Posts Tagged ‘Family’

10 Practical Ways to Handle Stress

July 30, 2017

stressStress is inevitable. It walks in and out of our lives on a regular basis. And it can easily walk all over us unless we take action. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimize and cope with stress. Here are 10 ideas for handling stress without causing more strain and hassle.

1. Figure out where the stress is coming from.

Oftentimes, when we’re stressed, it seems like a big mess with stressors appearing from every angle. We start to feel like we’re playing a game of dodge ball, ducking and darting so we don’t get smacked by a barrage of balls. We take a defensive position, and not a good one at that.

Instead of feeling like you’re flailing day to day, identify what you’re actually stressed about. Is it a specific project at work, an upcoming exam, a dispute with your boss, a heap of laundry, a fight with your family?

By getting specific and pinpointing the stressors in your life, you’re one step closer to getting organized and taking action.

2. Consider what you can control—and work on that.

While you can’t control what your boss does, what your in-laws say or the sour state of the economy, you can control how you react, how you accomplish work, how you spend your time and what you spend your money on.

The worst thing for stress is trying to take control over uncontrollable things. Because when you inevitably fail — since it’s beyond your control — you only get more stressed out and feel helpless. So after you’ve thought through what’s stressing you out, identify the stressors that you can control, and determine the best ways to take action.

Take the example of a work project. If the scope is stressing you out, talk it over with your supervisor or break the project down into step-wise tasks and deadlines.

Stress can be paralyzing. Doing what’s within your power moves you forward and is empowering and invigorating.

3. Do what you love.

It’s so much easier to manage pockets of stress when the rest of your life is filled with activities you love. Even if your job is stress central, you can find one hobby or two that enrich your world. What are you passionate about? If you’re not sure, experiment with a variety of activities to find something that’s especially meaningful and fulfilling.

4. Manage your time well.

One of the biggest stressors for many people is lack of time. Their to-do list expands, while time flies. How often have you wished for more hours in the day or heard others lament their lack of time? But you’ve got more time than you think, as Laura Vanderkam writes in her aptly titled book, 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think.

We all have the same 168 hours, and yet there are plenty of people who are dedicated parents and full-time employees and who get at least seven hours of sleep a night and lead fulfilling lives.

Here are Vanderkam’s seven steps to help you check off your to-do list and find time for the things you truly enjoy.

5. Create a toolbox of techniques.

One stress-shrinking strategy won’t work for all your problems. For instance, while deep breathing is helpful when you’re stuck in traffic or hanging at home, it might not rescue you during a business meeting.

Because stress is complex, “What we need is a toolbox that’s full of techniques that we can fit and choose for the stressor in the present moment,” said Richard Blonna, Ed.D, a nationally certified coach and counselor and author of Stress Less, Live More: How Acceptance & Commitment Therapy Can Help You Live a Busy Yet Balanced Life.

Here’s a list of additional techniques to help you build your toolbox.

6. Pick off the negotiables from your plate.

Review your daily and weekly activities to see what you can pick off your plate. As Vanderkam asks in her book: “Do your kids really love their extracurricular activities, or are they doing them to please you? Are you volunteering for too many causes, and so stealing time from the ones where you could make the most impact? Does your whole department really need to meet once per week or have that daily conference call?”

Blonna suggested asking these questions: “Do [my activities] mesh with my goals and values? Am I doing things that give my life meaning? Am I doing the right amount of things?”

Reducing your stack of negotiable tasks can greatly reduce your stress.

7. Are you leaving yourself extra vulnerable to stress?

Whether you perceive something as a stressor depends in part on your current state of mind and body. That is, as Blonna said, ““Each transaction we’re involved in takes place in a very specific context that’s affected by our health, sleep, psychoactive substances, whether we’ve had breakfast [that day] and [whether we’re] physically fit.”

So if you’re not getting sufficient sleep or physical activity during the week, you may be leaving yourself extra susceptible to stress. When you’re sleep-deprived, sedentary and filled to the brim with coffee, even the smallest stressors can have a huge impact.

8. Preserve good boundaries.

If you’re a people-pleaser like me, saying no feels like you’re abandoning someone, have become a terrible person or are throwing all civility out the window. But of course that couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, those few seconds of discomfort are well worth avoiding the stress of taking on an extra activity or doing something that doesn’t contribute value to your life.

One thing I’ve noticed about productive, happy people is that they’re very protective of their time and having their boundaries crossed. But not to worry: Building boundaries is a skill you can learn. Here are some tips to help. And if you tend toward people-pleasing, these tips can help, too.

9. Realize there’s a difference between worrying and caring.

Sometimes, our mindset can boost stress, so a small issue mushrooms into a pile of problems. We continue worrying, somehow thinking that this is a productive — or at least inevitable — response to stress. But we mistake worry for action.

Clinical psychologist Chad LeJeune, Ph.D, talks about the idea of worrying versus caring in his book, The Worry Trap: How to Free Yourself from Worry & Anxiety Using Acceptance & Commitment Therapy. “Worrying is an attempt to exert control over the future by thinking about it,” whereas caring is taking action. “When we are caring for someone or something, we do the things that support or advance the best interests of the person or thing that we care about.”

LeJeune uses the simple example of houseplants. He writes: “If you are away from home for a week, you can worry about your houseplants every single day and still return home to find them brown and wilted. Worrying is not watering.”

Similarly, fretting about your finances does nothing but get you worked up (and likely prevent you from taking action). Caring about your finances, however, means creating a budget, paying bills on time, using coupons and reducing how often you dine out.

Just this small shift in mindset from worrying to caring can help you adjust your reaction to stress. To see this distinction between worrying and caring, LeJeune includes an activity where readers list responses for each one. For example:

Worrying about your health involves…

Caring about your health involves…

Worrying about your career involves…

Caring about your career involves…

10. Embrace mistakes—or at least don’t drown in perfectionism.

Another mindset that can exacerbate stress is perfectionism. Trying to be mistake-free and essentially spending your days walking on eggshells is exhausting and anxiety-provoking. Talk about putting pressure on yourself! And as we all know but tend to forget: Perfectionism is impossible and not human, anyway.

As researcher Brene Brown writes in her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, “Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth” and it’s not self-improvement.

Nothing good can come from perfectionism. Brown writes: “Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction and life-paralysis [‘all the opportunities we miss because we’re too afraid to put anything out in the world that could be imperfect’].”

Plus, mistake-mistaking can lead to growth. To overcome perfectionism, Brown suggests becoming more compassionate toward yourself. We couldn’t agree more.

Stop and Smell the Roses by Glen Barnett

October 18, 2016

Ageing Sucks, So Stop And Smell The Roses roses.jpg

 Someone said to me the other day that ageing is unimportant unless you are a cheese. This person was 70 had a lovely weathered face and a life behind them that was filled with achievements, experiences, adventures and many different pathways.  Just like most people their age.  So why do I think ageing sucks – because I don’t want this life to ever end.

Yes, I know I could drop dead tomorrow but as you age there is that awareness that you are heading closer to the exit sign than you were a few years ago.

How fantastic is life. That is not a question it is a statement. There are so many wonderful things to explore, enjoy and experience.  Now that exploration and those experiences may not always be enjoyable but they do allow us to gather the knowledge and insight to so much more than we started out with.

Next time you go out and about take a moment or more to look, feel and listen.  Look at life around you. Close your eyes and feel life around you. Open your ears and hear life around you. Even draw your breath in and smell life around you.  Get saturated in life. Sometimes this experience will be overwhelming to all your senses. Other times you may feel one sense is more enlightened than another.  This is a simple process that we don’t often pursue because we are too busy, to rushed or to blinked in our pursuits.

We all have favourite things to do that bring contentment to us or put a smile on our faces.   Watching children play, listening to favourite music, singing loudly in the shower or car, smelling the flowers at the florist, browsing through your favourite magazine at the newsagent even doing something crazy like when your money comes out of the ATM shout “I Won, I Won”.

Everyday indulge in one of these but don’t see this indulgent time as a treat, because it is your right. Your right to stop and smell the roses and fully enjoy, experience and explore every minute of your fantastic life.

For any other crazy ideas on how to live life to the fullest, call Glen Barnett at Coffs Coast Health Club on 66586222.

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Your Child Emotional Agility

October 9, 2016

tantrum
It’s hard to see a child unhappy. Whether a child is crying over the death of a pet or the popping of a balloon, our instinct is to make it better, fast.

That’s where too many parents get it wrong, says the psychologist Susan David, author of the book “Emotional Agility.” Helping a child feel happy again may offer immediate relief for parent and child, but it doesn’t help a child in the long term.

“How children navigate their emotional world is critical to lifelong success,” she said.

Research shows that when teachers help preschoolers learn to manage their feelings in the classroom, those children become better problem solvers when faced with an emotional situation, and are better able to engage in learning tasks. In teenagers, “emotional intelligence,” or the ability to recognize and manage emotions, is associated with an increased ability to cope with stressful situations and greater self-esteem. Some research suggests that a lack of emotional intelligence can be used to predict symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Emotional skills, said Dr. David, are the bedrock of qualities like grit and resilience. But instead of allowing a child to fully experience a negative emotion, parents often respond with what Dr. David describes as emotional helicoptering.

“We step into the child’s emotional space,” she said, with our platitudes, advice and ideas. Many common parental strategies, like minimizing either the emotion or the underlying problem or rushing to the rescue, fail to help a child learn how to help herself.

Dr. David offers four practical steps for helping a child go through, rather than around, a negative emotion and emerge ready to keep going — feel it, show it, label it, watch it go.

Feel It. While it may seem obvious to feel emotions, many families focus on pushing away negative emotions. “When we’re saying ‘don’t be sad, don’t be angry, don’t be jealous, don’t be selfish,’ we’re not coming to the child in the reality of her emotion,” she said. “Validate and see your child as a sentient person who has her own emotional world.”

Show It. Similarly, many families have what Dr. David calls “display rules” around emotions — there are those it is acceptable to show, and those that must be hidden. “We see expressions like ‘boys don’t cry’ and ‘we don’t do anger here,’ or ‘brush it off,’” she said. “We do it with very good intentions, but we are teaching that emotions are to be feared.”

Label It. Labeling emotions, Dr. David said, is a critical skill set for children.

“We need to learn to recognize stress versus anger or disappointment,” she said. Even very young children can consider whether they’re mad or sad, or angry or anxious or scared. “Labeling emotions is also at the core of our ability to empathize. Ask ‘How do you think so-and-so is feeling? What does their face tell you?’”

As children get older, she adds, we can talk more about emotional complexities. “We can be simultaneously excited and anxious and frustrated, and we also need to learn to recognize that in other people,” she said.

Watch It Go. Even the hardest emotions don’t last forever. Dr. David suggests helping your child to notice that. “Sadness, anger, frustration — these things have value, but they also pass. They’re transient, and we are bigger than they are. Say, ‘This is what sadness feels like. This is what it feels like after it passes. This is what I did that helped it pass.’”

We can also help children to remember that we don’t necessarily feel the same emotion every time we have a similar experience. The high dive is scariest the first time. We might feel a lot of anxiety at one party, or in one science class, but have a different experience the next time.

“We’re very good, as humans, at creating these stories around emotions,” Dr. David said. “‘I’m not good at making friends. I can’t do math.’ Those are feelings and fears, not fixed states. People and things change.”

Finally, she said, help your child plan for experiencing the emotion again. “Ask, ‘Who do you want to be in this situation?’” she said. “What’s important to you about this?” Children feel stronger as they begin to learn that it’s not how they feel, but how they respond to the feeling, that counts.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/04/well/family/teaching-your-child-emotional-agility.html
Picture source: http://www.spring.org.uk/images/tantrum.jpg

Mothers Seen as Holding Key to Family Fitness

May 10, 2015

Out-of-shape American schoolchildren may have a new and, at first glance, somewhat unlikely group of fitness coaches: their mothers.

But, said a group of fitness experts and athletes gathered at UC Irvine last week for the first California Women’s Leadership Conference on Fitness and Health, the leading role of women in teaching good health habits to their families shouldn’t be underestimated.

“Women are a great influence on the health and the fitness attitudes of the family and they will be the ones who help get those attitudes on track,” said Harriet Harris, chairman of the conference. “You can’t start forming those attitudes too early. It begins in the cradle.”

The two-day conference was a statewide follow-up to the National Women’s Leadership Conference on Fitness, held in 1984 in Washington and sponsored by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. California is the ninth state to hold such a follow-up meeting.

Nearly 400 conference attendees, most of them women dressed in exercise clothes, listened Thursday to talks by health professionals that focused in part on the role of women as fitness educators and role models for their families.

Better Examples Needed

At the conference’s opening ceremonies at the Irvine Hilton Wednesday night, the audience heard a recitation of statistics compiled from a survey by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports that showed, said speakers, the need for better examples of fitness in the home.

The nationwide survey, conducted last year with 18,857 public school children ages 6 to 17, found a continuing “low level of performance” in such key areas as running, jumping, flexibility and strength.

Among the survey’s findings:

– Forty percent of boys ages 6 to 12 and 70% of all the girls could not do more than one pullup.

– Half of the girls ages 6 to 17 and 30% of the boys ages 6 to 12 could not run a mile in less than 10 minutes.

– Forty-five percent of boys ages 6 to 14 and 55% of all the girls could not hold their chin over a raised bar for more than 10 seconds.

George Allen, former head coach of the Washington Redskins and Los Angeles Rams and currently chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, said he found the statistics “appalling.”

“When I hear that a 17-year-old can’t run a mile in less than 13 minutes, I think that’s a disgrace,” Allen said at the opening of the second day of the conference. “If I were grading the United States on fitness and comparing us with other nations, in my opinion we would be in last place in youth fitness. I think the fitness boom is a misconception because it isn’t there among the youth. It’s among adults and has nothing to do with kids.”

With Children More

Women, Allen said, should use their numbers and political influence in demanding a return of required physical education in schools. And, he added, in the home “women are better at communicating fitness to kids than men. They’re with kids more. They buy and prepare the food they eat. And they can set an example by being in shape themselves and by not smoking or drinking. They set an example by leading an active life.”

The conference itself was hardly inactive.

Those attending were encouraged in advance to wear exercise clothes in anticipation of a 20-minute “exercise break” led by Jacki Sorensen, the originator of aerobic dancing.

“The responsibility for the fitness of children doesn’t lie with the schools,” Sorensen said later. “It lies with the parents. Fitness for them should be as common as brushing your teeth, but so many adults are doing nothing.”

mothers
While fitness may have become fashionable with many adults, between 40% and 50% of adults still do not exercise regularly, Sorensen said. And, as a result, neither do their children.

Life-Style Point of View

“You can’t fool kids,” she said. “And you can’t just do it by example. You have to involve your kids in it. I think it’s really wrong to teach a young child to exercise because they already do it through play. They have natural exuberance. When they get older, though, you have to approach fitness through a life-style point of view and not an actual exercise program.”

Often, Sorensen said, regimented exercise programs are so difficult that many beginners give up at the start.

“We have to come up with programs that are easier,” she said. “Right now, in the health clubs, what you have are the semi-elite of fitness. The classes at the clubs are a bit too difficult around the country. It (exercise) needs to be introduced gently, gradually. You shouldn’t start with the optimum. It doesn’t even have to be aerobic. Maybe just walking and talking. What better time to talk to your kids? Ask them what they want to do. If they want to go on a picnic, park a mile away and walk to the place you’re going to have the picnic.”

Article sourced here: http://articles.latimes.com/1986-04-01/news/vw-1746_1_family-s-fitness

A Mother’s Influence

May 12, 2013

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In honor of the Mother’s Day holiday this past weekend, I’d like to take a moment to speak about how mothers can influence their children. It is easy to forget how valuable you are in the midst of changing diapers and wiping runny noses, or (if your kids are older) schlepping them to activities, and helping them cope with disappointment and heartbreak. Research suggests that you can positively impact whether your child has a healthy and happy adulthood and old age.

Recent data suggests that adults’ mental and physical health is influenced by several factors, such as early psychosocial conditions dating back to childhood, including parental support. Most people with high levels of parental support during childhood develop higher levels of self esteem, a higher sense of personal control, and better family relationships in adulthood. In addition, people with early parental support develop fewer psychological and physical problems throughout adulthood and even into old age. For example, parental support decreases the likelihood of developing depressive symptoms and chronic health conditions (such as hypertension, arthritis and urinary problems).

Researchers Benjamin A. Shaw, Neal Krause, Linda M. Chatters, Cathleen M. Connell, and Berit Ingersoll-Dayton analyzed responses from 2,905 adults, ages 25–74, participating in the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (Psychology and Aging, 2004, Vol. 19, No. 1). Participants were asked about levels of emotional support from their mothers and fathers during their childhood years with questions such as “how much could you confide in her or him about things that were bothering you?” and “how much love and affection did she or he give you?” Symptoms of depression, the presence of chronic health conditions, and self-esteem levels were also assessed with survey questions.

This information is not intended to stress out mothers who are reading it. Research data do not suggest that children received psychological and physical health benefits only if they lived with a Supermom! The take home message is that mothers are an important part of our growth and development, and long-term physical and psychological well-being. If you did not thank your Mother last Sunday, be sure to do so today. And if you are a mother who didn’t pat herself on the back last Sunday, be sure to do that as well.

Article sourced from:  http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=28668