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How to Foster Your Child’s Resilience to Survive in This Chaotic World

How to Foster Your Child’s Resilience to Survive in This Chaotic World

I have, in the past written about the importance of resilience. The importance of being able to stand tall against all the unexpected stresses and strains of life. Resilience, when viewed as a skill, is, I believe, vital.

However it can be much more important and beneficial to develop resilience in early life. Being resilient can also have a huge benefit on an individual’s health and personal development.

The world’s children, when they reach adulthood will have to face many problems which are only just beginning to arise, or are yet to make themselves known. Climate change which is becoming an increasing threat, will in time be a severe and present one. Current geopolitical struggles may deteriorate into terrible wars and strife. In response developing strong resilience could prove to be a highly effective way to function in this unpredictable world.

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Why is it important to develop resilience in children?

It has been shown that developing resilience in childhood is much more effective than developing resilience in adulthood.  In childhood the brain is still developing, as such it is much more adaptable and flexible than the brain of an adult. Things discovered and learned are far more likely to be absorbed in childhood than adulthood. So if resilience is fostered in childhood, they will, in adulthood be far more resilient and adaptable than someone who had no extra resilience fostered in them[1].

Resilience is not just the ability to keep a cool head in stressful situations either. Resilience can help us feel extremely balanced and in control in life, no matter the situation. Resilience has been shown to:

  • Improve academic achievement in school (and not be overcome by study stress)
  • Improve mental and physical health (largely by limiting the affects of stress which can have severe effects on physical and mental health)
  • Improved productivity. This is quite simple: being able to function well and adapt to very stressful situations means you will be able to get more done in them. Stress about work makes things more difficult, by removing the stress, you remove the extra difficulty.
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence. When your child sees themselves overcoming stressful situations with relative ease or see themselves doing well no matter what is working against them, they will naturally feel good about themselves and feel in control.

If the above in mind, it seems like wanting to inspire extra resilience in your child is a great thing to strive for, and it is. But how do you develop resilience?

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Here are five ways to improve your child’s resilience[2]:

Be there with your child every step of the way.
As you’re obviously the kind of parent to read articles about child development, you may already fulfilling the criteria for this tip. But countless research has demonstrated that the single most important thing a parent can do for their child, (not just to foster resilience but, well…everything) is to be there for them. Having the support of just one dependable parent, guardian, or caregiver can have a massively beneficial affect on a child.

Strong relationships like this will not only provide the child with a strong supportive influence. Your child will begin to monitor and regulate their behavior to be similar to them, so if you are strong and supportive, they will become strong and supportive, and with this, will become more resilient as they have a measure of strength and security in their life.

Bring and build optimism for your child.
Optimism has been shown to be a key feature of resilient people. This makes sense, people who are able to re-frame situations to see the positive side in them will always respond better to difficult situations, and by doing so, will be more resilient. If your child responds pessimistically to their next setback or disappointment, it is your job to help them see things differently[3]. In every failure is a new opportunity.

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There is a famous quote by Thomas Edison, after failing a few of his early attempts to build a working light bulb someone asked him how he felt about the many failures. His response was wonderful, he said:

“I haven’t failed, I’ve discovered 10,000 ways how not to invent a light bulb”

Of course, in the end, he succeeded too!

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Encourage your child a small level of measured risk-taking[4].
Obviously I’m not saying you should encourage them to do something dangerous. However it can be beneficial to encourage your child to do things when there is a possibility of failure. Trying and failing at something worthwhile is infinitely more important than never trying.
In doing this, and developing this mindset will make your child learn that no failure is world ending or absolute if you keep on trying. This mindset is a key building block of resilience.

Don’t rush in and solve all of your child’s problems, but allow room from growth.
If your child comes to see you as the one who solves their problems, then there is no room for them to grow, for them to experience success and failure through their efforts alone. Whilst it is important to be their rock, or their advocate, you need to give them a chance to try things for themselves, even if they fail. You can never learn to ride a bike properly if you never remove the training wheels.Again, once they see themselves succeeding by their efforts, and working through every failure. They will become more resilient changes and failures as a consequence.

Be a role model and someone your child could look up to.
All of these mean little if they don’t have someone to base their actions on. If they have no model of resilience to emulate[5]. This is where you come in. I’ve written about the importance of being a supportive influence, but sometimes that isn’t enough. You can’t be a pessimist and help someone become an optimist. You need to live and act in the ways you want your child to act.
Here both you, and your child, will become develop great resilience and stand tall against all that life throws at you.

Reference

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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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