Articles in Home and Family
Positive Psychology News has a tradition of pulling together thoughts for the New Year, remembering that many people are taking stock and making resolutions. As you look ahead, perhaps the ideas below will help you find ways to make your life more happy and healthy. We also recommend that you follow Alicia’s lead and look back at 2016. What worked especially well then? What do you want to make sure you do more of in 2017?
I made a more gentle resolution for 2016, because I am a parent in a world where “mom guilt” is the trend. I want to do the best I can for the kids I love, but sometimes more is unproductive and better is unrealistic. By pairing my natural urges to be perfect with the remorse I carried following my son’s burn injury, I was on a one-way trip to martyrdom. For this reason, 2016 was the year of self-compassion. My year-end reflection reveals a happier, more resilient version of myself so I think this resolution is one I will keep.
Yes there are crowds, more on the to-do list, and the flu season is upon us. But there are also more connections, sparkle, and cheer. Since I am (somewhat gracefully) surviving this holiday season with the support of the concepts I understand from positive psychology, I am compelled to spread my cheer by sharing my holiday survival list.
My rainbow baby writer’s block serves as a reminder that sometimes we need to sit back and let life unfold while maintaining self-compassion in our passive state.
The twins had been studying the last ice age in class, and on this particular day, had watched a short video clip about a large asteroid hitting our planet unexpectedly. As we discussed it over lunch, my daughter threw me an unexpected question.
“What would you do if you knew that an asteroid was going to hit our planet in two years time?”
This kind of selfless love requires that we sit with our uncertainties and fears and yet assure our children that they are not alone. It requires that we refrain from fixing the cracks and fissures in the urge of making their lives perfect. It requires that we contain our impulses and desires and live in the hope of creating something far more beautiful than perfection.
In an earlier article, I wrote about 7 positive psychology behaviors that helped me survive some very traumatic experiences. As I approach the end of another pregnancy, I find myself feeling anxious and over-protective. Looking for ways to stay calm, I’ve found an 8th important behavior: experiencing and acting on compassion for the sufferings of others.
Infatuation with speed is a characteristic of our times. We live in the fastest phase of human history. That can lead to what Larry Dossey in 1982 termed time-sickness, as we become fearful of missing out. The ability to stay with the discomfort of life’s paradoxes and our own ignorance and to remain patient and still while questions and answers grow in never-ending cycles, requires a certain mental toughness that seems to be on its way out in a world in a hurry.
Two years ago, my two-year-old son suffered a severe scald burn covering 16 percent of his body. My unborn baby had a birth defect needing attention. In the year-and-a-half that followed, I saw my boys through four surgeries. I went through two surgeries myself after a complicated second trimester pregnancy loss. Seven particular tools from positive psychology helped me come through some very difficullt times. I believe I have experienced posttraumatic growth following these adversities, and Roepke and Seligman’s recent article helps me see why.
It took three weeks of focused effort in between my coaching clients to retrieve my basement and garage from the eyesore category. I admit it was not all play. There was back-bending, muscle-aching grunt work involved. But in my humbly proud mind, the journey’s end was titled “Positivity Parked Here!”
How about you? What paths do you choose to clear? Here’s to work/play lighting your way to flourishing.