How to Overcome Parenting Stress
There is so much in the media to fear for our children. Identity theft, sexting, child predators, financial fears.
We must be vigiliant as parents, because our children are not, but with so much information and things to watch out for, we can easily slip into paranoia, and constant anxiety.
We have been given a natural stress reducer called our breath.
Whenever you feel yourself overcome by fears for your child, or anything else, just stop. Tell yourself No, or anything to stop the ruiminating. Go into heart breathing. Imagaine breath coming in and out of your heart for a few minutes because it gets you out of your head.
Now look at your thoughts.
What are you telling yourself?
Is that the truth? Is that really, really the truth?
Often times it’s not, but don’t get upset with your mind or your thoughts.
Your mind is doing it’s job. It is trying to protect you. That means it is always on high alert. It reminds you when something went wrong in the past, or may happen again in the future. So love and bless it instead of cursing it or trying to stop yourself from thinking.
You can’t stop your thoughts. Each of us has about 60,000 a day, many are the same thoughts. However, you can stop yourself from being pulled into the "story" of your thoughts which creates more toxic thoughts and feelings.
Our children are super sensitive even though your child may seem oblivious. However, they pick up on your energy and react accordingly. So when you are anxious are scared, they may feel that way too, and not know why.
They can’t process our feelings and thoughts like we can, so they are left with this ominous feeling of dread and fear and don’t know why.
The key is you don’t want your thoughts keeping you ruiminiating and staying up late at night with fear. The way to handle your thoughts is Mindfully. This will give you space from the thoughts instead of letting them drag you around, scaring yourself and your child.
Thoughts are not good or bad, they are simply how you deal with them.
When you do, you will notice how you are telling yourself a story built on memory, which is the past, or worry which is living in the future. To find peace, you need to live as much as you can in the moment.
When you take a moment to stop, you'll find that space, that rest. This is living in the here and now.
Don't get frustrated when the mind creeps back and tells you. "What are you stopping for?! Are you nuts? You have got things to do, places to go. Get going! Now!"
The mind wants control.
You may start tensing up again as it tries to pull you back into the fray.
So what do you do?
First of all, just realize the ego-mind only works on the left side of your brain. It doesn't understand the right brain which is the side of peace and tranquility. So it is threatened. It then pulls harder to get you back into thinking, thinking, thinking.
Just stop. It's like re-setting your personal computer.
Next, observe your thoughts.
You can't stop your thoughts, but you can stop yourself from being pulled into the "story" of your thoughts. Observe how your body feels when certain negative thoughts pop into your mind. Tensing up, right?
Mindfully Observing Your Thoughts:
Observe your thoughts. This is called the fire of attention. When you stop and just observe your thoughts, you create a space. In that space between you and your thoughts, you can see if those are constructive thoughts guiding you in the right direction, or fear thoughts, keeping you stuck and anxious.
Allow your thoughts to come, and allow them to go. Don't analyze, judge, criticize or suppress them. They're just energy. Welcome the thoughts. In between observing thoughts, observe your breath which grounds you.
You can see your thoughts as balloons floating onto the landscape of your mind. Don't hold onto the (thoughts) balloon. Let go of the string and let the thoughts float away.
See thoughts floating like clouds coming and going
Imagine you are sitting across from yourself, what are you saying to you?
Pretend you are sitting by a slow moving stream of water, and leaves are floating pass you. On each leaf is one of your thoughts, or a small you speaking or shouting your thoughts.
Which ever practice you use, you’ll begin to feel more in control. Your thoughts are not always reality. Even if they are reality, that moment has already passed when your thoughts name what is happening, and therefore that’s the past.
You want to stay in the present moment, and Mindful thinking is one practice to help you.