How to Deal With Stress - Don't Let Negativity Invade You
By Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel
I always wondered why happiness was considered fleeting while negativity seemed to be more enduring. Somehow it has become acceptable to be negative and we don’t even sense that we are anxious, unhappy and irritable. Contrary to what you might have thought, happiness requires work! In fact, during these troubled times you have to put both your mind and body into it. The key to feeling happier and more relaxed is to create balance in your daily life: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually. If you align yourself everyday, then you can shed stress which is toxic. If you are at ease, your children will be more at ease. Remember whatever you do, a child is watching you.
• Diet – Parents and children need to eat properly. The body needs to be fueled throughout the day and that means no denial or deprivation. Also, each meal should be balanced, protein, complex carbohydrates (brown foods like whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc) and a rainbow diet of fruits and vegetables that contain all the necessary phyto-chemicals. We need to eat plenty of fiber and drink about eight cups of water per day to flush out the toxins in our body. Also, a good night’s sleep restores both mind and body, otherwise we are sluggish and irritable during the day—anything can set us off.
• Exercise - Exercise away your stress! To keep in focus as well as to shed those stress hormones that build up in the body and do physical damage, workout. A great idea would be to exercise with your children: play a sport together, walk or jog, weight train, do yoga, etc. Another benefit of exercise is that it helps you organize your day in a healthy way. You tend to watch what you eat! If you and your children feel particularly negative, trying playing catch with a weighted medicine ball (weight appropriate) and when you throw the ball off your chest, say “I release the negativity.” And when you catch the ball say, “I catch the abundance that life has to offer.” This exercise provides cardio benefits, reflex training and strengthens the chest and triceps muscles. If you want greater intensity, add a squat after you catch the ball: Throw it, catch it, squat and throw it again. This serves as a physical affirmation. So, think it and do it!
We have to honor our feelings and that of others. Express yourself and encourage your children to express their true feelings. Don’t wait to be sick and tired before you say no! Don’t rush yourself or your children from activity to activity without creating quiet time for the self. Prioritize and allow plenty of time for each activity. Let go of the ones that are not that important for you or your children.
When both you and your children are feeling sad, write your own affirmation cards. Color them and keep them like a deck of cards. Then shuffle them daily and have your child pick one of them to serve as the message of the day.
Sample affirmations include:
• My life is filled with many possibilities.
• I am unique and lovable.
• I see a rainbow.
We need to be kinder to one another. We can explain to our children that when we are kind, we put back a Divine spark into the world. Goodness brings a loving energy that counteracts destruction and negativity.
We could set aside five minutes a day to meditate with our children to music. This will help find the still point within.
Here are the 5 P’s of meditation.
• Passage - Find a passage or affirmation that you wish to focus on. It could even be a sentence.
• Place - Create a place that is peaceful. Put a flower, candle or figurine that you like in the corner of the room or on the desk.
• Posture - Sit in a dignified posture.
• Presence - Feel the presence of the Divine.
• Passage - If you get distracted, come back to the original passage.
After you and your child meditate together, you will feel like you have been away on vacation.
Most importantly, when we feel troubled by national, environmental or internal stress, we need to remember that we still have power over our perceptions. While we cannot always control what happens to us, we can control how we perceive the occurrence. Humor goes a long way toward defusing and objectifying a situation. Pretend what is happening to you is happening to someone else in a sitcom. Surely, you would be laughing. Laugh more with your children. Watch comedies together and release your inner child as you play with your children. Try not to take yourself so seriously. Put the fun back in your life. Children love to have fun. Let your child teach you…
Debbie Eisenstadt Mandel, MA is the author of Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer at Brooklyn College. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WLIE 540 AM in New York City and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com