How To Be A Strong And Positive Parent During Adversity
There is no denying, now is a challenging time for all of us, in one way or another due to Covid-19. Some of us have reduced work hours, been stood down or lost our job. Furthermore, we are faced with uncertainty – how long will this go on for? Will I be ok? Will my family be ok? And we are concerned for the elderly or vulnerable people we love so dearly. The media is on high alert, punching out facts but also fear based messages about death, sickness and statistics of other countries in crisis. This is on top of all the other pressures’ life may have currently on offer! It is no wonder that most of us are experiencing feelings of fear, anxiety, stress and in some cases, depression.
At Girl Power we teach the girls ways to increase resilience and calm, through the principles of positive psychology. What happens when we, their guides, parents and caregivers are faced with adversity and we need to be there to support and be strong for our children? My answer is this – we strengthen our inner world, our resilience and mindfulness practices. We turn inwards with trust and ask ourselves to show up to this adversity and know that we will cope. However, we need strategies and tools to do this. Usually we can float through everyday life without really needing some of these strategies – this is where the Girl Power teachings become most useful though – when life gets tough, we tap into our inner resources. What are a few of these inner resources we can all use right now?
Mindfulness is a buzz word that many of us do not really understand. This morning I was out walking, and I could hear the kookaburras, two rosellas flew past and I said good morning to an elderly man, who smiled at me with warmth and appreciation. This is mindfulness. It is quite simple. It is paying attention to what is occurring in each moment and noticing elements of those occurrences. By being mindful during my walk, I was not worrying about the future or what could happen. I was not feeding my fears within and in turn anticipating dread and uncertainty. In these moments I felt calm and relaxed. When we regularly practice mindfulness, we make it a habit and research tells us that the more mindful we are, we will reduce the chances of becoming stressed and anxious. We will all have moments of stress and anxiety; however, we increase our resilience by making mindfulness a habit. When we are faced with adversity, we can refer to one of our tools in our resilience toolkit and in this case, it is mindfulness.
Some of us do not like to meditate as we feel it is too hard or we are too busy. However, research highlights that even as little as 5 minutes each day has many benefits. Not only does it reduce stress, it increases feelings of gratitude and happiness. Meditation is a mindfulness practice. For example, you might choose to listen to gentle music, lay on the sofa and focus on deep breathing or go to a park and sit under a tree and listen to the sounds around you. Another way might be to listen to a guided meditation online or an app such as Calm or Headspace. There are many ways to meditate and it is best to find what works for you. I challenge you to do this for the next week and let us know in the comments below, what changes you noticed.
Many of us have heard of or discovered the many benefits of gratitude, and what better reason to start a gratitude practice than the challenges of now. 17 years of research has revealed that there are certain activities that truly happy people engage in. They are:
· Adopting an optimistic view of life
· Exercising daily
· Setting specific goals and achieving them
· Documenting and expressing GRATITUDE
· Helping others
· Savouring life and the little moments
· Spending time with family and friends.
As you may already know, gratitude is on the ‘Girl Power’s Happiness Hot List’! How about creating a way to harness gratitude in your life and/or with your family? Here are a few ‘tried and tested’ gratitude exercises – give them a go:
· Write a thank you letter (post it, read it aloud over the phone or face to face on FaceTime)
· Thank someone in your mind (a silent thank you, like a prayer)
· Create a gratitude journal (purchase or make one for each family member. Write 3 things each day that you all feel grateful for and share during dinner time)
· Count your blessings (write them down)
I hope you have gained something useful from my blog – please share any tools you may have developed in the comments below as others may find them helpful:
‘Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom’, Marcel Proust
Love Olivia Trussell xx
Girl Power Instructor - Adelaide