Category - Mindfulness

Posts related to meditation, mindfulness and living in the moment

Could election stress be damaging your health?

This is what stress can feel like

Stress! Everyone experiences it sometimes. During the lead up to the election and in the few days since President Trump came into office, stress levels have been sky high for many people. Could that stress be damaging your health?

Absolutely!

Quick summary of what happens when you are stressed

When you feel threatened (from actual physical danger, a looming deadline, fear of the unknown, etc) your body goes into the flight or fight response. As a result, your body is flooded with hormones, particularly adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause many physical changes in your body which can include:

  • increased heart rate
  • a rise in blood pressure
  • headaches
  • increased inflammation

Green with sickness

None of these are good for your health! And these are just the physical issues. Stress can also lead to depression, anxiety, lack of focus and motivation, anger, drug and alcohol abuse, and social withdrawal.

Some data that suggests that acute, or short term, stress can have a positive effect on your immune system, and therefore your health. It is the chronic, long term, stress that you really have to worry about. Your body is not designed to be in flight or fight mode constantly and this is very detrimental to your health. Find more information here.

If you spend any time on social media, you can clearly see that chronic stress is a big problem in our country right now. People are constantly trying to push their point of view and fight against those who disagree, friends and family are attacking each other over the direction our country is heading, and many have given up trying to understand the “other side’s” point of view.

What to do about it

Friends on the beach

You can reduce stress in many ways. Some of the most effective methods are:

  • meditation
  • exercise
  • deep breathing
  • socializing (not arguing) with friends and family
  • setting aside time to do things you enjoy.

I am going to add another one that is specific to this post-election period we are in but can also be used anytime:

...try to understand how they feel

When you listen and truly want to understand another person’s point of view amazing things can happen. Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone and make it happen? Let me know the results in the comments!

Empathy is not agreement...

Sleep: 5 signs you (or your child) may not be getting enough

Sleep! Most adults can’t get enough of it! Many children also need more of it!

A little sleep makes everything better

We are all so busy that sleep is often the first thing to go when we can’t fit it all in. That is a big mistake! Sleep affects so many aspects of our life that if we aren’t getting enough it will show up in often unexpected ways.

5 somewhat surprising ways a lack of sleep will present itself

  1. Memory: It seems obvious that when we are sleep-deprived we are less focused and have a hard time paying attention. What may not be as clear is that inadequate rest also makes it difficult to pull up previously learned information. So although you may have been driving for years, exhaustion makes it difficult to access that knowledge and can result in bad decisions on the road.
  2. Hyperactivity: Surprised? This one is actually specific to kids. A 2009 study showed that children who don’t get enough shuteye are more likely to be hyperactive and impulsive. If you want your kids to be successful in their day to day lives – from school, to sports, to friendships – make sure they are getting plenty of sleep every night.
  3. Hunger: Sleep and metabolism are connected. Studies have shown that when we don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin (a hormone that increases appetite) levels increase. When we feel hungry we often eat more, potentially leading to weight gain.
  4. Clumsiness: So we all have our moments of being a klutz. If it’s happening more than occasionally it could very well be a sign of sleep deprivation.
  5. ADHD: No I’m not saying that lack of zzz’s causes ADHD! What I am saying is that many of the signs of sleep deprivation in children mimic those of ADHD: lack of focus, memory problems, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, lack of social skills, procrastination, and depression. This list could apply to a child with ADHD or a chronically sleep-deprived child. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD it may be worth considering the impact their nightime routine has.
  6. 5 signs your child may not be getting enough sleep

Family motto: should you have one?

Kind, Brave and Curious word art

Those four simple words represent our family motto. Do you have one? Let me tell you why we do.

All parents want their kids to be happy, healthy, successful (whatever that means), and loved. If only wanting made things so, parenting would be so easy. The reality is that parenting is hard! There are so many lessons we have to teach our kids; so many things we want them to know that sometimes it feels like all we do is talk at them about their choices and actions. We hope that all of these lessons stick but often we’re unsure. Have we done enough to prepare our kids for the real world? What kind of choices will they make as they gain independence and don’t come to us to help them solve all their problems?

The family motto to the rescue! Our kids know that we expect them to live their lives with our family motto as their guiding principle. When they are faced with a decision about what to do, we suggest they lean on these words to see where they direct them.

The word KindIs it kind to…

  • exclude people?
  • help someone who is struggling?
  • throw garbage on the ground?
  • pick up after yourself?
  • keep everything for yourself?
  • share what you have?
  • not keep a secret?

I love how if each of these situations is thought of in terms of being kind, the solution presents itself quite easily.

The word BRAVE

Is it brave to…

  • follow the crowd when you know what they are doing is wrong?
  • go outside your comfort zone?
  • pick on others?
  • wear the clothes you like regardless of what others think?
  • smoke, drink or do drugs?
  • say no when everyone expects you say yes?

Being brave can be challenging but it is about doing the things you don’t think you can do!

The word Curious

Are you being curious when you…

  • do the minimum amount of work you can to get by?
  • don’t try new things?
  • make new friends?
  • don’t listen to someone else’s point of view?
  • take a new class?
  • insist that you are right?
  • ask someone what they think?

Bring curious is how you expand your horizons. That can mean opening your mind, learning more about your world or getting to know people better.

I’m not naive enough to think that just thinking about these 3 words will be ebough to solve any problem. What I do think is that they can be a guiding compass when the going gets tough.

When I think about what I want my kids to be when they grow up, these are the words that come to mind. If they live their lives being kind, brave and curious, I believe everything else will fall into place.

What is (or would be) your family motto?