I think happy thoughts

3 Tips for Parenting with Joy

Leave a comment

3-tips-for-parenting-with-joy


Leave a comment

Breathe

Breathe- this seems like a simple thing to do. We all breathe or we would die. However, we don’t all take time to stop and focus on our breath. What does that mean? Taking the time to really breathe and let yourself just “be” is one of the best ways to ground yourself.

At times when your mind starts to fill with thoughts and plans and things that need to be done, taking a step back and just focusing on your breathing can help you gain control. You can try it at any time. Challenge yourself to spend a whole minute on breathing. Set a timer so you don’t have to worry about keeping the time. The first time you try it is hard but it does get easier.

Trying to find a few minutes each day to just sit and “be” is not always easy. “Being” and not doing is hard for people who are so used to multitasking and running from task to task never taking a break. Minds often start to wonder and think about other things. That’s not a bad thing but try clearing your mind and just focusing on the breathing.

A person who has practiced breathing can use it in many situations. Grounding yourself in the present can be helpful for reducing stress and increasing your ability to concentrate on one task. Often, focusing on so many different things at once means that none of those things gets our best work.

Breathing can also be the one thing that saves a person from losing their temper. When a discussion becomes emotionally charged, responses seem automatic and are often not ones we like. When a person is able to take a breath and think before letting an automatic response take over, then that person has more control. The response can be more rational and planned instead of automatic. Then the situation can be diffused or dealt with in a way that doesn’t lead to regrets.

One of my favorite benefits of breathing is that you get time to be with yourself. You can appreciate just being you. You can clear your mind of all other thoughts and just relax. Even a few minutes each day is restorative and can help you feel more ready to deal with whatever else you have to handle during that day.


Leave a comment

Mindfulness activity

Here is a new activity you can try to practice your mindfulness skills. It’s fun to do by yourself or with others. Kids can even try this easy way of practicing mindfulness. The point of this activity is to practice your skills of being mindful (noticing and observing) without making judgements during the activity.

Mindfulness while eating – take a full minute to eat the raisin

1. You find a raisin (if you really dislike them pick another small item of food).

2. Take your time looking at it. Notice the texture, it’s color, the size, shape. Any physical details about the raisin.

3. Smell it without saying it’s a good or bad smell what does it smell like.

4. Place it in your mouth but do not chew it. How does it feel?

5. Slowly chew the raisin but be careful not to swallow it right away.

6. Did it change at all in flavor, texture, smell?

7. Slowly chew for the rest of the minute taking note of all your sensory input.

This exercise is very simple but can be hard. We are so used to eating without thinking. Spending a full minute on one raisin can be a great challenge and easy way to bring awareness into your eating habits as well as daily routine.

The next challenge is to try something new to do at a much slower pace than normal and find out what you discover.

 

What is the best way to calm anxiety in children?

Leave a comment

Calming anxiety is not always easy but the first place to start is yourself. Children often pick up on the anxieties of the adults around them.  Children feel uneasy and anxious if the adults around them are anxious, upset, or angry. They often don’t understand what your anxieties are about and generalize it to themselves. This is especially true for very young children who often don’t see themselves as separate from their parents. Any feelings and emotions you display they start to take on as their own.

One way to start curbing this anxiety is to limit your child’s exposure to adult conversations and outside media like the news. Limiting their exposure can drastically cut back on the things that they worry about. It doesn’t happen over night but over time they become less involved in the adult world and start to worry less about those things that were drifting into their consciousness at too early an age.

For children who are by nature worriers, anxiety sneaks up quickly. Acknowledging their worries is important but don’t let them or yourself dwell on it. Address the worry and move on. Don’t let the child get stuck ruminating on the same topic over and over.  If you know that certain things usually cause anxiety for your child, you can also bring up ideas for how to deal with it ahead of time.  Then later that day when you encounter the situation, you can quickly remind your child of how to cope and move them along.

One last thing to keep in mind: always model for your child how you want them to behave. If you see a big bug and start to scream and yell about it, guess what your child will probably develop a fear of bugs. “Teach by example.”  By tackling your own fears you are helping yourself and your child!


Leave a comment

Happiness

Why does happiness seem so difficult to obtain for some people and easier for others? The simple answer is that it’s a state of mind and if you think you are happy then you will be. The people who seem to be happy may just have more practice at focusing on the positive. Why then is is so hard for some people to think positively. Some people say that there are specific characteristics that positive thinkers have in varying degrees.

For the sake of narrowing down some personality characteristics and to make a more precise list, I chose one author’s list of 10.  Scott Ventrella The Power of Positive Thinking in Business: 10 traits for maximum results. The  10 characteristics of a positive thinker are listed by Ventrella as: optimism, enthusiasm, belief, integrity, courage, confidence, determination, patience, calmness, and focus.

The first step to becoming a more positive thinker and leading a more happy life would be to look at each of these traits and determine how strongly they are present in your own life. Finding where you have strength and areas you need to grow in are helpful in creating a plan for yourself.

Once you know the characteristics that you want to work on in your own life, set some goals for yourself on how to do that. Make sure that your goals are realistic. You are on your way to being much happier once you have a plan in place.

Don’t forget to recognize when you are happy. Many people breeze past this and don’t linger on their happy thoughts. We spend so much time thinking about the negative but very little time remembering all the things that did go well and the times we enjoyed. Spend some time each day just thinking about something that you enjoyed about your day or a happy memory.

The best part about wanting to become a more positive thinker is that this is an achievable goal! Just because you don’t feel like a positive thinker or a happy person does not mean that you can’t become one.  Believing in your own power for positive change is a great step in the direction of happiness.

hattie.counseling@gmail.com