Over the past few weeks, we have been lucky enough to have Abbey Piggott come in and speak to the Year 9s. Her talk was titled 'Managing Emotions – Managing Stress'.
Abbey used to be a teacher, developing a passion for supporting students' mental health. She left teaching a few years ago and now owns a business called ‘Southwest Mindfulness’.
Firstly, Abbey told us that the brain is a thought machine, often consumed by reflections on the past and worries about the future. She explained that the brain is in a state of overwhelming stress when these thoughts constantly arise… Worrying about that exam coming up… Upset about a missed goal in basketball on the weekend.
Worry and planning are part of the human condition. We cannot stop them, but we can learn to put them aside when they are not helpful to us. If we spend our time in the present moment, we are much more likely to deal with stress and manage our emotions in a positive way.
We can draw on the Gospel of Matthew that reminds us, “not to worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Abbey provided us with several tools that we can use to spend more time in the present moment. They are particularly useful when we sense ourselves becoming overwhelmed by worries and anxiety.
Abbey introduced us to the ‘calm’ app, developed by Labron James. This provides a series of meditations and reflections narrated by Labron himself, who used mindfulness techniques to become one of the greatest basketballers of all time.
She also taught us the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 strategy. When overwhelmed, we can stop and recognise 5 things we can see, 4 things we can hear, 3 things we can feel, 2 things we can smell and 1 thing we can taste. This can bring us immediately into the present.
As we finish our talk, I invite you to sit still and quiet, breathe deep, and be in the present moment using 5 4 3 2 1.
Jayde and Abigail, Year 9