Having children is like living in a frat house — nobody sleeps, everything’s broken, and there’s a lot of throwing up. – Ray Romano
Parenting is both the most difficult and most rewarding job. Kids don’t come with a manual, but if they did it might include these questions you should get in the habit of asking yourself.
Are My Kids Having Fun?
Life tends to get so busy that sometime we forget to prioritize play.
Am I Having Fun?
Same question (almost). If you are so busy chauffering and cooking and doing laundry that you are forgetting to enjoy your children, you need to take a hard look at your priorities.Advertising
Did My Child Eat Well?
Consider quality, not quantity. Were fruits and vegetables the bulk of the diet? Great. Are you limiting too strictly? Every child needs to taste cotton candy once.
Did My Child Sleep Well?
Children need their sleep. If they aren’t getting a reasonable amount of sleep they are not thriving.
Did My Child Learn Something?
This isn’t the same as a getting good grades. It’s about being curious and excited to learn anything from weaving to dinosaur names. Open their minds to the joy of learning.
Did My Child Successfully Negotiate Stress?
Kids need to learn to recognize both how stress feels and how to reduce it in order to navigate the adult world. If you never allow them to experience fear, failure, or grit, they don’t get the opportunity to develop these skills.Advertising
Did I Yell?
How did you feel after yelling? How do you think your child felt?
Why Did I Yell?
You know yelling feels awful for both you and your child. Why do you do it? Some part of you thinks that it works. Remind yourself that it is not the most effective way.
Did I Blame My Child?
If you hear yourself saying “you make me so mad” or “you make mommy sad,” it is time to take ownership of your feelings. “When you come home late I feel worried” or “when you use that tone of voice I feel like you don’t respect me” would convey your feelings without blaming your child for them.
Did I Praise Enough?
It takes seven positive comments to negate the effects of one negative. To build our children’s confidence and self-esteem, we need to praise them more than we might think.Advertising
Did I Praise the Right Things?
Praising a child for things like being smart or pretty is actually harmful to his ability to become resilient. If the child thinks smart is something he is rather then recognizing the grit he puts into learning something, when he eventually is confronted by something that is harder to learn he might think he isn’t smart rather than attempting to work it out.
Am I Treating My Child’s Success as My Own?
Recognize that if she is successful, it is her own. You don’t get to relive your dreams of becoming a soccer player or ballet dancer through your child.
What Do I Want My Children To Feel Today?
Important, respected, and happy.
If This Was My Last Day, What Would I Do Differently?
We have to go to work and cook dinner and do homework but if we looked back on the day, would we do it this way again? Did you laugh? Did you listen?Advertising
Did I Do Something Today to Foster My Child’s Independence?
As your child’s pre-frontal cortex develops a parent is tasked with balancing independence with protection. What are you still doing for your child that he could be doing for himself? Let him do it, it helps foster self-trust.
Am I Parenting Out of Fear or Comfort?
Am I moving towards something I want for my child or away from something I don’t want? It is always more powerful to move toward.
Am I Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution?
Are you helping your child avoid things she doesn’t like doing? That is encouraging avoidance. Instead be on her side encouraging her to develop grit and perseverance.
What Is My Most Important Role as a Parent?
Spend some time thinking about this, then align all your parenting with that role.
Did I Learn From My Mistakes?
We all make them. Admit, then learn from them. Move on. Tomorrow is another day and you need to model this for your children.
What Am I Thankful For?
Reminding ourselves of what we already have or do opens our minds to finding more great things and opportunities as parents.
Last Updated on September 30, 2020
How to Live a Stress Free Life in a Way Most People Don’t
Learning how to live a stress free life may seem impossible, but the truth is that there are specific things you can do to begin eliminating sources of stress.
No, it doesn’t look like a made-for-television movie. No, it doesn’t look like something only people with extra time and money can do. It looks like your life—but without any self-created stress triggers.
Here are 11 ways to help you live a stress-free life:
1. Stop Overanalyzing Situations That Haven’t Happened
The first step to living a stress-free life is to stop overanalyzing imaginary scenarios. It’s easy to spend time in the world of worst-case scenarios. People tend to cultivate this world for one of two reasons.
First, because if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then it won’t surprise you when it happens. Second, if you know what the worst-case scenario is, then you can do everything in your power to control the universe so the worst case never happens.
If that’s really the world you want to cultivate, then become a professional risk assessor. If not, then ask yourself how you are benefiting from continuing to live that way.
Does it make you feel better about yourself and your life? Does it make you want to leap out of bed in the morning, eager to embrace the worst-case scenario? Does it bring you joy or fulfillment?
If your answer to these three questions is no, then stop living in the future and bring yourself back into the present.
2. Don’t Take on Other People’s Problems
The whole advantage of other people having problems is that they aren’t your problems. When you frequently take on other people’s problems, you get into the habit of enabling.
Let’s get crystal clear about the definition of enabling: enabling is the art of continuing to take responsibility for other people, thereby disallowing their personal responsibility.
It is of no service to other people to take on their problems because they can’t/won’t/don’t know how to fix the problem.
It is of service to empower others to take responsibility for themselves and their lives, to encourage, teach, and motivate others to address their own problems. So stop enabling, and start empowering.
3. Get Present in the Moment
Being present in the moment involves being in your body and feeling your feelings—two things that lots of folks actually don’t know how to do.
Ask yourself these two questions: What does fear feel like in your body? What are you afraid of?
If you don’t know the answer to these questions, you probably aren’t present in the moment. Being present involves vulnerability, humility, and openness.
The past and the future stop being so relevant and intriguing when you’re able to get in your body and feel your feelings. When you can do these two things, you actually want to be in the present moment.
To get started, close your eyes, focus on your breathing, and watch your stress levels drop. Then, try these tips: How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying.
4. Focus on What You Have, Not What You Don’t
The easiest way to stop focusing on what you don’t have is by not watching TV commercials. Marketing teaches us to focus on what we don’t have, and advertising campaigns spend millions of dollars convincing us that we must have what we don’t yet have.
Can you think of a marketing campaign that teaches you to enjoy what you already have without buying something to enhance it? Odds are you can’t.
In a world dictated by Super Bowl commercials and Facebook ads, it takes stalwart focus to recognize what you have more than what you don’t. If you want a stress-free life now, get stalwart, and stop letting other people dictate your focus.
In order to do this, try cultivating a gratitude practice to help refocus your mind toward what is good in your life. You can get started with this guide.
5. Stop Surrounding Yourself With People Who Don’t Make You Happy
Honestly, what kind of people do you really like to be around with? People who get you, who see you clearly, who accept your flaws and all; people you can be yourself with; people who have shared interests?
How many of those people are in your life? What characteristics do all of the other people in your life have?
If you find that the people in your life aren’t adding anything positive, it may be time to make some changes. If you find that other relationships you have are downright toxic, start working to cut out those relationships immediately.
6. Find a Job That Makes You Feel Good
You don’t have to stay at a job just because it pays the bills. Most people spend more time working than sleeping. The average person spends 40 to 80 hours a week—or 2,000 to 4,000 hours a year—working. That is a significant investment!
If your best friend or child told you that they were going to spend 4,000 hours giving their emotional, mental, and physical energy to something (or someone) that wasn’t going to value them, give anything back to them, or pay them what they were worth, what advice would you offer? Give that same advice to yourself. You won’t be stress-free unless you don’t learn this.
7. Only Take on What You Can Handle
Busyness is an addiction. Slowing down can actually be terrifying because it causes you to notice that you have feelings that you now have time to feel.
I get it.
By the time I slowed down, I had decades of busyness under my belt. I went into a tailspin depression because I didn’t understand how to be in the right relationship with my own emotions.
When I finally figured out that feelings are just feelings and allowing them to express themselves is healthy and natural, I stopped experiencing withdrawal from my addiction to busyness and started figuring out the pace of life that felt best for me.
Remarkably, I discovered that I don’t actually like being busy. What will you discover about yourself?
8. Let Go of Grudges and Anger
For me, it took 20 years of adulthood to figure out that holding on to grudges and anger only hurt me. Lucky for you, though, you can benefit vicariously from my experience just by reading one short paragraph!
No one is holding your feet to the fire, demanding that you hold on to grudges and anger. The energy of anger slowly eats away at your body, mind, and spirit, until one day you wake up more resentful than optimistic.
One day, people no longer want to be around you because the stink of negativity is oozing out of your pores. One day, you even get tired of hearing yourself get angry. And the person or people you are angry at or holding grudges against probably haven’t been affected at all.
Who gets hurt the most in that process of repeating negative thoughts? You do.
Some good advice for you here: How to Let Go of Resentment and Anger
9. Stop Reliving Your Past
To live a stress-free life, you have to stop reliving your past. I know it seems like fun to compare everything in your present to your past, and to experience the present through past-colored glasses, but it actually isn’t.
When you wear past-colored glasses, you can’t truly experience the present for what it is. Your boyfriend or girlfriend gets compared to a list of expectations and failed relationships rather than recognized for the unique blessing they are in your life.
Your boss gets compared to all the bosses who came before her/him. Your friends’ ability to parent gets compared to your parents’ ability to parent.
People, including you, deserve to stand on their own past-free merit.
10. Don’t Complain About Things You Can’t Change
There are always going to be people elected into office whom you don’t like, taxes that you don’t want to pay, idiot drivers who refuse to move out of the left-hand lane, and a person ahead of you in the check-out line who won’t stop chatting with the clerk.
The great benefit of being human is that we get to experience all of what life offers us. To live stress-free is to learn to deal with this fact.
Dwelling on your frustration with something that can’t be changed doesn’t do anything other than drag you down. You are the only person who will ultimately decide how to respond to what is.
11. Stop Living Through Other People’s Lives
Someone else’s life is not your life. Your life is your life.
What that means is you get to live your life in the way you want. You get to make ridiculous mistakes, take leaps of faith, and stuff things inside your handbag of fear just as much as the next person.
Going through stuff is the whole great messy adventure of being human! Being alive and living life is terrifying and glorious and everything in between.
Stop living through social media, trying to soak in all of the experiences everyone else is having. Focus, instead, on what it feels like to be you in this moment. You may find you like it.
An astounding thing happens when you reduce stress and anxiety, get into a relationship with your body, mind, and spirit, and just be yourself without judgment.
Your life literally slows down. You stop wishing for the weekend. You begin to live in each moment, and you start feeling like a human being. You just ride the wave that is life, with this feeling of contentment and joy.
You move fluidly, steadily, calmly, and gratefully. A veil is lifted, and a whole new perspective is born through improved mental health. And this is how you live a stress-free life.
More Tips on How to Live a Stress-Free Life
- Do You Want to Know the Secret to Living a Fulfilling Life?
- 7 Stress Management Techniques to Get You Back on Track
- 18 Basic Rules to Lead A Fulfilling Life
Featured photo credit: Drew Coffman via unsplash.com
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