Archives for Mindfulness
It's been proven that expressions of daily gratitude increase happiness, but for many people, the idea just feels too hokey. Or maybe you've tried and found it oddly difficult to answer the question: What are you grateful for? Maybe life is a struggle right now, and that just feels like the wrong question. Here are some ways to frame the gratitude question with a different edge.
In this social media-saturated, smart phone world, it's harder than ever to be present. And healthy relationships require presence. Giving someone your full and undivided attention makes them feel valued and secure. If we never turn off our phone and really focus, how can we expect our children to do so? Here are some ideas for how to be present, and how to model that for your children.
As a kid, the start of summer wasn't based on the calendar; it really started after the last day of school. It meant freedom and play and relaxation. And even now, for a lot of us, when we get deeper into June, there's a certain exhilaration, a sense that now the good stuff is about to happen. There are vacations to plan and anticipate, warm weather to take advantage of with outdoor activities...there's a sense of possibility. But with that possibility, comes the possibility for disappointment. Then there's the reality that life isn't like when we were kids. We don't really shuck off responsibilities for a couple of months. And therein lies the potential for depression.
It's not always easy to be fully present. When we're doing one thing, we're often thinking about the next thing on the list. And as a parent, the list can feel endless. Theoretically, I want to be fully present in my life--and with my daughter--all the time. Sustained attention and interest nurtures the emotional bond between parents and children. But sometimes, it's a challenge.
People are often better at one than the other. So I guess that means our strength is also our weakness, our Achilles' heel. Me, I'm a good changer. I can get a surge of energy and switch things up. But place me in a situation where the variables are less under my control... That's another story. It also happens to be the story of motherhood.
I'm obsessed with trade-offs. If you ask me, "What's life about?", I'd answer, in a heartbeat, "Trade-offs." If you say, "Can people have it all?", I'd respond, "They can have a lot, if they're realistic in their expectations, and make the right trade-offs." It's an imperfect world. There's a finite amount of time. My theory of trade-offs, which I rely on in my personal and professional life, is this: You have to explicitly recognize the choices you're making and the impact they have on what you value most (yourself, your relationships, your work, etc.), and realize that you'll have to sacrifice or cut corners somewhere. The work is figuring out where the give is. What's left is the best life for you.