How long can you go without your phone? Can you enjoy a special moment without recording it? Can you tolerate the boredom of waiting, or driving, or laying in bed? Can you just be present, without giving into the urge to see what’s happening online?
Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.”
– Nido Qubein
Loving-kindness meditation does far more than produce momentary good feelings.
Research convincingly shows that it actually puts people on “trajectories of growth,” leaving them better able to ward off depression and “become ever more satisfied with life.” This is probably because it increases a wide range of those resources that make for a meaningful and successful life, like having an increased sense of purpose, stronger social support, and less illness. Research even shows that loving-kindness meditation “changes the way people approach life” for the better.
Moreover, doing a simple loving-kindness meditation can make us feel less isolated and more connected to those around us: one study showed that a SINGLE SEVEN MINUTE loving-kindness meditation made people feel more connected to and positive about both loved ones and total strangers, and more accepting of themselves. Imagine what a regular practice could do!
To deepen your understanding of the benefits of mindfulness and meditation in your parenting, register for my Mindful Parenting class. We’ll cover how to kickstart a mindfulness practice in your life, strategies that you can use immediately and offer resources for further practice.
How well parents manage their own stress is one of the top three most important factors for children’s success and happiness. Registration is now open for our Mindful Parenting online class, which offers some of the best stress management techniques science has to offer.
- Studies show that mindfulness in parents can actually improve children’s behaviors.
- Mindfulness in children can reduce their stress, anxiety and depression. We’ll discuss simple strategies for beginning a mindfulness practice with kids of all ages.
- Over-scheduling kids can have unintended consequences. Learn how to prevent problems related to having too much scheduled time while raising emotional intelligence!
Now get continuing education credits!
Raising Happiness is a licensed CEU provider by the California Board of Behavorial Sciences. Our license number is PCE 5355. Learn more here.
Multi-tasking talent is nothing to brag about. If we just focused on one task at a time, we’d actually be more productive in the long run, and we’d be less exhausted at the end of the day. This is because multi-tasking exhausts more energy and time than single-tasking does. Take it from productivity experts Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy:
Distractions are costly: A temporary shift in attention from one task to another—stopping to answer an email or take a phone call, for instance—increased the amount of time necessary to finish the primary task by as much as 25 percent, a phenomenon known as “switching time.”
It is often harder for me to single-task than it is to multi-task. I have to totally remove all distractions to single-task: I do my best writing at a desk I’ve set up in a large closet that doesn’t get phone reception, with my email disabled. I group my daily tasks into two categories: “Think Work” and “Action Items.” Then I block off time on my calendar for both things. I do my Think Work at the closet desk totally uninterrupted, setting a timer so that I take a break every 60-90 minutes.
My Action Items take less focus, but I still tackle them one at a time in sequence—not parallel. Unless I’m working my way through my email, my email application is closed. I answer the phone only for scheduled calls. I leave my iPhone in do-not-disturb mode (so that I can see if my kids’ school is calling, but that’s about it) and reply to texts when I’m taking a break. Having these “rules” for myself has dramatically increased my productivity.
Take Action: If you are a chronic multi-tasker, make a plan for how you can focus more and multi-task less. Do you need to remove distractions? Group similar activities?
Join the Discussion: What works best for you? Inspire others by leaving a comment.
Photo by Pedro Moura Pinheiro
A fresh pep talk from Kid President: “You’re made from love, to be loved, to spread love.” I LOVE KID PRESIDENT!!
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.”
– Mother Teresa
We know intuitively that how happy we are—in a relationship or otherwise—affects our children. Our emotions are contagious, and so when a romantic partner loves us unconditionally, the happiness and security that love brings can spill over, to our children’s benefit. Romance also has the potential to make us better parents: positive emotions (like love) and the social support of a partner can make us warmer and more responsive to our children.
An interesting study presented at a meeting of the American Psychological Association by Robert Epstein and Shannon Fox shows this to be true in a different way.
The researchers compared the effectiveness of 10 important parenting practices and skills; for example, they examined how well parents reported supporting their children’s education, and to what extent they provide educational opportunities for them. Here are the top three most important “parenting competencies,” as reported by Epstein in Scientific American Mind, in terms of their influence on kids’ health, happiness, and school success, as well as the quality of the parent’s relationship with their children:
1. Love and affection. You support and accept the child, are physically affectionate, and spend quality one-on-one time together.
2. Stress management. You take steps to reduce stress for yourself and your child, practice relaxation techniques and promote positive interpretations of events.
3. Relationship skills. You maintain a healthy relationship with your spouse, significant other and/or co-parent and model effective relationship skills with other people.
Here is what I think is amazing about that list: two of those three most important practices aren’t even parenting skills, per se, in that they don’t directly affect our children. Or do they?
We all know that when we are stressed out, our stress spills over, and often makes our children anxious. So stress management skills turn out to be really important for our relationship with our children, and also our children’s happiness and school success!
So too with our relationship with our children’s other parent, whether or not we are romantically involved, as well as our relationship with a romantic partner (if it isn’t the other parent). It’s true: little is more important than maintaining and improving the relationships we have with our partners and co-parents. Like most parents, I try to model positive relationship skills for my for my children; all this great new science related to what happy couples do is helpful in knowing how to grow the love in my life.
Epstein and Fox’s study found another thing to be true: that parenting education can improve our parenting, and therefore our children’s outcomes. Epstein writes: “Our data confirm that parents who have taken parenting classes produce better outcomes with their children than parents who lack such training and that more training leads to better outcomes.”
To that end, I have a class to offer you: sign up for my Rekindling Romance online class. This class focuses on building a foundation for a passionate, long lasting, and joyful romance. Take the class in the comfort of your own home at your leisure. For more information or to register, click here.
Transform your relationship in four short weeks!
Rekindling Romance — an online class you can take on your own time — will help you build a foundation for a passionate, long lasting, and joyful relationship.
This class will help you:
- Take your relationship to the next level. We’ll discuss easy and effective strategies for feeling closer to your partner.
- End recurring arguments once and for all. We’ll discuss how to categorize the problems you have in your relationship, decide which problems you can live with, and solve the problems you don’t want to deal with any more.
- Build a foundation for a passionate, joyful, and sustainable romantic relationship.
Now get continuing education credits!
Raising Happiness is a licensed CEU provider by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Our license number is PCE 5355. Learn more here.