Behavioral Regulation-1-Through-Family-Play

“Play is a uniquely adaptive act, not subordinate to some other adaptive act; but with a special function of its own in human experience.”

Johan Huizinga

Families with children with behavioral disorders...

...may not remember how to play, have fun, and spend peaceful times with each other. Rather, energy is spent in repeating relationships.

When I step in to coach this type of family, who have forgotten, the concept of joy and family time is often painfully absent. Rather, focus is shaped amidst the turmoil and enormous energy spent caring for a child with difficult behaviors.

As parents practice new skills to calm their internal landscapes as well as the environments of their homes, they must also re-learn how to have fun. A vital part of healing the family is reintroducing fun, connective activities, joy and humor into the schedule. A new module in the Coaching Families With Special Needs In Behavioral Regulation provides practical information to help coaches and parents co-create a plan for repairing relationships through family fun.

The other day, when I was in town, I witnessed a shocking event. A funeral procession was slowly making its way down Main Street.. The hearse appeared to have engine trouble at the top of the hill. Suddenly, the back doors of the hearse burst open, and the coffin flew out the back of the vehicle! A few people screamed as the coffin skidded down the street and crashed into a pharmacy at the bottom of the hill. Remarkably, it came to a stop right in front of the pharmacist’s desk. In a flash the lid popped open, and the guy inside asked the pharmacist, “Doctor, doctor! Can you give me something to stop this awful coffin?”

NOTE: What just happened in your brain and body?

Some significant processes occurred in your neurophysiology that have the power to alter not only the way you feel, but also your perception and outlook on past, present, and future situations.

How does the joke relate to self-regulation and repairing family relationships?

[ctt template="5" link="ueYc6" via="yes" ]Laughter IS the best medicine. No, really! It’s true. We had a decent laugh over the joke I just told, and each of you are still benefiting from its effects. @parent_coach[/ctt]

Laughter and humor cause the brain to release ‘feel-good’ endorphins that flood  bodies and minds with well-being. Laughter causes us to breathe deeper and fills our lungs and bodies with stress busting oxygen. The wonderful combination of endorphins and oxygen culminates in a feeling of happiness.

Studies conducted by the Mayo Clinic as recently as 2013, show that laughter and smiling relieves depression, anxiety, and helps the body to produce natural painkillers. Additionally, positive self-affirming thoughts, release neuropeptides that improve our immune systems and help us fight stress. This strikes at the heart of our topic.

Neuropeptides make it easier for us to cope in difficult situations. Here are the chemical reactions we WANT to occur more regularly in the brains and bodies of disorganized and dysregulated families and children. This is just the prescription families need to coax them back to emotional balance and relationship; only, they do not know if you are a parenting coach, who arrives to model and teach this concept.

[ctt template="5" link="bza94" via="yes" ]Now, here is the challenge. How do you coach the long-suffering, overwhelmed parents to initiate a plan to have fun while they are still suffering the after effects of secondary trauma and high stress? @parent_coach[/ctt]

 

Here are some of the challenges you face.

  • Some parents do not believe they will ever have fun or smile again.
  • Others ache to smile light-heartedly and long to regain some of their previous carefree lives.
  • Some parents have convinced themselves that a strict schedule where the child accounts for every minute of the day is the only sane way to keep their child on the straight and narrow; therefore, they do not have time for fun.
  • Others are resentful and angry because of the extreme difficulties a behavioral child brings to the family dynamic, resulting in radical changes in lifestyle.
  • Parents, brothers and sisters have learned to live compartmentalized and disjointed lives in the chaos and conflict that sometimes ensues when living with a child with disruptive behaviors.

All of these caregivers may believe the simple pleasures of life are long lost. It is likely that none of them know how to break current ingrained negative patterns of interacting and bring family together again in playful ways.

Been There Too!

Referring to my personal experience, I recall feeling old, tired, depleted, and played out. (No pun intended!) However, the words of George Bernard Shaw are appropriate here:, “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”

We know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and this is true for parents and kids alike. The ramifications of a life without the emotional glue of experiencing happiness, love and joyful interactions with those persons who mean the most to us are profoundly limiting.

So, how do we draw our hard pressed and pressured caregivers out of their old paradigms and beliefs and into the lighter side of life? Here is the four step secret formula to help families begin to have fun together, even while dark clouds linger.

  1. Administer fun in small measured daily doses.
  2. Monitor frequently for signs of heightened stress or conflict.
  3. Troubleshoot prevention, intervention, and exit and salvage strategies with parents should activities show signs of spiraling downward.
  4. Reflection of the effects on each family member is encouraged.

See also Behavioral Regulation 2 and Behavioral Regulation 3

 

Enroll Now in Coaching Families with Special Needs in Behavior Regulation

How to Develop a More Positive Mindset Audio

How can a consultant or coach help us adjust our mindset for more positive outcomes? it is the half-full or half-empty glass kind of metaphor...

Negativity can discourage us:

  • add to our stress,
  • put a strain on our relationship,
  • make us less productive, and
  • reduce our overall happiness.

A positive mindset, on the other hand, has many benefits across our lives regarding our health, relationships, and careers.

But, how do you become more positive? Is it that simple? Take a moment to listen to this brief audio reminder:   

 

Five steps to developing a more positive mindset:

1. Keep a thought journal

If you have a negative internal dialogue continually keeping you down, you need to take action to banish these thoughts. If you have difficulty identifying this negativity a simple first action can be keeping a thought journal. Write down a random sample of ideas in your mind about yourself, events, people around you, and other events that happen throughout your day.

Then analyze these thoughts by reviewing the journal every night and establishing your thought patterns towards a positive mindset. 

Do specific events trigger your negative thoughts? Take note of these and the next time you face a  triggering situation, review carefully how you are approaching it.

2. Banish negative self-talk

After keeping track of your thoughts for a week or two, you will notice how consuming your negative thoughts can be. The next step is to banish these all together. Next time you write down negative thoughts in your journal,  rephrase the wording so that it becomes a neutral statement.

Example: 

"Bob forgot to take out the trash again so I had to do it and it ruined my evening."

“Bob forgot to take out the trash. I did it. instead." 

This step is a small but effective way to train yourself. Don’t do this exercise only on paper or in your journal. Begin to rephrase your negative thoughts into neutral phrases in your mind. The practice will become automatic and significantly reduces your anxiety. 

3. See the positive side

To jump straight from negative into positive thoughts is a challenge and the reason why the neutral-thought stage is crucial. By banishing negative self-talk, you are in an excellent position to see different, genuine positivity in situations.

Refer back to your thought journal and examine again the negative thoughts you have had. For each negative view, can you transform it into at least one positive, upbeat equivalent? 

For example, if you dislike a person because they speak poorly to you, think about how you are developing more resilience.  What is the positive from that contrary position?

It can be hard to find benefits within challenging circumstances, but there is always a way to see something good.

As the Dalai Lama once said, “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.” Sometime, a lot of effort might be required, but it’s worth it!

4. Keep a gratitude journal

A gratitude journal is an incredible way to take stock of all of the beautiful things around you. Every evening you write down the sound, positive aspects of your day. In general, what are you grateful for and why? 

Perhaps you are grateful to your friends for their support, for the warm bed where you sleep well, or for the great weather you had that day. Write down all the positives. 

When I started a gratitude journal, I found my mind arguing with me and contradicting my positive statements. What I learned from exploring this is when I don't sleep well, the mind complains the next day without fail. Further research indicated that this is a typical pattern, but few people recognize the link between lack of sleep and mental angst or complaints. 

    5. Learn your sleep habits

This is a sure-fire way to re-ground you, make you gain perspective and make you realize how insignificant that particular trigger may be in the larger scheme of things. Context is essential, so keep shifting your mind towards the positive.

Stay grateful.

Final Conclusion

Practicing these four simple thoughts can help you transform how you perceive the world around you. Positive perception has the power to change your life, improving your attitudes and the ways that you respond to stress triggers.[Be patient and keep working at positivity, as it has so many benefits for your life, so make the most of it!

 

 

Let’s Start With Defining Your Success

How do you define SUCCESS?  One defnition is success is achieving your financial goals through your online coachinfg or consulting business.

Not a Destination

The problem is, success isn’t a destination. Success is a journey with stops along the way.  Being successful is moving toward your goals, this the way to achieve it is to be constantly moving forward with the goals in the distance.  Your happiness isn’t dependent upon actually reaching that goal, however.  Your success is based on the sense of accomplishment you derived from having closed the distance and achieved that goal.

The bottom line is that your definition of success is on the path to get the things that you want, one at a time, and to continue to improve yourself and to inspire yourself to reach the next level.

That brings us to the framework for those goals that you want to achieve – your habits for success. The practices that you cultivate will result in the success you desire. Habits for success are clearly defined, well thought out and designed to take you to the goals that you have set for yourself. To understand what a pattern for success is, set some goals first. But for demonstration purposes, here are three different examples because it can be difficult to know how to identify the successful habit.

The reason that people have problems becoming successful is that they have not figured out exactly what it means to be a success!  Defining it for yourself is the first step in achieving it. AT ACPI, we have varied goals for reaching our audience as well as monthly financial goals to tell us we are on target.

Defining Success

The problem is...success isn’t really a destination. Success is a journey with stops along the way. Those stops are the destinations where you want to arrive, but there is no final destination.  Being successful and happy is moving toward your goals, and the only way to achieve it is to be constantly moving forward.

You are going to want more, and that’s okay. You set another goal – a higher purpose – of being able to attend charity dinners where the price of a plate is over $1000 for example. Your happiness isn’t dependent upon the actual goal achievement. It is based upon your hard work and your sense of accomplishment derived from having achieved that goal

The bottom line is that your definition of success is never a specific destination. Preferably, your destiny is being on the path to get the things that you want and continue to improve yourself and inspire yourself to reach more and more goals.

That brings us to the framework for those goals that you want to achieve – your habits for success. The practices that you will be teaching yourself result in the success you desire. Habits for success are clearly defined, well thought out and designed to take you to the goals that you have set for yourself. To understand what a pattern for success is complete, you set some goals first.

Five Lessons from Warren Buffet

You might be wondering what super-investor Warren Buffett can teach you about life. You might be thinking that he knows a lot about money, but that has little to do with being an expert on life. You might be surprised. Warren is famous for his simple lifestyle and love of his work. Let these lessons in life be a guide for contentment in your own life:

1. Focus on what you love. Warren has a beautiful, modest home, and drives a $40,000 car. He could own the most expensive house and vehicles in the world, but he doesn’t. He drinks Coke, buys what he likes, and enjoys a relatively simple life.

Enjoy your life and the things you have. Avoid being concerned about what everyone else has or about what you could have. It’s more satisfying to own one perfect painting than to own ten that don’t thrill you. Seek out the things you love and avoid wasting your time on the rest.

2. Quality is more important than quantity. You only need to make a few right decisions to be incredibly successful. Warren Buffett has hundreds of billions of dollars to invest for himself and others, yet he frequently only owns 20 or so stocks. Be picky. Be happy with a smaller quantity.

Warren has a very famous line that states, “Your financial wealth would be much greater if you could only make 20 investments in your lifetime. You would make sure they were great if you had only 20 chances.”

3. Do what you love.  Warren has said that the essential part of success and contentment is doing what you love every day. That’s why he’s never stopped investing and making money. If you’re spending your time doing what you love, you continue doing the same thing regardless of how much money you have.

You might not enjoy the career you have right now. But are you doing anything to change that? Do you have a plan? Imagine how much more content you would be if you enjoyed going into work each day.

4. Mind your own business. You needn’t be concerned with what the competition is doing. Avoid being influenced by everyone else. If you do what everyone else is doing, you’ll simply be average. Avoid comparing yourself to everyone else. Follow your intuition. Most of us are overly concerned with others. We’re worried about how we compare. We’re concerned about their opinions of us. They’re probably thinking the same things. Get yourself out of that loop and do your job.

5. Stick to your talents. Warren is famous for shunning high-tech investments, even when they were practically a sure thing. He has stated that he doesn’t understand them well enough to invest in them. Stay in your areas of strength. You don’t need to do everything. Focus on what you know well.

We usually enjoy doing the things that showcase our strengths. That’s human nature. It also makes life easier. Work on your weaknesses, but leverage your strengths.

You might be thinking, “Yeah, anyone could be content with $50 billion.” But that’s not true. Studies have shown that happiness and income correlate to $75,000. Above that income level, happiness does not increase.

Super wealthy people became wealthy mainly because they were comfortable living a particular way and kept moving forward to those goals or achievements they had scheduled into life. You can be just as content, even if you never amass a mega-fortune. Aim to increase the amount of contentment in your life. It might not be an issue of money, possessions, or the other things that most people think to lead to happiness.

 

 

Strengthen Your Emotional Resilience and Bounce Back

Emotional resilienceenables you to bounce back after difficult experiences. Fortunately, this is a skill that you can develop to get through stressful times with greater ease.

Here are some of the benefits of becoming more emotionally resilient and a few strategies for developing this very helpful skill.

 

The Benefits of Becoming More Emotionally Resilient

Experience greater happiness. Adversity is to be expected but you can control your emotional reaction. By putting the best face on things, you'll see the opportunities for learning and growth that come with challenging situations. A positive attitude will also help you recover from disappointments more quickly

.Make progress towards your life goals. Complications will arise throughout your life. Being flexible makes it easier to accept and surmount the obstacles that arise in your path. For example, if one scholarship fails to come through, explore other options for financing your college education.

Strengthen your relationships. People are naturally drawn to happy people. You're likely to have more harmonious relationships if you can keep up your spirits. By contrast, depression often makes others feel like withdrawing.

Boost your self-esteem. Becoming more adaptable helps you accomplish more. In turn, those accomplishments and healthy relationships make you feel more confident.

Act responsibly. Under pressure, you may feel tempted to get angry or hurt or act out. Emotional resilience helps you to keep your composure and makes you less prone to saying something that you might regret.

Cultivating a calm mind helps your immune system keep you healthy. Studies show that managing stress can even help you maintain your cognitive functions as you age.

Methods for Becoming More Emotionally Resilient

Know your purpose in life. It's a big endeavor, but discovering your purpose in life is fundamental to your ability to navigate challenges. A mission motivates you.

Set realistic goals and make specific plans. Some things are beyond your control, but smart planning can enhance your stability. Set goals you can achieve and break them down into easy steps.

Be aware of your emotions. If you can be mindful of what you're feeling, you can give yourself permission to evaluate the situation before reacting. Moreover, deep breathing provides some time to see a constructive solution before getting angry, hurt, or being irrational.

Practice patience and persistence. Make a commitment to yourself to see things through even when difficulties arise. For example, if you get declined after one job interview, transfer your energies to the next opportunity.

Slow down. Sometimes you get more done by slowing down. Lack of sleep or perpetual multi-tasking can cause stress and irritating tension. Give yourself a break to refresh your brain and your body.

Act happy. Just trying to appear happier can help you lift your mood after a setback. Treat yourself to a funny movie or call a friend who helps you laugh.

Learn to ask for help. Make it easier for your loved ones to support you. Practice asking for help in a respectful manner while being specific about what you need.

Be generous. The more you give to others, the more likely they are to reciprocate in your time of need and the better you'll feel about yourself.

Emotional resilience is a powerful asset for accomplishing more in life.

 

 

Life Purpose- Find It and Live it

If you feel like something in miising in life, you are not alone. I felt that way until 2000 when I died in the hospital after receiving an overdose of pain medication the doctor administered.. The brief death was a sacred experience.  Moreover, returning to life brought me strength and resolve to get on with "my work."

Have you discovered your life purpose yet?

If you haven't, don't feel alone. 

I didn't know what my work, my calling, or my choices were around "working with parents and families." I had already been a teacher, a counselor, a therapist, and an author with parenting books.I expected my purpose to manifest easily as if someone walked through my door and presented me with options. You are right if you guessed that it didn't happen that way. 

Don't feel alone if you have not yet discovered your purpose. The reason is likely due to the fast pace of everyday life. When do you have time for yourself...to think about changing jobs, or even going it on your own and working from home? It can be easy to find yourself going to a job that you don't like and feel meaningless at times.

The first step to discovering your purpose is taking some time for yourself. When you turn inward and take time to ponder, write, meditate, or review your options, you open feelings associated with passion. One technique I used was to state my intention aloud:  

I want to know without reservation how I can best earn a living by loving what I do!

  Living your life in a way that serves your purpose is extremely important if you wish to be happy. There are several ways you can attempt to discover the meaning of your life:

  1. Describe your ideal day. Project yourself several years into the future and imagine that your life is virtually perfect. How would your life look?  Are you working? What type of work are you doing? What do you do all day? Who is in your life?

Now that you know what the end looks like, what can you do today to take the first step in that direction?

2. Try austerity. Go camping in a remote place. Take time to enjoy nature and sit with yourself. When you’re alone and have clear intention, sometimes the answer become apparent.

3. Volunteer. Find an organization in your community that interests you. Doing something worthwhile can be an excellent way to discover your purpose. Even if you come up short, at least you’ll have done something significant.

4. Assume you can do the impossible. When anything is possible, what would you do? Take action to bring your dreams to life.

5. Write. Perhaps the most efficient way to discover your life’s purpose is to spend an hour writing. At the top of your paper write, “My life’s purpose.” Now spend the next 60 minutes writing whatever pops into your mind.

I did this exercise and wrote from a stream of consciousness as opposed to focused topic. I learned that my purpose hasn't changed from my twenties. I still like to teach as well as learn. I love to care about others and offer counsel. This stirs up positive feelings. Moreover, I can see myself doing it. 

6, Investigate a new hobby. We all have at least one activity we’ve been putting off until a more convenient time. Doing something new exposes you to new ideas and thoughts. Now is the time to jump in and get started. You might be surprised what you discover.

7. Do something that terrifies you. Skydiving? Public speaking? You might find your life’s purpose during the process of conquering this fear.

8. Spend a day inspired. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, attempt to spend every moment inspired. The right books, music, and movies can help you maintain an inspired mental state.You’ll believe you can do anything. What would you do?

9. Ask yourself what you would do if you had $10 million. How would you spend your time? Can you figure out a way to make a living doing one of the activities you would be willing to do for free if you had the time?

Keep revisiting these tips until you’ve found something that really excites you. When you see your purpose, there will be no doubt. Avoid spending all of your life thinking and planning. Get busy living.

Finding your life’s purpose adds meaning to your living.