Tools for wonderful and challenging times
Life is full of surprises – wonderful, awful, beautiful, challenging surprises. As we wear our many hats – parents, educators, human beings who work with and care about young people – how can we meet the unexpected with grace and courage? And, how can we help the girls and boys in our lives meet the unexpected with resilience, hardiness, and mindfulness?
We are fortunate to be able to draw on both ancient and contemporary wisdom on this topic. While not a big deal in the scope of things, the technical glitches of launching a new website got me thinking about the unexpected. Here are two of my favorite tools (more to come). At the Institute we love teaching these tools to girls, parents, and expectant parents alike – because they help. We know because there is research – and we know because we use them ourselves, whenever we can.
Link to workshop on Expecting the Unexpected when you’re expecting: http://www.instituteforgirlsdevelopment.com/portfolio/expecting-the-unexpected-when-youre-expecting/
The gift of breath! In the middle of a stressful moment, ever notice the release of tension in your shoulders, chest or belly as you allow yourself to take in and release a deep breath? Or two? Research has found that breath awareness meditations can actually help lower blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels. How cool is that! Practicing breath awareness on a daily basis can train our bodies and brains in the art of letting go of stress. When tough times come, we can call on this training and breathe our way through difficult times. Can children and teens learn this skill too? Absolutely! Here is a breath awareness activity that children, teens and adults can enjoy.
DON’T WORRY ALONE
“Don’t Worry Alone” – Another great mantra for which I cannot take credit. This last week I sat in a training led by Caterhine Steiner-Adair, Ed.D. It’s one of her wise gems and it requires so little explanation. Share your worries with someone you trust. The weight of them may lighten. Role model this for your children. They don’t need to know what keeps you awake at night. However, they can benefit from knowing that you have trusted people to turn to in times of challenge. Help them identify the people are on their own team. Make a game of it while you are driving to the beach. Who do you turn to for fun? For comfort? For encouragement? For inspiration? For learning? Expand the list together of people who care.
Build your and your child’s skills for meeting the unexpected. Start with these two simple tools. Breathe. Don’t worry alone.