“When you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur. When you improve conditioning a little each day, eventually you have a big improvement in conditioning. Not tomorrow, not the next day, but eventually a big gain is made. Don’t look for the big, quick improvement. Seek the small improvement one day at a time. That’s the only way it happens—and when it happens, it lasts.”
—John Wooden, one of the most successful coaches in the history of college basketball”
Each week, you mark the calendar at least 5 times a week, give yourself a reward.
Examples of non-food rewards – get a hug from your loved one, indulge in FB time, and watch a funny video, read a novel . . .
Be aware of the positive changes (however small) in your life as a result of this regular practice – calmer, happier and less stressed and acknowledge your efforts!
If you try other contemplative practices such as walking meditation, bible study, yoga or Tai Chi, mark the calendar!
Research shows that you are more likely to get a powerful positive habit in your life when you do it consistently and, in small steps rather than large chunks infrequently!
May I be happy and peaceful
May I be free from fear and suffering
May I live with love and compassion
May I fully awaken and be free
(You can repeat the phrases above with a blessing to people around you – May you be happy and peaceful...)
Maurer, Robert (2004): One small step can change your life : the kazen way, Workman
. . , and what is the one thing you CAN do!
We think that our kids lead carefree lives, unfortunately, many parents and care givers are unaware of the anxieties, stresses and pressures. Data from 2010 APA's Stress in America survey show that there is a disconnect between what children say they are worrying about and what their parents think is stressing them, a gap that could have long-term implications for children's mental and physical health.
Children age 8 to 17 say they worry about doing well in school, getting into good colleges and their family's finances. They also report suffering headaches, sleeplessness and upset stomachs. In that study, more than one in three children reported experiencing headaches in the past month, but only 13 percent of parents thought that their children experienced headaches as a result of stress. In addition, while 44 percent of children reported sleeping difficulties, only 13 percent of parents think their kids had trouble sleeping. About 30 percent of children worried about their families' financial difficulties, but just 18 percent of parents thought that was a source of worry for their children.
Like us, our children can get mad, sad, irritated, embarrassed, anxious, jealous, or even disappointed with themselves. And when we’re really upset, it’s hard to make good decisions and feel our best.
Chronic and uncontrolled stress in children can lead to
Good News! Our Children Can Learn to Thrive!
We do NOT have to raise our children in a protective cocoons. Stress can be positive when we feel stimulated and able to manage the situation and it can provide us energy to handle emergencies, meet challenges, and excel.
We can help our children to leverage the stresses in their lives to focus on key priorities, help build relationships and grow to be compassionate, optimistic and resilient people. There is a fine balance between protecting our children and encouraging independence!
“When confronted with the fallout of childhood trauma, why do some children adapt and overcome, while others bear lifelong scars that flatten their potential? A growing body of evidence points to one common answer: Every child who winds up doing well has had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive adult.” (Shonkoff J 2015)
This person could be the parent, teacher, uncle, aunt, grand parent or a teacher. Our children can learn quickly to be:
What is one thing you CAN do for your children!
We can teach our children to be calm and peaceful when they need to be! Through simple and daily mindful activities, we CAN learn to cope and thrive through our challenges, be confident, be focused, stay calm, and tap into our own inner strengths—no matter what life throws our way!
Easy ways for you and your children to relax in five minutes or less!
Most scientific studies have limited samples and key focus research areas. I choose to follow work in the field of Positive Psychology, the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. This is a new and emerging field. Can people be narcissistic, manipulative and selfish and still thrive and succeed? Yes! We all have dark sides we need to be aware of and use at appropriate times and situations but that is a topic for another day.
References and Resources
FREE Balloon Meditation http://www.meditation-magic.com/blog/let-go-your-stress-in-5-minutes-or-less-the-balloon-meditation
FREE Blessing aka Loving Kindness Meditation http://www.meditation-magic.com/blog/key-to-happiness-cultivate-our-capacity-for-kindness
C Munsey “ APA Survey Raises Concern About Parent Perceptions of Children’s Stress (2009), Stress in America online Survey (2009) Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Psychological Association http://www2.apa.org/monitor/2010/01/stress-kids.aspx
Shonkoff, J. P et al - National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2015). Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships: Working Paper No. 13. Retrieved from http://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/The-Science-of-Resilience2.pdf
Shonkoff, J. P., Garner, A. S., Siegel, B. S., Dobbins, M. I., Earls, M. F., McGuinn, L., ... & Committee on Early Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. (2012). The lifelong effects of early childhood adversity and toxic stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232-e246.
Benard, B. (1995). Fostering Resilience in Children. ERIC Digest.
Brunwasser, S.M., Gillham, J.E. & Kim, E.S., (2009). A Meta-Analytic Review of the Penn Resiliency Program's Effect on Depressive Symptoms. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 77(6), 1042-1054.https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/research/resilience-children
S Kaiser Greenland (2016) Mindful Games: Sharing Mindfulness and Meditation with Children, Teens, and Families
L Morelli and J E. Morris (2015) The Lemonade Hurricane: A Story of Mindfulness and Meditation
a guided finger meditation
Engage your senses with soothing music, guided imagery and a labyrinth tracing activity which leverages the power of touch. Click the album cover to learn more.