In our childhood, we are taught how to walk, how to talk, how to add, how to spell, how to make friends, and how to be responsible. What we are not taught, is how to choose happy. We are not taught how to cope when things get hard....I mean really hard.
Life is sticky. We can be the most responsible, hard working, high earning individual, and still struggle with how to be happy. Life can be moving in what we feel is the most positive direction, and BOOM, we are hit with a curve ball. That curve ball can completely derail all of our surface level success, and leave us feeling hopeless.
How can I go on?
How can I be happy?
How can I move forward?
How can I cope with these feelings of grief?
As a Psychotherapist, I see some of the most successful individuals sitting on my couch, in despair.
They are struggling with how to be happy.
They are struggling with the realities of day to day life.
They are struggling with how to find peace.
They are struggling with how to handle the stress.....of the monotony of living.
We are remiss, if we neglect to give our children healthy coping skills for when life gets hard. We must equip our children with the choice. That choice can't be dependent on income. It can't be situational. The choice can't be dependent on our peers, or our body size.
Teaching our children healthy habits, should include healthy mental habits. Whether we realize it or not, our children are on auto pilot much of the time. They are forming coping skills for life, that we may not even be aware of. Many times, these are unhealthy coping skills, such as zoning out on video games, experimenting with substances, spending excessive amounts of time on their phones, or engaging in negative cycles.
It's so important that we model healthy coping skills and teach healthy coping skills to our children from a young age. We have the ability to arm our children with the best weapon of all.....happiness. True, to the core happiness. Not dependent on something outside of them, but coming from their most inner self.
When happiness comes from our most inner self, no outside force can touch it.
Mindfulness means to pay attention, on purpose to the present moment. Sounds pretty simple right? It can be, but it must be taught, and practiced to come naturally. As humans, we have the ability to re-train our brains to choose happy. As parents, we have the choice whether to give our children this gift, or not. Believe me, it is a gift.
I like to incorporate mindfulness with exercise, and considering I am a hiking therapist, my family gets more than their fair share of it. Hiking is a year round sport, you can practice anywhere, at any time and it has the added benefit of incorporating the senses for a more intense experience.
Adding mindfulness into your daily routine, enhances your satisfaction with life. Adding mindfulness into your exercise routine takes it to a whole new level. It creates a new coping skill. A chance to get away, be purposeful, release endorphins, and take care of that all important part of your brain that deals with stress, the amygdala.
Teaching our children mindfulness gives them the power to choose. It raises their self awareness, so that they are better able to recognize when they are in need, before it feels overwhelming.
My family's healthy habit is mindfulness. We wanted to share this gift with you, so that you too can choose happiness.