It is helpful to know how mindfulness can improve your parenting style. Every parent can agree that parenting is a perfect blend of ‘sweet and stress’. One minute, you are enjoying the sweetness of having the children around and the next minute, you might just want them to disappear for a little while. It is perfectly alright to feel that way sometimes.
In reality, parenting is one of the hardest jobs, while also the most rewarding. Most intentional parents are always interested in ways to be a better parent, and one overlooked way is Mindfulness.
Balancing all the demands as a parent can be stressful. From trying to clean the house to get the kids to school on time; you could also be juggling your busy career with parenting and so many more demands. Every day is busy for you and you might wonder how to get it all done in 24 hours!
Constant stress affects both the physical and mental well being of parents. While trying to make sure everything is in order, you might be at risk of losing yourself.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is defined as the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis.
It is simply a state of awareness. It means that you are in control of your reactions to experiences and happenings around you.
According to stress experts, when we are not mindful, we speak without thinking. We allow our emotions to get out of control and worry about the future. We feel we are the victims of circumstances, events, and others. Without mindfulness, we could behave just like a two-year-old child. We can’t see past obstacles and we are powerless and overly emotional.
How Mindfulness Can Improve Your Parenting Style
As a parent when you are outside your zone of well-being, are feeling overwhelmed, out of control or really angry or upset; you get flooded with stress hormones. The primitive brain parts take over to offer urgent survival responses such as fight or flight.
Parents can recognise this in outbursts or harsh reactions, such as: “I have had enough go to your room and no dinner! or perhaps, smacking your child or lashing out with insults.
In many cases, the angry reaction does help to make things happen or get our message across. In reality, feeling pushed over the edge leaves everyone feeling shaken, helpless and parents tend to be regretful of their actions.
When you are mindful, you are in a state of completeness and total well being. You are in a state where you feel happy, calm and in control. This helps you bond more with your children and be an even more effective parent. It also improves your response to other people who might need your attention. You are able to bounce back from situations and find ways to resolve all the various daily demands and challenges.
Being mindful and aware makes you produce excellent results because that is when you are the best version of yourself. Your mental state always matters, and because you feel more relaxed and charged, it helps you perform better. This is the state where you are able to make the best choices and decisions.
How can parents practice the act of mindfulness?
“Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation. Let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry – determine to make a day of it.” – A quote from a book titled Walden by Henry David Thoreau says
As rightly advised by Henry, Parents should live a day at a time and enjoy every bit of it. You need to be intentional about your physical and mental well being.
Below are some steps to practice mindfulness:
- Stop!! Take a break when you need to.
- Search out the cause of the issue.
- Notice your unconscious reaction.
- Determine what part of your reaction you control.
- Shift your reaction to something more positive.
Improve Your Sense of Well-Being
Consciously make time for things that help you feel better. Some of these include well-known strategies like healthy eating, regular exercise, quality time with family and friends, feeling purposeful in life, and getting enough sleep.
While these steps might seem simple, these mindful strategies can be used on-the-spot. Secondly, when incorporated into your daily routine you are better able to manage the overwhelm that comes with being stressed or overwhelmed.
The more you practise these mindfulness habits, the more you strengthen your zone of well-being and ultimately rewire your brain for the long term.
Practise mindfulness and watch how it will reduce your spinning out of control and should you happen to, you will bounce back more quickly.