What is Conscious Parenting?

By Parenting No Comments

How many parents have said at one point or another, “I wish my child would have come with a users’ manual,”? Nearly every single one.

Nothing can really prepare us for parenthood. No class, no advice, and no user manual can give us the tools we require for raising happy and healthy kids. The truth is, to be good parents requires us to be conscious parents.

Mindfulness – It’s Not Just for Meditation

Your 8-year-old runs in from the backyard, excited to tell you about the frog he just found in a puddle. Before you even recognize his joy and desire to share that joy with you, you yell because of the mud he just tracked into the house.

Was this reaction really warranted? Were you reacting just to the mud on the floor (which can be cleaned), or do you have a need to control everything in your environment at all times? And does this need stem from your own childhood wounds?

Often parents react to their children subconsciously. That is, they have a knee-jerk reaction to something their child says or does. This reaction may stem from an event that occurred in their own childhood and, without realizing it, they are having a profound reaction to it instead of to their child’s current behavior. Conscious parenting requires mindfulness, and mindfulness requires a parent to be fully present in the moment. Bringing our full awareness into the ‘now’ can help us recognize the meaning and truth in each moment and make better, healthier decisions.

Mindful parents are less likely to have automatic, unexamined reactions to their children’s behavior. Staying present also means parents are less likely to “pop back” into their own childhood traumas and wounds.

Getting Started with Conscious Parenting

Conscious parenting is easier than it sounds. To start, you’ve got to slow down so you recognize when you are reacting to a present moment authentically and when you are reacting to your own past moment.

And speaking of slowing down, try and take a three-second pause before reacting to anything your kid does. This small space will allow you to check yourself. Does the reaction you were about to have match the actual situation? If not, what WERE you reacting to?

And finally, forgive yourself for any past parenting errors. We all do the best we can do. As Maya Angelou once said, “When you know better, you do better.”

Speaking with a therapist may help you discover old wounds and programming you are parenting from. If you’d like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I would be very happy to discuss how I may be able to help.

5 Signs You Aren’t Practicing Self-Care

By General, Self-Esteem No Comments

Self-care is complex. Anyone can tell you to do it, but only you can bestow the gift of self-care onto yourself. But before you can begin bestowing, you’ve got to first recognize that you are worthy of caring for yourself as you do others.

How do you do this? By noticing the ways in which you are currently not taking very good care of yourself.

Here are 5 signs you aren’t practicing self-care. If any seem familiar, it is time to make more time for yourself:

1. You Get Sick More Often

When we don’t take proper care of ourselves, our health takes a big hit. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can lead to a taxed immune system, which in turn makes you vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune-related medical problems.

2. Increased Moodiness

What happens when a child does not get the care and attention they deserve? They begin to act out in order to get any attention. In much the same way, a lack of self-care and feeling of unimportance can lead to increased irritability. Leaving this unchecked can result in personal and professional relationships being negatively affected.

3. Unpleasant Physical Symptoms

What can start out as unpleasant (and even scary) physical symptoms, can be a sign of poor self-care. Symptoms may include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, headaches, and fainting spells. All of these symptoms should be checked out by your healthcare provider immediately.

4. A Feeling of Isolation

When you feel you don’t deserve to care for yourself, you naturally feel unworthy of enjoying other aspects of life, like socializing and a true connection to friends and family. This can lead to a detachment of others and a sense of isolation.

5. Depression

Feelings of worthlessness can snowball into feelings of hopelessness and depression. If you have noticed yourself slipping farther and farther into a depression, it is important that you seek help from a mental health professional. They can help you recognize where the darkness has come from, and how to break through back into the light.

If you or a loved one is experiencing depression, or would simply like some help practicing self-care, please be in touch with me. I would be more than happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.

At Home Family Physical Fitness Ideas (during COVID-19 and beyond)

By Sports / Exercise No Comments

As many families continue to shelter in place together, they are finding it challenging to beat the stress and stay in shape. Exercising as a family is one-way families can accomplish both of these goals! And the good news is, there are plenty of ways families can exercise without the need of going to a public gym.

Make Fitness a Game

Take a pack of regular playing cards and turn them into fitness cards. Hearts stand for crunches, clubs push-ups, diamonds for squats, and spades for jumping jacks (or any other exercises you may want to substitute). Have each player take turns selecting a card and doing the activity. So for instance, if someone draws the five of hearts, they need to do 5 crunches.

Go for a Bike Ride

Strap on your helmets, hop on your bikes and take the kids for a nice bike ride around the neighborhood. You can also decide to bike to the library or to the park for a picnic. Just be sure to pick a route that is safe and isn’t too much effort for your child.

Have a Dance Party!

Decorate your living room with a disco ball or other fun string lights, turn on some good tunes, and have a dance party. You can even choose to record yourselves and share your dance party with others on Youtube.

Play Classic Outdoor Games

Chances are over the years your kids have begged you to play certain games like hide-and-seek or kickball. Now is the time to embrace these requests and head outside for some family fun. There is also tag, jump rope, dodgeball, and kick the can.

A Timed Scavenger Hunt

This game will get everyone moving to get some aerobic exercise. Take turns and split the family up into 2 teams. Team A will start by hiding objects around the house or yard. Then team B has 10 minutes to find them all. This means they’ve got to really RUN around looking for all of them. Then swap so Team B hides items and team A has to find them. The team that finds the most items wins and doesn’t have to do the dishes that week.

Go for a Family Walk

Walking is such a great form of exercise and an equally great way for families to connect. Try and build walking into your daily schedule. Maybe after dinner take everyone out for a walk around the neighborhood. If you have dogs, take them, too!

 

These are just a few ideas you can try with your own family. Get creative to come up with some ideas of your own. While Covid has definitely made our lives more stressful and challenging, the silver lining is that it has helped many of us reconnect with our families. Take this time to do the same and stay fit at the same time.

 

SOURCES:

Contemplative Spaces: The Connection Between Prayer and Mindfulness

By Religion / Spirituality No Comments

In the frenetic, fast-paced world we live in, mindfulness has become increasingly important. When we talk about being mindful, we’re talking about the ability to be fully in the present moment, aware of our surroundings; where we are, whom we’re with, and what we’re doing. Mindfulness keeps us grounded, keeping us from overreacting or becoming overwhelmed.

By its nature, prayer helps us become and stay more mindful. By connecting in quiet reflection to something deeply spiritual and meaningful, we’re able to see our life and experiences from a broader perspective.

Increases Focus
Studies have shown that prayer, a type of meditation, helps to increase your focus. Prayer makes you better equipped to quiet your mind and avoid becoming lost in thought. With increased focus, you’re able to control mind wandering and stay in the moment.

Controls Impulses
According to a 2009 study on religion, self-regulation, and self-control by the University of Miami’s Department of Psychology, being a religious follower can promote self-control and self-monitoring.

Additionally, when studying the effects of meditation on the brain, brain-imaging studies have shown that meditation increases frontal cortex activity. The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for, among other things, emotional expression, problem solving, and judgement.

More Gratitude
Gratitude is a feeling of gratefulness for gifts and blessings. By practicing gratitude, we’re sharpening our attention towards the good in our lives. We see and appreciate everything around us that’s positive.

Prayer helps you maximize gratitude by helping you reform your thoughts, much in the way that mindfulness does. We can surmise that regular prayer for religious followers may help them feel more clear-minded and able to concentrate on what’s positive.

Gratitude is also a feeling that we choose; we can choose to be grateful, or we can choose to be ungrateful. By utilizing prayer to concentrate on blessings or mindfulness to concentrate on the good in our lives, we help keep our mind distracted from negative thoughts. Both techniques help you appreciate the moment in which you’re living.

When your life is busy with work and family, it can feel impossible to make time for either mindfulness meditation or prayer. But even five minutes a day will make a difference over time, as your steady practice of quiet contemplation will help you learn to redirect your thoughts and focus your attention.

 

If you’re looking for guidance and direction on how to become more mindful through prayer, give our office a call today. One of our specially trained staff will be more than happy to help.