There are many tools and techniques you can use to manage and eliminate anxiety and worry effectively. Below, experts shared healthy ways to worry less and cope with anxiety right here, right now at this moment.
When you’re feeling anxious, you might feel stuck and unsure of how to feel better. You might even do things that unwittingly fuel your anxiety—like hyperfocusing on the future or getting carried away by a slew of what-ifs: What if I start to feel worse? What if they hate my presentation? What if she sees me sweating? What if I bomb the exam? What if I don’t get the house?
You might judge and bash yourself for your anxiety. You might believe your negative worst-case scenario thoughts are indisputable facts.
So, how do you worry less and reduce your anxiety right now? Thankfully, there are many tools and techniques you can use to manage anxiety effectively. Below, experts shared healthy ways to cope with anxiety right here, right now.
Here are nine ways to worry less and reduce or eliminate anxiety right now:
- 1. Take a deep breath to worry less & reduce anxiety.
- 2. Control anxiety by accepting you’re anxious.
- 3. Eliminate anxiety by realizing your brain is playing tricks on you.
- 4. When you are anxious, question your thoughts.
- 5. Calm down by using a calming visualization.
- 6. Control worry by being an observer—without judgment.
- 7. Combat stress with positive self-talk.
- 8. Minimize anxiety by focusing on right now.
- 9. Calm yourself by concentrating on meaningful activities.
1. Take a deep breath to worry less & reduce anxiety.
“The first thing to do when you get anxious is to breathe,” says Tom Corboy, MFT, founder and executive director of the OCD Center of Los Angeles and co-author of the upcoming book The Mindfulness Workbook for OCD.
Deep diaphragmatic breathing is a powerful anxiety-reducing technique because it activates the body’s relaxation response. It helps the body go from the fight-or-flight responseof the sympathetic nervous system to the relaxed response of the parasympathetic nervous system, says Marla W. Deibler, PsyD, a clinical psychologist and director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC.
She suggests this practice: “Try slowly inhaling to a count of 4, filling your belly first and then your chest, gently holding your breath to a count of 4, and slowly exhaling to a count of 4, and repeat several times.”
2. Control anxiety by accepting you’re anxious.
Remember “anxiety is just a feeling, like any other feeling,” says Deibler, author of Psych Central blog Therapy That Works. By reminding yourself that anxiety is simply an emotional reaction, you can start to accept it, adds Corboy.
Acceptance is critical because trying to wrangle or eliminate anxiety often worsens it. It just perpetuates the idea that your anxiety is intolerable, he says.
But accepting your anxiety doesn’t mean liking it or resigning yourself to a miserable existence. “It just means you would benefit by accepting reality as it is—and in that moment, reality includes anxiety. The bottom line is the feeling of anxiety is less than ideal, but it is not intolerable.”
3. Eliminate anxiety by realizing your brain is playing tricks on you.
Psychiatrist Kelli Hyland, MD, has seen firsthand how a person’s brain can make them believe they’re dying of a heart attack when they’re actually having a panic attack.
She recalls an experience she had as a medical student: “I had seen people having heart attacks and look this ill on the medical floors for medical reasons, and it looked exactly the same. A wise, kind, and experienced psychiatrist came over to [the patient] and gently, calmly reminded him he is not dying, that it will pass, and his brain is playing tricks on him. It calmed me too, and we both just stayed with him until [the panic attack] was over.”
Today, Hyland, who has a private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah, tells her patients the same thing: “It helps remove the shame, guilt, pressure, and responsibility for fixing yourself or judging yourself in the midst of needing nurturing more than ever.”
4. When you are anxious, question your thoughts.
“When people are anxious, their brains start coming up with all sorts of outlandish ideas, many of which are highly unrealistic and unlikely to occur,” Corboy says. And these thoughts only heighten an individual’s already anxious state.
For instance, say you’re about to give a wedding toast. Thoughts like “Oh, my God, I can’t do this. It will kill me” may be running through your brain.
Remind yourself, however, that this isn’t a catastrophe, and, in reality, no one has died giving a toast, Corboy says. “Yes, you may be anxious, and you may even flub your toast,” he says. “But the worst thing that will happen is that some people, many of whom you will never see again, will get a few chuckles, and, by tomorrow, they will have completely forgotten about it.”
Deibler also suggests asking yourself these questions when challenging your thoughts:
- “Is this worry realistic?
- Is this really likely to happen?
- If the worst possible outcome happens, what would be so bad about that?
- Could I handle that?
- What might I do?
- If something bad happens, what might that mean about me?
- Is this really true or does it just seem that way?
- What might I do to prepare for whatever may happen?”
5. Calm down by using a calming visualization.
Hyland suggests practicing the following meditation regularly, which will make it easier to access when you’re anxious in the moment: “Picture yourself on a river bank or outside in a favorite park, field, or beach. Watch leaves pass by on the river or clouds pass by in the sky. Assign [your] emotions, thoughts, [and] sensations to the clouds and leaves, and just watch them float by.”
This is very different from what people typically do. Typically, we assign emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations certain qualities and judgments, such as good or bad, right or wrong, Hyland says. And this often amplifies anxiety. Remember: “It is all just information.”
6. Control worry by being an observer—without judgment.
Hyland gives her new patients a 3×5 index card with the following written on it: “Practice observing (thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations, judgment) with compassion or without judgment.”
Explains Hyland: “I have had patients come back after months or years and say they still have that card on their mirror or up on their car dash, and it helps them.”
7. Combat stress with positive self-talk.
Anxiety can produce a lot of negative chatter. Tell yourself “positive coping statements,” says Deibler. For instance, you might say, “this anxiety feels bad, but I can use strategies to manage it.”
8. Minimize anxiety by focusing on right now.
“When people are anxious, they are usually obsessing about something that might occur in the future,” Corboy says. Instead, pause, breathe, and pay attention to what’s happening right now, he says.
Even if something serious is happening, focusing on the present moment will improve your ability to manage the situation, he adds.
9. Calm yourself by concentrating on meaningful activities.
When you’re feeling anxious, it’s also helpful to focus your attention on a “meaningful, goal-directed activity,” says Corboy. He suggests asking yourself what you’d be doing if you weren’t anxious.
If you were going to see a movie, still go. If you were going to do the laundry, still do it. “The worst thing you can do when anxious is to passively sit around obsessing about how you feel,” he says.
Doing what needs to get done teaches you key lessons: getting out of your head feels better; you’re able to live your life even though you’re anxious; and you’ll get things done.
“The bottom line is,” he says, “get busy with the business of life. Don’t sit around focusing on being anxious—nothing good will come of that.”
Make each day of your life count. Worry less and reduce anxiety as much as possible. When you worry less, you won’t be too stressed all the time. Make room for calm in your life. Let your soul be your number one priority. These ways here will help you to worry less and reduce anxiety quickly. You can master these steps so that your daily life will be lighter, calmer, and happier.
Original article by Margarita Tartakovsky, MS.
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How Meditation Affects Brain Aging in a Positive Way
Regularly setting aside time to focus your thoughts can really pay off—especially as you get older. Meditation has a positive effect in brain aging. Let’s find out…
Meditation has been moving out of yoga studios and Ashrams and into the mainstream. Bill Gates meditates, so do Derek Jeter, Arianna Huffington, and Oprah. You probably know a few devoted meditators. You might even be one yourself.
The number of Americans who say they meditate for better health or wellness increased threefold from 2012 to 2017, from 4.1% of adults to 14.2%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And folks age 45 to 64 are the most likely to say they practice regularly.
Middle age can be a perfect time to start meditating,” says Lodro Rinzler, an author and meditation teacher in New York City. “You have an awareness of your mental patterns, and perhaps a readiness to change them.”
Here’s why you might want to work meditation into your routine, and what you can expect as you get started.
The far-ranging benefits of meditating on brain aging
There’s a lot of hype about what meditation can do, but it has one undeniable benefit: more clarity. In addition, research consistently shows that a regular practice may be helpful for depression, chronic pain, and anxiety.
Studies have also documented that meditation can increase your gray matter and help slow some of the natural age-related atrophy of the brain. Regular meditators report feeling calmer, happier, and better able to deal with stressful situations.
What it really means to meditate
What, exactly, is meditation? There are many varieties of meditation, but they all share a common theme: to train the mind to stay in the present, either by focusing on the breath, a mantra, or on your passing thoughts.
The purpose is to help you change your relationship to your thoughts, so that you are not consumed by them and your mind is more spacious and quiet.
It’s normal to let wild thoughts run your life. Meditators, over time, feel less caught up by every random idea.
“Meditation changes how you think about things,” says Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist with Harvard Medical School. “Over time you come to see the way your mind works and begin to make new choices.”
Meditate for a bigger brain?
A regular practice can literally change your brain for the better. Lazar has been conducting research on the brains of meditators for over a decade; she’s particularly interested in how meditation effects the aging brain.
One of Lazar’s first studies, which was published in 2005, examined the brains of people who had been meditating regularly from 3 to 28 years and for about 40 minutes a day.
She found that these serious meditators had more gray matter—brain tissue comprising cell bodies and nerve cells— in several key areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, when compared to a similarly aged non-meditators.
Gray matter tends to shrink with age, but Lazar found that the 50-year-old meditators in the study had just as much gray matter as those who were 25, leading Lazar and her co-authors to posit that “meditation might offset age-related cortical thinning.”
Why you may feel less stress
But novice meditators also benefit. A later study co-authored by Lazar and published in 2011, studied a group of individuals who meditated regularly for just eight weeks.
It found that the subjects’ brains thickened in several key areas, including the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory, and the temporo-parietal junction, an area that processes empathy and compassion.
What’s more, the meditators’ amygdalas, the part of the brain that’s associated with the fight or flight response, actually shrank, which is likely why the meditators reported feeling less stress overall.
Study: Serious meditators had more gray matter in several key areas of the brain
More recently, a 2014 paper reviewed 12 studies that investigated the effects of meditation on cognitive decline. The review reported that meditation can have positive effects on attention, memory, executive function, processing speed, and general cognition.
The authors concluded that “meditation techniques may be able to offset age-related cognitive decline and perhaps even increase cognitive capabilities in older adults.”
How to get started
Ideally, you want to learn from a seasoned, well-trained teacher, who can provide guidance and help you over come common stumbling blocks. You can find classes at your gym, YMCA, or yoga studio. Or search for a local meditation center: If you’re in a modest-sized city there’s likely to be one nearby.
If you’d prefer to train yourself, try using an app. Headspace is the most popular (it’s the one that Gates used to get started), but there are many others, including 10% Happier: Meditation, Calm, and Insight Timer.
Download a few and see which one resonates with you. All offer free trials (after that, subscriptions can run from about $60 to $90 a year) or don’t charge at all.
Experts recommend starting with a few minutes of meditation and working up to 30 to 40 minutes of regular practice.
Be patient. At first you may feel fidgety, uncomfortable and bored. “Progress is slow, steady, and cumulative,” says Rinzler, who is also the co-founder of MNDFL a New York City meditation studio which offers classes throughout the day at three locations. “It’s like learning to play a musical instrument.”
And remember that even short meditation sessions can have an impact. Gates admits he meditates for just 10 minutes a few times a week. “I now see that meditation is simply exercise for the mind, similar to the way we exercise our muscles when we play sports,” he wrote on his blog.
“For me, it has nothing to do with faith or mysticism. It’s about taking a few minutes out of my day, learning how to pay attention to the thoughts in my head, and gaining a little bit of distance from them.”
Meditation is a powerful tool for brain aging. it has effects on brain aging in a very positive way. Find solace in meditation and experience its wonders especially on brain aging. It can calm the soul and makes brain aging really nice. It gives you peace of mind too. Find time to meditate every day and keep brain aging in a positive sense.
Original article by Lesley Alderman.
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6 Powerful Tips to Think Like A Wise Person & Act Accordingly
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” –Socrates
If I asked you to judge how smart someone is, you’d know where to start. But if you were going to assess how wise that person is, what qualities would you consider a wise person?
Wisdom is the ability to make sound judgments and choices based on experience. It’s a virtue according to every great philosophical and religious tradition, from Aristotle to Confucius and Christianity to Judaism, Islam to Buddhism, and Taoism to Hinduism. According to the book From Smart to Wise, wisdom distinguishes great leaders from the rest of the pack. So what does it take to cultivate wisdom?
In an enlightening study led by psychologists Paul Baltes and Ursula Staudinger, a group of leading journalists nominated public figures who stood out as wise. The researchers narrowed the original list down to a core set of people who were widely viewed as possessing wisdom—an accomplished group of civic leaders, theologians, scientists, and cultural icons.
They compared these wise people with a control group of professionals who were successful but not nominated as wise (including lawyers, doctors, teachers, scientists, and managers).
Both groups answered questions that gave them a chance to demonstrate their wisdom. For example, what advice would they give to a widowed mother facing a choice between shutting down her business and supporting her son and grandchildren? How would they respond to a call from a severely depressed friend?
A panel of experts evaluated their answers, and the results—along with several follow-up studies—reveal six insights about what differentiates wise people from the rest of us.
- 1. Don’t wait until you’re older and smarter. Be a wise person now.
- 2. See the world in shades of grey, not black and white.
- 3. Balance self-interest and the common good.
- 4. Challenge the status quo.
- 5. Aim to understand, rather than judge.
- 6. Focus on purpose over pleasure.
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1. Don’t wait until you’re older and smarter. Be a wise person now.
The people with the highest wisdom scores are just as likely to be 30 as 60. It turns out that the number of life experiences has little to do with the quality of those experiences. According to the data, between ages 25 to 75, the correlation between age and wisdom is zero.
Wisdom emerges not from experience itself, but rather from reflecting thoughtfully on the lessons gained from experience. Further research shows that intelligence only accounts for about 2% of the variance in wisdom.
It’s possible to be quick on your feet and skilled in processing complex information without reaching sensible solutions to problems. Cultivating wisdom is a deliberate choice that people can make regardless of age and intelligence. Here’s how they do it.
2. See the world in shades of grey, not black and white.
Imagine meeting a 15-year-old girl who plans to get married next week. What would you tell her?
Here’s a response that scored low in wisdom:
“A 15-year-old girl wants to get married? No, no way, marrying at age 15 would be utterly wrong. One has to tell the girl that marriage is not possible. (After further probing) It would be irresponsible to support such an idea. No, this is just a crazy idea.”
In contrast, wise people embraced nuance and multiple perspectives. Consider one answer that received high marks for wisdom:
“Well, on the surface, this seems like an easy problem. On average, marriage for 15-yearold girls is not a good thing. But there are situations where the average case does not fit. Perhaps in this instance, special life circumstances are involved, such that the girl has a terminal illness. Or the girl has just lost her parents.
And also, this girl may live in another culture or historical period. Perhaps she was raised with a value system different from ours. In addition, one has to think about adequate ways of talking with the girl and to consider her emotional state.”
Wise people specialize in what strategy expert Roger Martin calls integrative thinking—”the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas in their heads”—and reconcile them for the situation at hand. In the words of the philosopher Bertrand Russell, “fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.”
3. Balance self-interest and the common good.
A second defining quality of wisdom is the ability to look beyond our personal desires. As psychologist Robert Sternberg puts it: “wisdom and egocentricity are incompatible… people who have gotten where they are by not taking other people’s interests into account or even by actively thwarting the interests of others… would not be viewed as wise.”
This doesn’t mean that wise people are self-sacrificing. In Give and Take, I report evidence that well-being and success both suffer if we’re too focused on others or on ourselves. It’s neither healthy nor productive to be extremely altruistic or extremely selfish.
People who fail to secure their oxygen masks before assisting others end up running out of air, and those who pursue personal gains as the expense of others end up destroying their relationships and reputations. Wise people reject the assumption that the world is a win-lose, zero-sum place. They find ways to benefit others that also advance their own objectives.
4. Challenge the status quo.
Wise people are willing to question rules. Instead of accepting things as they have always been, wisdom involves asking whether there’s a better path. In Practical Wisdom, psychologist Barry Schwartz and political scientist Kenneth Sharpe describe a Philadelphia man who was convicted of holding up a taxi driver with a gun.
The sentencing guidelines called for two to five years in jail, but the facts of case didn’t fit: the man used a toy gun, it was his first offense, he had just lost his job, and he stole $50 to support his family. A wise judge gave him a shorter sentence and permission to hold a job outside of jail during the day so that he could take care of his family—and required him to repay the $50.
5. Aim to understand, rather than judge.
By default, many of us operate like jurors, passing judgment on the actions of others so that we can sort them into categories of good and bad. Wise people resist this impulse, operating more like detectives whose goal is to explain other people’s behaviors.
As psychologist Ellen Langer is fond of saying, “Behavior makes sense from the actors’ perspective, or else they wouldn’t do it.” Over time, this emphasis on understanding rather than evaluating yields an advantage in predicting others’ actions, enabling wise people to offer better advice to others and make better choices themselves.
6. Focus on purpose over pleasure.
In one surprising study, Baltes’ team discovered that wise people weren’t any happier than their peers. They didn’t experience more positive emotions, perhaps because wisdom requires critical self-reflection and a long-term view.
They recognized that just as today’s cloud can have a silver lining tomorrow, tomorrow’s silver lining can become next month’s suffering. However, there was a clear psychological benefit of wisdom: a stronger sense of purpose in life. From time to time, wisdom may involve putting what makes us happy on the back burner in our quest for meaning and significance.
On the way to success, many people pursue money and power over wisdom. As Benjamin Franklin once wrote:
“Who is wise? He that learns from everyone.
Who is powerful? He that governs his passions.
Who is rich? He that is content.
Who is that? Nobody.
But a truly wise person would refuse to accept that conclusion.
When you learn to be a wise person, the world is a better place. These ways listed here are some of the best ways to be a wise person. You can ponder on these words and listen to yourself. Assess yourself if you are a wise person. Be a wise person now. Do not wait for a long time to do so.
Original article by Adam Grant.
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4 Ways To Sync Your Spiritual Energy To Your Body Energy
Through energy, your body is always talking to you. There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies. Let your spiritual energy sync with your body’s energy.
Your mouth and vocal cords aren’t the only parts of your body that can say things. All around you, your body is trying to tell you something. You might be so preoccupied with other things that you forget to really focus on what your body needs. There are at least four things you can do to forge a spiritual connection with your body’s energies.
Find ways to enhance your spiritual energy. Here are some easy ways to sync your spiritual energy to your body energy.
1. Meditate & Enhance Your Spiritual Energy
Meditation can be like finding a hundred-dollar-bill in your pocket after desperately looking for money. People around the world have learned the benefits of meditation, from monks to entrepreneurs. It involves centering yourself and your thoughts. You can learn to see what has been holding you back in terms of thoughts. Meditation helps put you back into the moment, which is all anyone truly has.
2. Spend Time Around Other Spiritual People
Have you ever felt yourself feeling worse when around a certain company? People can sap your energy and deprive you of good feelings. Make sure you are spending as much time as possible around people who are positive energy presences to you. There may be situations where you’re forced to be around people with negative energy. When this happens, be aware of what’s happening, and don’t let others ruin your good feelings.
3. Find the Right Clothes
Clothing can be more than something to keep you warm and covered. It can be a way you represent yourself and what’s most important to you. For instance, a Rasta zip-up hoodie could be something you wear if you ascribe to Rastafarianism. Other pieces of clothing or accessories like meditation beads could be used to express your beliefs while also showing off your stylistic interests.
4. Use Aromatherapy
A pleasing scent can do a lot for making you feel calm. Smells can bring us to different places and help evoke powerful memories. These can also help to calm you at the right moment. Look for different things you can use for aromatherapy, such as essential oils and incense to burn. You can make a ritual out of using these, such as during meditation or before going to sleep. Try as many different scents as possible using aromatherapy whenever, when cooking in your kitchen or working in your backyard.
You need to listen to your body and your body’s energies because no one else can hear it as well as you can. All you need is to listen to yourself with as much respect as you’re able to.
Use your spiritual energy to connect with your physical energies. Once you learn these steps you’ll find it easy to connect with your souls. Meditation is important to strengthen your spiritual energy. It takes a lot of courage to do this. but is you have the commitment, you’ll even be doing these steps on a daily basis.
Find time in your daily schedules to practice these steps. These will make your spiritual energy powerful. you’ll find it calmer to go through with life. Your spiritual energy is important for your growth. Physically or mentally.
Original article by Brooke Chaplan. Brooke is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening.
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7 Simple Heart Chakra Meditation Steps To Hear The Power Within
Meditation is hearing your own inner voice, and that voice begins with the energy of your heart chakra. You can awaken to this power within and learn how to listen by starting with awareness of who you are. Let’s find out here steps for our heart chakra meditation.
Your heart never lies; it always tells you the truth. When you feel happiness, when something brings that big smile, deep laughter, that feeling like you are floating on the clouds, that is your spirit reminding you that you are yourself when you let go. Letting go is telling the universe that you are allowing for the free movement of energy through your heart.
Notice how you feel when you engage in activities that bring you that feeling of peace and joy. Whether you are painting a picture, journaling, walking, or swapping funny stories with a friend, these are all things that lighten the load, that bring you closer to your spiritual connections.
Your heart chakra is an emotional powerhouse, and it is a guide for your inner light. As you choose to engage in activities and follow a path that shines your light, it is like you are turning on the beacon for everything that matches that light in others.
When your heart chakra resonates in the energy frequency of joy, you attract those people and opportunities that reflect that feeling, that emotional charge.
- Your Heart Chakra Meditation Energy
- Here are 7 simple soulful steps you can take every day for your heart chakra meditation:
Your Heart Chakra Meditation Energy
The more you focus and meditate on that feeling—that energy frequency of joy—the easier it is for your heart to remember. Your heart creates memory circuits that open energetic pathways, and these pathways create more experiences in this same resonance.
You do not need to meditate for hours and hours to reach this level of awakening or to create profound manifestations of healing in your life. It only takes one spark to light the way. The intention you place within that spark is what unites to the universal energy of love. It is your own intention in its purest form that creates this magic.
Short, focused meditations of deep breathing for five to 10 minutes a few times each day is all you need to feel your spirit and set this powerful intention. You may also use visualizations during this short session to increase the power, such as imagining healing colors in your chakras or seeing yourself in perfect health.
When you have connected to your spirit through the breath of life, remember to thank yourself for being a spark of love, and forgive yourself for anything which does not build on that love.
Here are 7 simple soulful steps you can take every day for your heart chakra meditation:
1. Love your soul.
Use kind and loving words to your soul. Encourage, inspire, uplift, and remind yourself how beautiful you are.
2. Listen with intention.
Listen to the words of wisdom around you from friends, strangers, and even the sounds of nature. The words and sounds of love abound when you bring it to your awareness.
3. Send a thank-you card.
Every day find things and people to be grateful for. Send a thank-you card to a friend, to yourself, or to the universe. When you are having a bad day, reflect on these messages for encouragement.
4. Jump for joy.
Do not be afraid to show who you are and be excited about what brings you the most passion. Express this true part of yourself and remember there is always a little kid within you ready to play.
5. Collect passion.
Find what brings the most happiness to you and create a collection of that happiness, that passion for life. For example, if you love seashells, create a special display of the shells or a table with artwork that reminds you of this happy place.
6. Keep creating a new spark.
You are never too old to choose a new hobby or pathway in life. Take a class you always wanted to try. Learn something that pushes you past your comfort zone. And, remember, nobody in life is perfect. Let yourself have fun!
7. Nurture, nurture, nurture.
Know that there will be times when you need to rest, to take a moment to reevaluate, and rather than have a goal, simply be in the presence of your own heart.
Spirit is ready to help you ignite the light of your heart chakra. You are love.
Your heart chakra meditation is important for your well-being. Learn these steps to have a soulful heart chakra meditation. The heart chakra meditation will make you calmer. Follow these steps and keep the power within stronger.
Original article by Pam Barosh. Pam is a medium, intuitive healer, author, energy and life coach, and speaker who has dedicated her life to spreading messages of love and hope. With a master’s in psychology, Pam also has training in chakra and crystal healing, and believes that everyone has the power to heal through love energy.
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9 Everyday Things To Do To Help Kids In Managing Emotions At All Times
It’s natural for parents to be concerned about their children’s academic prowess and “IQ,” but these days, more are seeing the importance of developing emotional intelligence, or “EQ.” Parents are getting more and more concern about how kids learn in managing emotions.
“Being emotionally intelligent helps kids manage their feelings in constructive ways, resolve conflict, and solve problems,” said Donna Housman, a clinical psychologist with 30 years of experience in early childhood development. “The ability to manage one’s own emotions, and cope with the emotions of others, along with an increased sensitivity to how others feel, is key to developing empathy, compassion, understanding and acceptance of differences between and among us.”
Research also suggests that emotional intelligence is linked to greater success in school, stronger communication skills, better relationships, self-awareness, resilience, improved mental health, and other positive outcomes. The good news is parents can help lay the foundation for this success early in their children’s lives.
“A parent’s role is integral to the development of children’s emotional intelligence,” Housman noted. “Given that children develop within the context of relationships, parents’ responsiveness, support and reassurance is vital in helping children learn to effectively manage and cope with the vast array of emotions they experience on a daily basis.”
To that end, HuffPost asked Housman and other experts to share some simple, everyday ways caregivers can foster emotional intelligence in their children. Read on for nine suggestions.
- Practice Identifying Emotions
- Set Aside Drawing Or Journaling Time
- Talk About Your Own Feelings
- Normalize Negative Emotions
- Discuss Appropriate Ways To Expressing And Managing Emotions
- Own Up To Your Mistakes
- Expose Them To New Experiences And People
- Have Fun With Emotions
- Read Books About Feelings
Practice Identifying Emotions
“To help build a child’s emotional intelligence, parents can and should help their kids identify their emotions daily, and give them permission to have and experience those emotions,” advised Housman.
The more kids practice identifying and discussing their emotions, the more comfortable they will be managing them. Parents can make this part of their family’s everyday ritual.
“A simple tool is to ask the question, ‘What emotion or emotions are you feeling today?‘” said Ravi Rao, a pediatric neurosurgeon turned children’s show host. “We’ve been too conditioned to respond to ‘How are you?’ with an automatic ‘fine’ even when we’re not fine. A more specific question eliciting the child to talk about their emotional state builds self-awareness and confidence.”
“Model the skills that you want your child to learn. Kids are paying attention to what we’re doing, and we’re role models, whether we’re being intentional about it or not.”
Parents can help kids practice identifying emotions in the characters they observe in books, movies or TV shows by asking questions like “Do you think that lady looks happy or sad?” Housman also suggested creating or printing out “emotions charts” to help kids recognize different emotions in themselves and others ― and understand that feelings are natural and constantly changing.
Set Aside Drawing Or Journaling Time
“Activities like journaling together can also help,” said Jean Paul Paulynice, creator of an 11-part social-emotional learning curriculum called Empowering Confident Youth. “At the end of every day, parents should sit down with their children and have them write down what happened to them, how they felt and how they dealt with their emotions.”
He suggested that parents periodically ask their kids to look back over their journal entries, note any behavioral trends and reflect on times when they might have overreacted to a situation or acted in a manner that they came to regret later. Younger kids can do this with art by drawing pictures of how they’re feeling and explaining the art to their parents.
Talk About Your Own Feelings
As with other fundamental lessons, kids often learn more from what their parents do when it comes to emotions than from what their parents tell them to do.
“Model the skills that you want your child to learn,” said Kathy Kinsner, senior manager of parenting resources at the infant-toddler development nonprofit Zero To Three. “Kids are paying attention to what we’re doing, and we’re role models, whether we’re being intentional about it or not. For example, if you’re having trouble placing an online order, you can say aloud, ‘I’m so frustrated. I’m going to get up and take a break and then start fresh.’”
If parents want their children to feel comfortable talking about their feelings, they should openly discuss their own emotions with their kids as well. On any given day, parents can describe how they’re feeling, label that emotion and demonstrate how to express it in a healthy way or use problem-solving to cope with it. For parents who struggle with their feelings, this may take some extra work, but it’s worth the effort.
“The more parents authentically and effectively deal with their own emotions and those of others, the more successful the children will be in developing healthier relationships, and achieving greater success at school, work, and in their personal relationships,” Housman explained. “When parents are more aware of their own emotions, sensitive and empathic to the emotions of others, both children and parents will feel better, relate better, and live better!”
Normalize Negative Emotions
Although it’s natural for parents to want to shelter their children from negative experiences or emotions, this actually does a disservice to their emotional development. Instead, parents should help their kids understand that all feelings are natural and normal, and it’s how we deal with them that matters most.
“You can make emotional intelligence a priority in your children’s development by doing what I call ‘Don’t Save Your Kids,’” said clinical psychologist John Mayer. “That means don’t overprotect your kids from life’s stressors. Don’t run interference between kids and life ― school, activities, teachers ― instead of letting them learn how to handle the emotional state this brings and the responsibility of it.”
Additionally, parents shouldn’t avoid talking about negative emotions, sweep them under the rug or let them bubble up, which can lead to unhealthy outbursts. Sometimes the fear of a negative emotion is worse than the actual experience of the emotion. When you’re having a tough day, you don’t have to go into detail if it’s not age-appropriate, but you should still be honest about what you’re feeling.
“The crucial steps to fully developing emotional intelligence include noticing the emotion, labeling it, and asking what to do about it.”
“We want to teach our kids how to honor uncomfortable feelings such as anxiety and frustration in a healthy way, so they don’t feel they have to suppress these powerful feelings,” said Maggie Craddock, a family therapist and executive coach.
Discuss Appropriate Ways To Expressing And Managing Emotions
“One crucial element of emotional intelligence is problem solving,” said Kerry Goyette, author of “The Non-Obvious Guide to Emotional Intelligence.” “Often, when we think about developing a child’s EQ, we think only about empathy. If a child is sad, we believe all we have to do is notice their feeling and commiserate.
But we can’t stop there. The crucial steps to fully developing emotional intelligence include noticing the emotion, labeling it, and asking what to do about it.”
Once parents have created a positive feedback loop by helping their kids to recognize, label and discuss their feelings, they can move onto the next step of coaching them through how to deal with their emotions, if negative. The key is to do a lot of listening and question-asking to guide them toward ways of constructively expressing and managing the intensity of their feelings.
“If they’re angry, ask what are you going to do,” Goyette suggested. “Is there something they can change? Many parents step in and solve the child’s problem themselves, but that signals to the child that they aren’t capable of doing it themself. Instead, try coaching. You might ask pointed questions, and they might not figure it out all by themselves at first, but it helps them develop their sense of self-reliance.”
Parents can include kids in the healthy things they do to process intense emotions, like taking a walk or playing games in the backyard to blow off steam at the end of a stressful day. Let kids learn the art of managing emotions.
Own Up To Your Mistakes
As imperfect humans, we all inevitably make mistakes, even if we’re trying our best. When it comes to managing emotions, parents should own up to the moments when they unintentionally blow up in front of their kids or otherwise fail to cope with stress in healthy ways.
“We want to consistently practice admitting our mistakes and taking action to correct behavior that may inadvertently hurt others feelings,” Craddock noted. “For example, when our spouse brings up a topic that triggers us in front of the kids, we may want to defuse the situation as kindly as possible and avoid power struggles when possible. Remember, you are always modeling relational skills in front of your kids, and you want them to internalize ways to deal with conflict that fortify their personal integrity rather than diminishing it.”
Admitting when you messed up and taking action to correct it shows kids that emotional intelligence is a lifelong skill that everyone can continue to cultivate over time. This also encourages kids to own up when they make mistakes as well, though sometimes you have to wait until the heat of the moment has passed.
“Revisit other ways to behave once everybody has had a chance to calm down,” advised Kinsner. “Say, ‘You were upset because you wanted to play with the truck. But hitting is not OK. What could you do next time? You can ask mom for help. You can ask for a turn. You can find something else to play with.’”
On the flip side, parents should also offer positive reinforcement when their kids do display emotional intelligence by recognizing their good behavior and maybe even offering a reward in some instances.
Expose Them To New Experiences And People
“Parents should seek to involve their children in new activities and experiences whenever possible, including daily opportunities for new learning experiences,” said Paulynice.
“This can include something as simple as reading a book or watching a documentary together or trying a new hobby. The idea is to expose the child to new experiences that will expand their horizons,” he continued. “Volunteering in the community, such as at a homeless shelter or a senior living center, will also help to build empathy and compassion, which is a critical aspect of emotional intelligence.”
As kids experience new places, people and activities, their minds broaden to understand other experiences and perspectives.
“Encourage your kids to be able to put themselves in someone else’s shoes,” suggested psychotherapist Noel McDermott. “Encourage conversations that allow each other to express feelings in a nonjudgmental way.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic may limit certain kinds of opportunities right now, parents can also make plans for future activities, turn to digital options, and get creative at home. It’s important to show kids that people can make a difference in others’ lives through their own efforts and displays of support.
“Make empathy a verb in your family,” advised Craig A. Knippenberg, a therapist and author of “Wired and Connected: Brain-Based Solutions To Ensure Your Child’s Social and Emotional Success.”
“What’s the point of having emotional intelligence without putting it to use to help others?” he added. “When parents demonstrate kindness to those in their world, that kindness becomes contagious to their children. Teach empathy.”
Have Fun With Emotions
Knippenberg also recommended making emotional learning experiences fun for kids throughout their development.
“Feeling charades is a great time for your preschool child,” he said. “Watch a Disney movie with the sound off and analyze what is occurring. Include a study of your animal companions and the many ways animals demonstrate emotional and social intelligence.”
“Reading stories together and talking about the emotions the characters are experiencing not only normalizes emotion by acknowledging others have the same kinds of feelings as us, but also helps children better understand cause and effect, and helps build empathy.”
“For middle and elementary school students, watch ‘The Princess Diaries’ to see how the main character develops her emotional intelligence,” he added. “For young teens, when in a restaurant, try figuring out what other diners are feeling or talking about.”
He noted that unsupervised, unguided play also gives kids the chance to practice emotional and social skills, like how to support a friend in need or creative negotiate a conflict, on their own without adult guidance.
Read Books About Feelings
There are many excellent children’s books that specifically deal with feelings and emotional intelligence, but parents can use pretty much any story to teach these lessons as well.
“Reading stories together and talking about the emotions the characters are experiencing not only normalizes emotion by acknowledging others have the same kinds of feelings as us, but also helps children better understand cause and effect, and helps build empathy,” Housman explained.
Scotty Iseri, who created an emotional learning-focused podcast called “The Imagine Neighborhood,” recommended that parents ask kids to discuss the emotions they observe in the media they consume.
“When reading a book, or listening to a podcast, asking questions like, ‘Why do you think she is crying right now?’ or ‘Why do you think he felt that way?’, are ways to show children that you’re interested in and concerned with the emotions of other people,” he said.
Parents should also consider sharing personal stories that illustrate lessons about emotional intelligence, said author Siamak Taghaddos, whose children’s book, “The Mountain and The Goat,” focuses on cultivating a resourceful mindset.
“Share stories of how the little things matter,” he suggested. “Talk to kids not about EQ itself, but about how they, as parents, used examples of it that kids can learn from.
Whether it’s how they dealt with a tough situation they faced, or how they helped someone with a problem by putting themselves in their shoes, or why they chose a certain color for a design to help improve a product, anything that shows kids how the little things matter. Stories that show caring about others are fundamental.”
Kids must learn that managing emotions are important. it is as important as learning to read and write. Managing emotions must be taught at home. Parents should know how to teach managing emotions to their kids. As early as the kids are young, They must know that managing emotions are key to long term relationships. Managing emotions are key to understanding better in life.
As an example, parents must also be experts in managing emotions. When teaching kids, parents must live by example. Managing emotions should be a priority. It helps a lot in the kid’s development. Teach empathy as a way of managing emotions. Let children enjoy the good things in life as means off managing emotions.
Original article by Caroline Bologna.
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7 Ways to Ease Your Mind When You Feel Anxious
Keep calm and keep pace. You need to ease your mind in these trying times. Here are ways to ease your mind when you feel so anxious. Let us find our purpose and meaning. Follow these ways and you’ll find peace of mind.
Ways to Ease Your Mind:
1. Slow down
When you slow your physical movements, you are also allowing your mind to slow down. You can do this by taking your time with everyday tasks like walking, washing the dishes, or showering.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by anxious thoughts when reading the headlines of the day. We can limit the spread of unnecessary fear and panic by looking past the headline and reading the entire article. Once that’s done, pause and notice whether it’s worth sharing a sensational headline on social media.
3. Build certainty into your day
Often mindfulness practices teach us to be okay with uncertainty, but it’s also okay to build in elements of certainty that your mind can count on. Try creating a new routine that fits the reality of your life right now. Use exercise, sleep, or meditation to ground yourself with healthy habits.
4. Come to your senses throughout the day
To ease your worried mind, try the three-by-three practice. Notice three things that you can see, three things that you can hear, and three things that you can feel. Or, experiment with what works for you: Expand the practice to all five senses, or bring your attention to one sense at a time.
5. Release the critic
See if you can become aware of when you’re comparing yourself to other people. Gently remind yourself that you don’t need to compare how you’re handling the crisis to how others are coping. Instead, notice when thoughts of judgment arise and label the thoughts as “comparing.”
6. Do a reality check
Oftentimes anxiety confuses possibility with probability. Similar to Byron Katie’s four questions, ask yourself: “Is this thought true?” “How does this thought make me feel?” “What does it make me want to do?” and “What would I do if this thought wasn’t here?” With the answers to these questions in mind, you should be able to judge possibility and probability with a clearer distinction between the two.
7. Look up and listen
If you can, go outside, lie down, look up at the sky, and listen. Allow yourself to get comfortable and take in all of the sounds and visuals that surround you.
Explore and experiment with each of these seven practices and see what you notice. And know that whatever you’re experiencing right now, you’re not alone.
Ease your mind and find peace every day. Always remember to be grateful for the little things that come your way. The ways listed here are perfect to ease your mind. You can follow these and be a better person each day. Work to be a better person. Not for others but for yourself. Ease your mind and your body will follow.
When life’s hard, it can be challenging to ease your mind. But keep this list and be reminded when times are tough. Be reminded to slow down a bit. Ease your mind and make your life worry-free. Do not overthink a lot of things. you need to ease your mind all the time. Find the list here as a reminder that at some point in life, you need to ease your mind.
Original article by Elisha Goldstein.
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