Sunday, April 3, 2016

When Life Throws Us Curve Balls...

Life is filled with surprises!  I know I don't have to tell you that. The true test of our strength and resilience is in how we manage the curve balls as they are coming at us and afterward.

The curve balls of life are not always welcomed, but I've learned that what is is and we have to deal with it.  We cannot curl into a ball and shut down in grief, fear or sorrow.  We have to keep putting one foot in front of the other whether we feel we can or not.  In my family, we have faced job loss, divorce, terminal illness, death, mental illness, challenges with our kids and all the rest that life throws at many of us.

This survival instinct to keep on going, no matter what, is what I worry about for our kids the most.  I see many parents insulating their kids from the sorrows of life or sugar-coating them for fear of their children's fear or inability to cope.  Perhaps these curve balls come at us repeatedly, at times, so that we have multiple chances in which we are able to build our coping skills as well as our children's.  Anytime we avoid an opportunity we are missing the chance to teach our kids what they will need most when they are adults and, ultimately, when we are gone.

I know...this is getting a bit depressing, but doesn't life get that way sometimes? What are the coping skills we can use right now to counter the effects of this newsletter?
  • We can take a deep breath
  • Go straight to gratitude to remember all that is good right now
  • You could journal about this horrible woman who sent you a newsletter that sent you into a tailspin
  • You could have a good cry
  • We could choose laughter - go watch a funny movie or go to YouTube and watch a comedian perform for a few minutes (this releases happy chemicals in your brain!)
  • Go outside and look at the beauty all around you - nature is the most healing tool you have and it's right there all the time
  • Go for a walk or a run or go to the gym - exercise releases beautiful endorphins that relieve stress and make you feel happy
  • We can sit with the truth and the sadness and trust that things won't always feel this way (Optimism! The ultimate depression-buster!)
Look, I just gave you some great tools not only for you, but for you to teach your kids, too!  This is the antidote to sadness and depression and your kids must have these tools in their pockets for their lives as they grow.  Instead of fearing their sad feelings, remember to be grateful that they are gaining the chance to grow stronger and better able to cope with this challenging school called LIFE!

Wishing you balance,
Bette Alkazian, LMFT

from the April, 2016 Balanced Parenting Newsletter

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