By answering many probing questions that reveal intimate details about themselves, couples make deep, lasting connections. This is what researchers find is relationship super glue: We consistently like the people with whom we do back and forth self-disclosure. We like them a lot. So much, that we might even fall in love with them all over again!
Self-centeredness and generosity are not mutually exclusive; they are more like next-door neighbors. In other words, your child has the capacity for both. It may drive us crazy to hear the gimmes, but if we want our kids to learn generosity, we’ll be better served to pause, exhale and teach our kids to feel good about giving.
The problem facing most Americans is not the Ebola virus, it’s our anxiety about the Ebola virus. Yes, we are good at panicking, but we are also good at steadying ourselves and being smarter than our worry, and this is our opportunity to get even better at that.
The brain has a hard time transitioning, starting things that don’t have immediate gratification waiting. But, the brain does like finishing things. So a parent’s job is to help kids develop a routine to quickly jumpstart their work, get a hook into those books, so that their wired-in desire to finish things will reel them in and help them get the work done.
If kids knew to expect the struggle, and viewed it as temporary and manageable, and that on the other side of it is the aha moment of success and pride—well, they wouldn’t be so set on avoiding their work fearing that it will gobble them (and their self-esteem) up; they’d head in knowing that they will emerge triumphant soon (like they always do).
We don’t have to feel the same things that people with depression do, or even understand them. But by trusting in the existence of that dark and murky reality, and leaning in to those who see it, perhaps we can offer a life-line, a connection, a glimpse of another way that life can feel, that even temporarily those who suffer may just be able to grab hold of.
All anxiety starts with the same experience. The “yikes” button gets pushed and kids think: “Yikes! Can I really do that?" The answer of course is yes, but worry's automatic reaction is—no! Better than any reassurance, when you teach your child that worry is something to test, not trust, you are teaching them skills that will serve them well all throughout their life.
The uneasiness makes sense. Your role as a parent at this point is not to take it away (if you even could!), but to help explain it, normalize it, contain it and most of all help your child understand that it is temporary and it will pass.
Rather than makes things worse by wasting time finding the misunderstandings under the rubble of the hour long recapitulation, re-hashings and analysis, when all the good parking spaces of the beach were taken, we made things better–quickly–by offering the opportunity to, respectfully, rewind and try that one again.
It’s not the ups and downs of burnt toast that are a problem for us and by extension our kids. It’s our reaction to these events. In the interactive world of crossed emotional wires, or what has been called by scientists: “the neurobiology of we,” our detours into internal distress challenge our children’s inner sense of safety: we take them along for that bumpy ride.
In sports, managing the mind is as important as managing the body. Practicing mind-management yields what United States figure skater Jeremy Abbott describes as “mental toughness.” I think of it as mental agility—being flexible in your mind to put your focus where you need it most.
When we are thinking “we” our bodies respond in kind. The magic of this word we is that it’s a game-changer. When we say “we” we set in motion a “connectedness” program in the brain (and body) and so that rather than being in survival mode (think: you against me), we can be creative, generous, collaborative and loving whether we are cleaning up cat barf or making love.
Take my too much to do life combine it with my kids too little to do life, and you have two very different weather systems colliding in my kitchen—the result: a storm, a melt down, me being a monster, feeling like the kids are (forgive me) leisure monsters, it is not too pretty. But I figured out a solution and it’s a win-win and it’s called the Common Good List.
When world events increase our sense of vulnerability, it’s a good time to consider that all the ways that we increase our daily stress by worrying, catastrophizing, or judging ourselves or others harshly are actually optional. So, take a minute and commit to eliminating the unnecessary self-imposed sources of stress in your life.
Instead of perfect love, which requires you to skip the parts that you don't like, go for true love. Think of true love as more love. It's what you get when you mix it all in: the good, the great, and the less-good and great. If there were no remainder in the mathematics of your love, but rather it all got factored in, suddenly, you're rich.
We live life with a go big or go home expectation that just doesn't fit when it comes to making changes. Resolutions are the opportunity to create new habits and new habits take time. Maybe our resolutions weren’t a failure at all, but our expectations about how quickly we could turn them into a routine missed the mark.
January is a complicated month. At first blush, it's like new love. There's that wonderful, wind-beneath-your-wings feeling, that promise of a fresh start, an open door to the possibility that everything will be different (perfect) this time. Faster than you can say, "I'm going to renew my gym membership and go every single day!" along comes the other January: the bully.
You emerge from these “happy” occasions demoralized or in a red-hot fury, plot your revenge, schedule an extra appointment with your shrink and talk about your family the whole way home. You are incredulous. They ‘gotcha again! “Again?” It doesn’t have to be this way for you.
It’s time to change our relationship with the holidays. We don’t have to break up with them, but just know that as with all things anxiety, the holidays aren’t the problem; it’s the story in our head about the holidays that needs to change.
Abraham Lincoln famously said, "I don't like that man. I need to get to know him better." This is how we remove stigma. When we judge someone, what we reject or don't like has more to do with our own ideas about them—projected on them from a distance generated by irrational fear or misinformation—than with whom they actually are.
When you complain, you have a win-win: your partner gets to be the hero, just by not squeezing the middle of the tube and everyone’s happy. When you criticize, you’re left with shame and blame. Who would want to touch that with a ten-foot pole? And what even happened to the toothpaste tube issue? Lost in the rapid-fire attack. No wonder the other person never listens.
The best things in life come out of change, often times even the changes that are unwanted. We don’t have to embrace change by diving in to those cold choppy waters headfirst, but if we can start by just dipping our toes in, one foot at a time, before we know it, we’ll be well on our way to arriving at our new destination.
Whoa there. Not so fast. What just happened? Has any of this happened? Is it likely to? Are there a ton of other possibilities that are a much surer bet than the catastrophic news feed running rip shod through your head?
When we say, "It better happen or else I'm gonna", fact is, the thing we're "gonna" do is get frustrated or, over time, even depressed. We create expectations, ultimatums and deals without making sure that the people who could make our dreams come true are actually in on the plan—whether that's ourselves or someone else.