Shefar asks: Hey Shirelle, can you tell me how to be quiet? I know this is lame to ask, but I can’t shut my mouth up in classes or anywhere else!
Ha! Oh Shefar if you only knew my neighbors, you’d know how funny your question is. Me teaching how to be quiet is like Marley teaching self-discipline or the hundred and one Dalmatians teaching birth control!
But I’m guessing that you’re not jumping up in class and barking because you hear someone walking around outside. Or standing in the yard barking to hear if anyone responds. You’re probably conversing, or at least responding to something someone else says. This is a really common problem for young people (and some adults), and pretty easy to fix.
It tends to come from being very uncentered. You’re in that giddy, excitable state of mind (which I know well!), and it’s hard to hold that excitement in. Or you’re just being kind of unconscious, saying things without thinking a lot about them first. In both cases, you want to center yourself, before you say a thing.
The easiest way to center yourself is to close your eyes and breathe. Just sit still, breathe deeply, and try to feel the breath go around through your body, in particular noticing any places where your body is tense or tight. If you do that for even just a minute or two, you’ll feel more connected to yourself, more grounded.
Now I understand that it would be difficult to sit in the middle of your classroom and do that breathing trick. Kids would notice, laugh, insult you, etc. So maybe you do it in the restroom. But if you can do it once every hour or two, you’ll find yourself more able to think in a relaxed way. And instead of frantically needing to blurt something out, or thoughtlessly letting words drop out of you, you’ll be able to sit for a moment and think before talking. And then, only talk when it’s what you really want to do and say.
The great thing about doing this today is that it keeps you from getting in much trouble. But in the long term, it will also keep you from saying things you shouldn’t, which will make your life MUCH better.
Give it a try, Shefar. And let me know how it goes.