forced me to step back and reflect on what I was doing and what I was trying to achieve.

It took me quite some time to realise that although I may not have achieved all that I wanted to over the past few years, that I was still in a great position where I had the opportunity to be an agent of change in well-being education. Given this opportunity, it is up to me to determine the impact that I can have. When I look back over the past few years, I can become frustrated, but I can also see that I have achieved quite a lot also.

It is through small acts of persistence that we often reach our goals or create change where it is needed. If I look back on the attitudes to well-being that I encountered a short few years ago as opposed to now, I can clearly see that there has been a gradual reduction in the stigmatisation of this subject. It is nowhere near where we need it to be, but there has been a shift in attitudes.

This is a success, no matter how small and should be looked at by those fighting to change attitudes around mental well-being as a motivating factor to be persistent. Changing perceptions of anything can be difficult, especially a topic that has been extremely stigmatised for such a long time.

I regularly meet both parents and students frustrated with varying difficulties that they are facing, both academic and personal and very often by helping them examine their own self-limiting beliefs, they begin to see new ways to overcome their challenges. My advice to both parents and students, is to take things one step at a time and to take a step back and acknowledge not only what they need to do, but also what they have already accomplished. This often motivates people to persist and work through the issues they face.

We all encounter times of frustration and challenge in our lives and it can be an overwhelming feeling at times. However by being patient with ourselves, examining our limiting beliefs and small acts of persistence, we can realise the change we want to see in ourselves. After all, if we want to change the world in which we live, we first have to change ourselves.

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