For most of my adult life, I believed that an attitude of gratitude is a good thing to have. As often as possible I tried to be humble and grateful for the blessings I received, but I didn’t fully grasp just how powerful a gratitude practice could be until I set an intention to “Live From Gratitude” for an entire day.
I decided that I would stay in a grateful state of mind and give deep, heartfelt thanks for everything I did, saw, felt, and experienced that day.
From the moment I opened my eyes early that morning, I began giving thanks for everything and everyone that entered my awareness. I thought about each of my family members and friends and gave thanks for their presence in my life. I gave thanks for my home, my business, my car, my clothing, my health, and my cats.
As I moved through my daily activities, I gave thanks for everything I touched, everything I saw or heard, everything I felt, and everything that happened to me – even the annoying and challenging experiences.
I gave thanks for our dishes and utensils as I washed them, as well as the water I was washing them in, and for my hands that enabled me to wash them. A few of those items were wedding gifts for my husband and me, and as I washed each one, I recalled our wedding day with joy and gratitude and gave thanks for my husband and the life we share together.
During my business activities that day, I gave heartfelt thanks for my clients and the passionate work that fulfills me and allows me to make a difference in the world. I also gave thanks for the challenges my work sometimes brings, simply because they strengthen me.
I expressed sincere gratitude for everything I saw, heard, felt, did or experienced throughout the entire day, big or small, good or bad. Not only did I SAY “thank you” for these things, I made sure to really FEEL the feelings of gratitude and appreciation for them. As I’m sure you can imagine, that was a LOT of gratitude!
The results that came from my day of living from gratitude were astounding. It was one of the most powerful days of my life.
All day long I kept meeting the nicest, greatest people everywhere I went. My income for that day jumped up to roughly three times what it normally was, without me having to lift a finger to make it happen. I kept noticing awesome opportunities, tools, and resources that would help me grow my business or improve some aspect of my life. Some of these things had been right under my nose all along, but I’d never noticed them before.
I received so many great gifts as a result of my day of living from gratitude, but the true gift of that day is the way I felt all day long.
Never in my life can I remember feeling so humbled, so blessed, so RICH. Everything around me became SACRED in ways that I can’t even describe.
Struggle, strain, anxiety, frustration, fear, anger . . . they all just faded away. Everything I saw and experienced was uplifting, inspiring and beneficial. My life was transformed that day, into something that I never dreamed would be possible. I’d thought my life was good before that – but my new attitude of gratitude took it to a whole new level of goodness.
That day stands out in my memory as one of the best days of my life. In fact, it was so powerful that I’ve since adopted my “living from gratitude” mindset as an ongoing intention. Every day I strive to live from gratitude – and each day gets more and more magical the longer I do it.
Try it yourself and see if it doesn’t have the same wonderful effect on your life.
Wendy Betterini is an abundance coach, motivational writer. She helps shed limiting beliefs, release resistance, and open your heart to allow greater abundance, joy, love, and peace into your life. Visit her website for free articles, e-books, abundance tips and more.
5 Steps to Setting Powerful Intentions Everyday
Create powerful intentions every day…
Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.
Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.
The sages of India observed thousands of years ago that our destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. The classic Vedic text known as the Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
An intention is a directed impulse of consciousness that contains the seed form of that which you aim to create. Like real seeds, intentions can’t grow if you hold on to them. Only when you release your intentions into the fertile depths of your consciousness can they grow and flourish. In my book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, the Law of Intention and Desire lays out the five steps for harnessing the power of intention to create anything you desire.
1. Slip into the Gap
Most of the time our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Beyond this noisy internal dialogue is a state of pure awareness that is sometimes referred to as “the gap.” One of the most effective tools we have for entering the gap is meditation. Meditation takes you beyond the ego-mind into the silence and stillness of pure consciousness. This is the ideal state in which to plant your seeds of intention.
2. Release Your Powerful Intentions and Desires
Once you’re established in a state of restful awareness, release your intentions and desires. The best time to plant your intentions is during the period after meditation, while your awareness remains centered in the quiet field of all possibilities. After you set an intention, let it go—simply stop thinking about it. Continue this process for a few minutes after your meditation period each day.
3. Remain Centered in a State of Restful Awareness
Intention is much more powerful when it comes from a place of contentment than if it arises from a sense of lack or need. Stay centered and refuse to be influenced by other people’s doubts or criticisms. Your higher self knows that everything is all right and will be all right, even without knowing the timing or the details of what will happen.
4. Detach from the Outcome
Relinquish your rigid attachment to a specific result and live in the wisdom of uncertainty. Attachment is based on fear and insecurity, while detachment is based on the unquestioning belief in the power of your true Self. Intend for everything to work out as it should, then let go and allow opportunities and openings to come your way.
5. Let the Universe Handle the Details
Your focused intentions set the infinite organizing power of the universe in motion. Trust that infinite organizing power to orchestrate the complete fulfillment of your desires. Don’t listen to the voice that says that you have to be in charge, that obsessive vigilance is the only way to get anything done.
The outcome that you try so hard to force may not be as good for you as the one that comes naturally. You have released your intentions into the fertile ground of pure potentiality, and they will bloom when the season is right.
Make powerful intentions and use it all day. Keep these powerful intentions in your heart and apply it to yourself. The steps here will make it easier for you to create those powerful intentions.
Original article by Deepak Chopra, M.D.
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The 5 Stages of Spiritual Awakening We All Need To Learn
While a spiritual awakening is often considered a journey, it’s not necessarily a journey of physical travel or pilgrimage; it’s a process of going beyond your boundaries and taking the next evolutionary step.
In the course of a human life, few experiences can be as profound and transformative as those of a spiritual awakening. Identifying with and directly experiencing your divinity represents a paradigm shift of the highest order. A spiritual awakening has the potential to rip apart the fabric of reality as you’ve known it and pull you forward into a new life of conscious growth and evolution.
As the term implies, you “wake up” from the dream of everyday, mundane material-level, ego-based awareness to a higher reality of spirit. And as if emerging from a deep sleep, you can see the dream for what it is—an illusion to which there can be no going back.
A spiritual awakening represents the lifting of the veil of ignorance or avidya, which in Sanskrit means “incorrect understanding.” This ignorance shrouds your true nature and keeps you operating in the dark of lower levels of consciousness. This is a state of not knowing what you don’t know.
At the heart of this ignorance is tamas, one of the three gunas, or primary qualities of the universe. Tamas embodies darkness, dullness, inactivity, and entropy and binds you in the physical, mental, and emotional quicksand of inertia. Fortunately, though, the process of spiritual awakening runs directly counter to the currents of avidya in your life.
The evolution of consciousness generates a forward pull, a momentum toward growth, transformation, and change that is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. Like a spaceship achieving escape velocity, spiritual awakening punches you out of the limiting gravity well of ignorance and on toward the ultimate destination of cosmic self-realization.
But how does this happen? Well, if you accept that all human beings, and perhaps even all sentient beings, are hardwired for evolution, then it stands to reason that spiritual awakening is your birthright—something you are destined to achieve. And if this process is mapped into your consciousness and your body, then there must be clues or steps to indicate you are on the path to awakening.
The Vision of Your Spiritual Awakening Journey
One of the most useful metaphors for describing the stages of spiritual awakening is that of vision. In this model, five different qualities of sight represent unique steps on the spiritual journey:
- Glimpsing: The call to adventure
- Closer examination: Choosing a path
- Seeking: Following the path
- Loss of sight: Losing the path
- Seeing: Merging with the path
Let’s explore each of these stages in greater detail.
1. Glimpsing Spirit: The Call to Adventure
The celebrated mythologist Joseph Campbell defined what is known as the hero’s journey, an evolutionary path of growth and transformation woven into all great myths and stories: “When we quit thinking about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.”
At the start of any hero’s journey is the primary pushing off point known as the call to adventure. The call to adventure represents a break from everyday life, a signal that bubbles up from the subconscious, catches your attention, and leads you in a new direction. A call to adventure is the spark that triggers a spiritual awakening.
Every life has a moment, if seized, that will change that life forever. The call to adventure is an awakening incident, a new perception that compels you to look at life differently. This spiritual experience can take countless forms—a trip to a faraway land, the loss of innocence, an illness, a challenge, the death of a close friend, a near-death experience, or the loss of a job.
Regardless of the particulars, the experience shakes your worldview and you see the world with new eyes. You are called to live the ordinary life in a non-ordinary way.
At this pivotal point, Joseph Campbell teaches that you face a choice, to either accept or refuse the call to adventure. In reality though, refusing the call truly isn’t an option, because at the deeper level, your own soul is beckoning you to transform.
If you refuse the call, thanks to your unique karmic influences, the opportunity will only recycle itself like a skip on a record, patiently waiting for you to accept the call to a new life.
In addition, once a transformative and deeply awakening incident has been experienced, there can be no going back. Your eyes have been opened and you can’t un-see the vision of the higher reality calling to you, no matter how much you might want to deny it.
Once you have answered the call to adventure, you step into a larger world. You become a conscious participant in your spiritual growth and evolution. Responsibility becomes the operative word as you begin to navigate your life toward opportunities that further expand your awareness. A subtle shift in perception has taken place and everything feels the same and oddly different simultaneously.
2. Closer Examination: Choosing a Path
Faced with the realization that your limited worldview can no longer contain your expanding awareness, you come to recognize that your life is on a spiritual journey, an awakening of your consciousness.
While it can be an exciting time, this stage can also feel unsettling and unfamiliar. Everything you once accepted as fixed and stable (ideologies, worldviews, sense of self and others, relationships) can be called into question. You are in search of answers—a means by which you can repeat or return to the glimpse of spirit that initially shifted your perspective.
At this point, you may set out to find a new way—a new philosophy, a different tradition, or practice that will help to contextualize or re-map your worldview. This is when many begin spiritual exploration in earnest.
Often marked by a period of information gathering, self-study, and delving into world religions or psychology, you are drawn to practices and methods that align with your unique personalities and dispositions. According to Vedanta, there are four paths or yogas back to the unity you seek:
- Bhakti Yoga: The path of love and devotion
- Jnana Yoga: The path of science and the intellect
- Karma Yoga: The path of action and selfless service
- Raja Yoga: The path of meditation and all its related disciplines
Each path provides a distinctive vehicle for self-discovery and realization. Some may choose one, others may explore multiple paths simultaneously; there are no absolutes or set rules for discovering your path.
What matters is that it feels right for you and serves as an appropriate vehicle for growth. No one can or should tell you what path to follow; only your own intuitive heart can guide you to what method or vehicle will suit you best.
At this stage you would do well to remember the wisdom of the Hindu proverb that states:
There are hundreds of paths up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.
3. Seeking: Following the Path
The next stage calls you to be a spiritual seeker. Having found your path, regular practice, study, and discipline serve to take you deeper toward the greater vision of expanded awareness. The Sanskrit term for the discipline of spiritual practice is sadhana.
Sadhana is the spiritual routine that takes your practice from an isolated exercise to a way of life. You are dedicated travelers on the path, familiar with its twists and turns, up and downs. As your practice deepens, you become increasingly more adept and more knowledgeable, not only of the tradition or practice you follow but also of yourself.
This stage is marked by the birth of self-referral, the process in which your identity begins to shift from external references (such as positions, possessions, and ego satisfactions) to the internal reference of stillness, intuition, and higher guidance. You know yourself as a spiritual being living a human life while fostering the progressive growth of your consciousness.
As you travel their path to expanded awareness, there are two markers, two clues that hint spiritual progress is underway.
- The first is an increasing sense of lightheartedness. With consistent spiritual practice, happiness and joy become your ground state. You take life less seriously. Hysteria and melodrama have less influence over you. Carefreeness and detachment flow from you spontaneously and you feel much more at ease in life.
2. The second marker of spiritual progress is the ease in which your desires are fulfilled. Regular spiritual practice removes mental, physical, and energetic blockages that obstruct the manifestation of your desires. As these obstacles fall away, life becomes easier; you step into the flow of life and experience synchronicities, little miracles, and experiences of grace that lead you closer to your life’s spiritual purpose.
4. Loss of Sight: Losing the Path
The spiritual path is not without struggle, however. By its very nature, the path of awakening confronts you with your shortcomings, self-deceptions, cognitive biases, and resistance to change. Growth can be an uncomfortable process at times.
As your chosen path challenges you to change thoughts, emotions, speech, or behavior to be more expansive, compassionate, forgiving, or kind, it is not uncommon to struggle with being in this world but not of it. Worse yet are the external influences that assault the spiritual seeker with temptations to give up the quest for awakening and return to a conventional life.
The most formidable challenges on the path come in the form of what Joseph Campbell called threshold guardians. Threshold guardians are the barriers (literal or symbolic) that stand in the way of important turning points in your life.
They can be enemies, rivals, life circumstances, limiting beliefs, or setbacks that block your progress forward toward a higher level. These antagonists can repeatedly knock you down, test your resolve, and make you question your chosen path. Such setbacks make you doubt yourself and your commitment and may even persuade you to give up the quest.
At this stage, you may feel lost or helpless, as if you have succumbed to spiritual blindness. However, what you often don’t realize is that this blindness or challenges are the subterfuge of your ego—your small self that fears its own extinction in the ever-expanding field of spirit.
Seen in this way, your spiritual challenges, or dark nights of the soul, become as spiritual teacher Ram Dass would say, “grist for the mill of enlightenment.” Every setback then becomes an expression of your inner doubts and fears—trials and hurdles on your personalized and self-made obstacle course.
Undoubtedly, this stage requires both fortitude and courage to stay on the path as you remember poet Robert Frost’s words: “The only way out is through.” Fortunately, it is from this darkness that you can emerge fully into the light, continue your spiritual development, and become awakened.
5. Seeing: Merging with the Path
At last, the seeker breaks through to a new stage; visionary, transcendent, and sight beyond sight. At this level you have gone beyond sadhana; you have become the practice. No longer striving to see, you exist in a state of unity in which seer, scenery, and that which is seen merge.
A permanent shift has taken place and you awaken fully to your true identity—the infinite, immortal, unbounded, God-force existing everywhere and in everything. You wake up fully to being the divine observer—the ever-present witness-self of the entire universe.
In this stage, you come back home to yourself, but surprisingly, the process isn’t one of accumulation or gaining more knowledge or experiences. Instead, it’s a process letting go, of continual decrease.
Like peeling the skins of an onion, the “you” gets smaller and smaller until only pure being-ness remains. It’s a journey of insight from here to HERE. This is the sign of spiritual awakening.
The path of spiritual awakening is the grandest adventure you can ever undertake. You are deeply privileged just to recognize the truth that such a journey stands before you. And embracing it is nothing less than following the heroic call of your life purpose and destiny.
Original article by Adam Brady.
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25 Empowerment Quotes – Words of Wisdom We Need Now
Find inspiration from these empowerment quotes…
An artist and a businesswoman, Shari A. Hembree is also a Reiki Master Teacher. She is an author of authenticity and spiritualism. Her first book, Journey of the Lightworker is a breakthrough and speaks of spiritual truths. To get more of the positivity, here are Shari Hembree quotes to keep us empowered. Learn to believe in yourself from these quotes.
Empowerment Quotes On Honesty
“A miracle occurs when we shift our perception of a situationand no longer give it the power of our thoughts.”
“Be a reflection of what you’d like to see in others. If you want love, give love. If you want honesty, be honest. If you want respect, be respectful. You get in return what you give.”
In the midst of our fears, we will find our source of power and strength. It’s time to feel wmpowered again.”
“When you open your heart, you create a shift in your vibration. This allows your talents and gifts to blossom.”
“Genuine love is not just about me, it’s about we. There are two parts to any successful relationship. You do deserve the best—your equal.”
“Don’t be stuck in the past. Forgiveness is the key to moving your life forward.”
Empowerment Quotes by Shari Hembree
“Into me I see = Intimacy, Take time to know yourself on a deep intimate level.”
Love is no doubt one of the most powerful forces in our world. It helps us attract everything thast’s positive and good into our lives. But without loving ourselves first, no one else can love us either.”
“Never be afraid to do what your heart tells you is good. Your internal guidance system is divinely inspired.”
“Follow your bliss and share your talents to the world! That’s the moment you discover your life’s true purpose.”
“Learn from your mistakes. They are not stumbling blocks but building blocks. You got this!”
“Lightworkers have a special purpose: To help mankind heal from the effects of fear-based thoughts and to instead make decisions from a place of love. Are you a lightworker?”
Famous Empowerment Quotes by Shari Hembree
“My mother always told me. ‘Don’t get into too much trouble.’ Bu half the fun is stepping out into the unknown and just seeing what happens.”
“Own it! Open wide now, I trust!”
“Perseverance has taught me well. To act with confidence even when I didn’t know how I’d accomplish something.”
“I will make decisions based on what my heart tells me is good–and not let the opinions of others determine my worth.”
“Iwas given some great advice: ‘Don’t be eye candy, when you can be soul food.'”
“Love is your spirutual fuel. Set your soul on fire and passionately show your love to the world.”
Life can be tough. But there is always room for positivity. This empowerment quotes by Shari Hembreewill give us something to think about. It eases our soul. Keep these empowerment quotes for daily guidance. You’ll find yourself getting a better view of life from these empowerment quotes. Be empowered and keep believing in yourself.
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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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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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