7 Tips to Help Children Manage Stress

Some children mange the pressures of school quite nicely while others find that too many commitments, conflict in their families and problems with peers can be overwhelming. The key to helping kids manage stress is to teach them to problem-solve, plan and know when to say yes and no to activities and commitments. It isn’t to “make everything smooth and comfortable.” Below are 7 tips to help your children manage stress successfully. 1. Stop over-scheduling. One of the biggest stressors for kids is being over-scheduled. Yet children are expected to do well in school, excel at extracurricular activities, come home, finish homework, and go to bed just to do it all over again the next day. Where’s the downtime? Kids need downtime to rejuvenate. Their brains and bodies need to rest. And they might not realize this by themselves. So knowing when your child is over-scheduled is important. 2. Make time for play. Allow children to play with no end goal in mind. Young children do this naturally. Combine play with physical activity, which is critical for well-being. Some ideas include: riding your bikes, throwing around the baseball, wrestling and hiking. 3. Make sleep a priority. Sleep is vital for everything from minimizing stress to boosting mood to improving school performance. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep it may be an indicator that they’re over-scheduled. If possible, keep TV and other electronics out of your child’s bedroom. 4. Teach your children to listen to their bodies. Try this: Sit in the car with your child, and press the gas and brake, and listen to the engine revving. Explain...
Five Positive Practices

Five Positive Practices

We all want to live happy and fulfilled lives. Research in positive psychology suggests that the following tips have the power to actually change your outlook and help improve your satisfaction with life. Whether it’s with a friend, family member, or as a personal challenge, here are five positive practices to bring greater happiness in your life: 1. Live in the Moment.  It is easy to let our thoughts drift into the future or the past.  We think about goals and deadlines, reminisce on good times or perhaps ruminate on bad ones. Perhaps the most difficult, yet rewarding task we can do is to keep our minds in the present.  There are many ways you can practice living in the moment – starting with a personal practice of mindfulness. Not all mindfulness happens in a yoga studio or in a Zen space – it can be as simple as taking deep breaths in the office or listening to the rhythmic sound of your shoes hitting pavement on a walk.  2. Listen to Loved Ones.  With so much information vying for our attention, sometimes it gets hard to focus and we miss important moments. If loved ones are confiding in you, put whatever you are doing aside and listen to the meaning behind their message. Listen to learn. Listen to understand. Put aside the need to fix or help them with whatever they’re saying. Reflect back what you hear them say. Ask them for clarification if their message is confusing. These counseling techniques helps them to become more clear about what is disturbing for them. People typically vent so that...
The Gift of Self-Compassion

The Gift of Self-Compassion

  Are you one of those individuals who has a big heart, is able to forgive others, and drops everything to help others – sometimes at the expense of taking care of your own needs?   Based on a study conducted at the University of Texas at Austin, self-compassion is strongly related to happiness, optimism, reflective wisdom, and personal initiative. If you find yourself continually berating yourself for not meeting your own harsh standards, you may be crippling yourself from actually being able to be happy. Whether it’s showing up late to a meeting, eating a few extra treats during the day, or losing patience with the kids, we’re overly critical and judgmental of ourselves when we believe we have disappointed a loved one or have failed. We jump to extreme conclusions – “I’m such an Idiot! I am never going to get this right!” – and blow often trivial mistakes out of proportion. Rather than being kind to ourselves so that we can do better next time, this dramatization only increases our anxiety and attachments to the problem. Self-compassion is extending compassion to one’s self in instances of perceived inadequacy, failure, or general suffering. It encompasses three areas: * Being kind to the self amidst failure and perceived inadequacy * Realizing that failure is part of the human experience, and * Being mindfully aware of our emotions.   Consider treating yourself as you already treat others:   Be Nice to Yourself When You Fall. Different from having a positive self-esteem, practicing self-compassion means that you are kind towards your own perceived failures and inadequacies. In the same way...

Conflict: The Pathway to Intimacy (Part 2)

In part 1 of Conflict: The Pathway to Intimacy, we learned how to identify negative patterns in our relationship and what we can do have more awareness of this destructive cycle. We are reminded to take a time out to think and go within go get clarity on what is happening within you. This may include: Your Thoughts Your Feelings Your Perceptions What You Long For or Need This should help you and your partner become aware of the negative cycle you share during times of conflict. The next step after awareness is how to improve communication between you. Use 3 Effective Communication Skills Active Listening: When your partner is talking, it’s your time to listen. Even when s/he confronts, insults, or criticizes you, you need to listen. (You’ll get a turn later). Active Listening is not about you. Listening is not an admission of fault, nor is it an admission of agreement. It’s about trying to understand what your partner is saying. Real listening conveys the message that you value the speaker. You can be angry and still be able to listen. Active Listening Involves: Reflective back exactly what you heard the other say Paraphrasing in your own words what you heard Asking clarifying questions until you get it right   Effective Talking: Before you speak, stop and take inventory first. Ask yourself the following: What feelings am I experiencing? (anger, attacked, insulted, ashamed, abandoned) What is my perception of the offense? What is the goal I hope to achieve? (Cooperation, acceptance, understanding, reassurance of love, time together, respect) How would I like this problem/issue to be resolved?...

How to Create Change in Your Life – Part 2

Shifting Your Perception through Feelings In our last article, we listed a series of questions you could use to ask yourself about the change you wish to see in your life. In today’s article, we will talk about how important it is to shift your perception and how the way you feel about something is key in order to facilitate the change you want. Here’s an interesting quote to get you thinking about your current mindset: “When the pain of change is greater than the pain of staying where you are, you will not change.” Very few people will undertake a life change that appears to be worse than where you are in your life now, wouldn’t you agree? In order to shift your perception, if you really want change to take place in your life, you must focus on your feelings. To make the change more pleasurable, you must embody the feelings that will occupy your every thought and being once the change has occurred. Feel it now and hold it in you for at least three days it will become your daily reality. Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Body Again, you will not see this happen while the change is still in your head as an idea. You must get out of your head and move the feelings into your body to achieve success. You can have tons of affirmations and intentions, but, it won’t happen unless you put the energy of emotion into it. Shift your perception, now! Live as if you are already there; dress as if you’re already there; feel it...

How to Create Change in Your Life – Part 1

Is it Time for a Change? Are you at a point in your life where it just feels like something needs to be different? For some, they may be completely successful in their business endeavors, but, inside, something is missing. Or, maybe you are the type always trying to change and affect everything around you so that your life will be different, better, happier, but, it’s not. Perhaps you’ve been doing some soul searching, trying to fill an emptiness inside, and just not sure what steps to take, then read on. Live in the Now As you ponder these thoughts in your mind that may be visiting your thoughts more frequent, be sure to stay as present as possible. Take action and do things, now. This is not the time to think to yourself, “I’ll do it when.” “I’m not doing it because of…” or “When I reach this age, I’ll…” This is the time to get complete clarity on what you want in your life and set your intention on the end result so that you can complete it. Future living gets you nowhere. There is only now, this precise exact moment in your life and in order for your change to become a reality, you first must have clarity on what you want your future to be, but, to achieve it, you must live in the now and act, think and feel as if it has already happened. Questions to Ask Yourself to Create Change Write down these questions to yourself to get started, and be as specific as possible: What needs to die inside you so...