I am often amazed at how much science and learning is involved in the daily interactions we all make with our environment.
We had the pleasure of welcoming Peter Marks to our agency to help us understand his teaching: Conscious Care and Support. He highlighted so many aspects of our environment that affect our senses and brain throughout the day.
He discussed ‘brain priming,’ saying that if we walked into the liquor store and French music is playing we are more likely to buy French wine. Makes me really think about how so much of our quick decisions in the day are governed by external forces. I know for sure that I am better at making decisions and seeking to understand when I have had a good easy drive to work, rather than a harried drive with lots of challenges. My brain is always at its best when I fell calm and ready to take on the next challenge.
In a field like that of Community Living Trent Highlands operates in, where care of others in their daily needs and goals is the order of the day, it can be challenging to understand what people are truly in need of or communicating when they have challenges.
There is a degree of extra time needed to really understand what the mix of actions, emotions, body language and sometimes words are conveying. We strive to try and orient all our staff to look at a situation from all angles when trying to determine how best to respond.
Is the room noisy, is she missing her mom who is on vacation, did lima beans make it on the menu for tonight, does he have a job interview coming up, is there a holiday coming up or are others in the environment also upset?
Not only in this work, but in life in general everyone is such a huge mix of all their experiences, current focusses and worries and physical wellness, it is critical that we not rush to judge what is needed, but listen, watch, seek to understand.
Just like my driving example, so much anxiety can happen that is completely internal or unseen by others, so therefore completely unknown when there is an interaction that quickly gets heated for no apparent cause.
In our training Peter urged us to look within ourselves when interacting with the individuals that we serve. We are urged to work on our own mindfulness, our own emotional wake and our own observance of deep listening.
Critical skills for our field, but not bad ideas for interacting at every level as a community as fear begets fear and understanding leads to truer inclusion.
Everyone has their own drive to buy a certain kind of wine based on the environment maybe, but equally, everyone has something to offer to make the community better.