Tips for Transitions without Trauma

Life is a series of transitions – some huge, some small; some chosen by us, and others forced upon us. We experience transitions in all areas of our lives including career, family, beliefs, relationships, physical and emotional states, etc. The process of going through a life transition is stressful at best and may even be traumatic. The challenges of the process can be opportunities to learn and grow. The following tips can help you move through the transitions of your life with strength, confidence and success. 1.Realize that change is constant. You have successfully completed many transitions in your life thus far. Remember what strategies worked for you and adapt them to your current situation. Make a list of past successes and how you achieved them. Consider which of these strategies can help you in your current situation.

2.Stay focused in the present. Know that where you are is exactly where you should be. Complete what you need to in order to move on. You are in this transition for a reason – look for the lessons in the process. Keeping a journal can help you track where you are in the process and teach you what work is needed for you to progress.

3.Have a vision of the best outcome for you. Know where you want to go and who you want to be in the new situation. Even if you did not choose the change, you have choices about where and who you will be. Have a strong intention about what this looks like for you. Take time to envision your best outcome and get it on paper in some form – write about it, draw it, make a collage, etc., and then post it where you will see it often.

4.Stand back and observe. See that this transition does not represent your whole life. It may impact many areas of your life and through it all you will still be you. Journaling can help you see the whole picture of your life and identify your core values, your purpose and mission. You can change careers, zip code, family situation and yet the real you will not change.

5.Stick with your own stuff. Those close to you will have their own concerns and fears about how this change will affect them. They may try to influence your decisions to their advantage. Be compassionate but don’t let them unload their stuff on you.

6.Seek Support Find at least one person who will really listen to you without judgment. The right family member, friend, or coach could provide encouragement, perspective and momentum to support you through the process. Speak with this person at least weekly and call on them when you need extra support.

7.Soothe your soul. Practice extreme self-care during transitional times. Take time for stress relieving practices, relaxation techniques and good healthful living practices. If you have a wellness routine, stick to it! Don’t use the upset in part of your life as an excuse to abandon your routine. If you don’t practice extreme self-care, it is a good time to start. You will be better able to cope with the stress of change.

8.Connect with your spiritual side. Call upon whatever force you identify as a higher power in the universe. Use prayer, meditation, reflection on spiritual literature, or whatever works for you. As you make your intentions known to the universe, it will set itself in motion toward what you want.

9.Know that the outcome will be the right one. Have faith that even if you don’t understand it, life is a process that moves for our own good. The universe gives you what you are ready for and teaches the lessons you need to learn. Think about times when things did not work out as you would have liked, and you benefited greatly from the eventual outcome. Remember that life’s path is not straightScience Articles, and we get where we need to go.

  1. Give up trying to control every aspect of the outcome. Be comfortable not knowing exactly what the outcome will be. Realize that we never really know what will occur even in the next moment. Take the actions that move you toward your intended outcome and know that you will handle whatever outcome materializes.

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Staying in the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season can either be exiting and joyous, or saddening and lonely. How you experience the holidays is completely up to you. Really! Whether you feel sad or happy, lonely or connected is completely up to you.

Your thoughts, your activities, and the kind of situations you put yourself into generate your feelings. In other words, you do not have to experience sad or unhappy holiday feelings unless you want to. If you want to change how you feel, simply change what you are doing, and this will change your feelings.

What makes you feel sadder during the holidays? What makes you feel more disconnected, out of touch with the spirit of the holidays?

Right now make a quick list of the activities, or lack thereof, that may make you sad or unhappy about the holidays. Do something different about two of these right now.

Here are some more attitude-altering activities to help you stay in (or get into) the holiday spirit:

  • Doesn’t feel like holidays at your house? Put up lights! Decorate in holiday motif. Play holiday music and light candles.

  • Don’t have plans for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.? Volunteer! Helping those in need can do wonders for your attitude. Or call up some friends and plan a small get together.

  • Aren’t looking forward to seeing family? Take interest in each of your relatives as you speak to them, in a much deeper way than ever before. You may enjoy them for a change.

  • Exhausted from cooking and running around? Take an hour, half-hour or even 15 minutes all to yourself. Don’t do chores, errands, clean up, etc. Don’t do anything you have to do, even if you feel guilty. Do whatever YOU like.

  • Don’t have plans for New Year’s Eve? Make some now, whether to see a show, a play, or get together with friends. Or designate New Year’s Eve as the time to reflect over the past year and dream about the next year.

  • Feel down or disconnected? Do something for someone else. Volunteer, donate money, contribute or serve in some way. Get involved in group activities.

  • Feel a lack of spiritual connection to the holidays? Go back to your roots in some way - go to church, light candles, pray, write a gratitude list, meditate, etc.

  • Not having fun? Play and be creative. Do something childlike, even if you don’t feel like it, even if you think it’s silly, even if you don’t have time or don’t want to bother. Better yet, play with a child. You will find it deeply satisfying.

  • Wishing you were in a relationship? Or, wishing your relationship was better? Do a grand scale gratitude list for what you do have and what is working in your life. It won’t fix the relationship situation, but it will fix your attitude.

Put yourself in the holiday spirit and enjoy the holidays!

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Are You Communicating?

Many Native American tribes use a unique way of communicating. No, I’m not talking about sending smoke signals. I’m referring to the use of a Talking Stick. Only the person holding the Talking Stick is allowed to speak. This is very useful at a tribal “board” meeting because arguing is kept to a minimum then, and each person has one job to do - Listen - unless s/he has the Talking Stick.

On really big decisions the Talking Stick is passed, one to the next, all around the circle as each person gets to have a say in the discussion without others interrupting or starting an argument. Ah, I wish I had known about this Talking Stick when my children were growing up.

Here’s a simple solution for other families today - Listen, Pause, Clarify and Validate. Read on, I think it will make great good sense to you, too.

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Exclusive Interview With Steve Vai

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Tips On How To Deal With Bullying

Bullying behaviour may seem rather insignificant compared to the trouble that some kids can get into. In fact, it is often dismissed as just another part of “growing up.”

It shouldn’t be.

Statistics show that one in four children who bully will have a criminal record before the age of thirty. Teasing at bus stops, taking other children’s lunch money, insults and threats, kicking and punching - it’s all fair game to the bully. On the flip side, fear of bullies causes many kids to avoid school or carry and even use weapons for protection. While everyone is a potential bullying target, victims typically tend to be shy, sensitive, anxious, or insecure. Children are picked on for many reasons, including being overweight, being small, having a disability, or being an ethno-cultural minority.

If you suspect that one of your children is being bullied, here are some tips on what to do:

Listen. Encourage your children to talk about school, social events, other kids in class, and the walk or ride to and from school so you can identify any problems they may be having.

Take their complaints of bullying seriously. Probing a seemingly minor incident may uncover something more serious. Children are often afraid or ashamed to tell anyone that they have been bullied.

Watch for symptoms of victimization such as withdrawal, a drop in grades, torn clothes, or demands for extra money.

Tell the school or day care immediately if you think that your children are being bullied.

Work with other parents to ensure that the children in your neighbourhood are supervised on their way to and from school.

Don’t bully your children yourself, physically or verbally. Use non-physical, consistently-enforced discipline measures. Don’t ridicule, yell at, or ignore your children when they misbehave.

Teach them the social skills they need to make friends. A confident, resourceful child who has friends is less likely to be bullied or to bully others.

Praise kindness toward others. Show children that kindness is valued.

Teach children ways to resolve arguments without violent words or actions. Talk about self-protection skills - how to walk confidently, to stay alert to their environment, and to stand up for themselves verbally.

Recognize that bullies may be acting out feelings of insecurity, anger, or loneliness. If your child is a bully, try to get to the root of the problem. Seek out specific strategies you can use at home from a teacher, school counsellor, or child psychologist.

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Get Down And Play With Your Children

When was the last time you and your kids rolled around on the floor together laughing yourselves silly? If you’re like me, it may have been a while! Sometimes I get caught up in household chores, give errands a priority or answer the phone when I know I should let it ring, instead of making time for my two daughters. It’s not that I don’t play with them; just the opposite is true. It simply seems as if I’m trying to fit them into my daily schedule when in fact I should be scheduling my day around them. I used to be a planner. I would try to organize activities that I thought my girls would learn something from. I’m now much more free and spontaneous with them and I’ve discovered that at their respective ages of four and 20 months that this is the type of play they prefer. Here are some suggestions on how you can be more spontaneous with your children:

  1. Play “Chase Around The House” – Kids love to be chased, especially if you’re making a roaring or growling noise while you’re doing it. You’d be surprised how fast their little legs can carry them. This exercise is sure get you’re heart rate up and tone your glutes as well!

  2. Have a Pillow Fight – Make sure the pillows are small and not too heavy. Throw cushions work best for this activity. Lay a few ground rules, such as not hitting in the face or on the head and when somebody yells: “stop”, then stop.

  3. How Many Times Can Each of You Hop on One Foot – Again, a great cardiovascular activity for you and the kids. Alternate feet and vary the directions you’re hopping in. This is good for your children’s coordination and learning left and right, forwards and backwards.

  4. Pretend You’re Animals- Play a guessing game of what animal Sally is by the sounds she makes and the way she moves. Children love to imitate animals and can imitate various animals from a young age.

  5. Tickle Each other when you’ve run out of ideas, then a good old-fashioned tickle fight is the answer. Again, don’t tickle too hard and when someone (possibly you!) yells stop, then the tickler must stop. At our house, this game always ends with a kiss!

These activities take little time play and benefit you and your children greatly. They are highly interactive, involve a lot of laughter and take no preparation. They also let your children know that you enjoy being with them and that they make great playmates.

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How to Raise Creative Kids

“Where did he come up with that?” Kids often amaze us with their imaginative ideas, and we should give ourselves a pat on the back for playing a role in this development. Innovative thinking is essential for success in school and in life, and it’s our job as parents to nurture our kids’ innate desire to be creative. Inventive play fosters original thinking, an asset when children are confronted with new situations. By providing activities that use their creativity and imaginations, we are giving our children an important tool to deal with life down the road.

Give them ideas.

Children come up with things to do on their own, but we also need to provide them with new ideas of interesting activities. Think back to what you did as a kid. Did you write a diary, create elaborate puppet shows, or sing and dance for relatives? Share ideas from your own childhood experiences. Offer creative writing ideas like writing an episode for a favorite television show or writing a new ending to a favorite story. Craft projects offer another outlet for inspiring imaginations. Craft kits, especially those from Curiosity Kits and ALEX, offer a wide variety of unusual and fun projects. They’ve brought us a long way from the sock puppets of our youth. These manufacturers offer ideas and supplies to make such things as scrapbooks, powerballs, soaps, candy, sun catchers, dolls, planes, dinosaurs, jewelry treasures, and lots of decorative items. Kids can gather ideas from the instructions, and then give the projects their own unique touches.

Keep ideas fresh.

Pick up any parenting magazine and you’ll find lots of ideas to get those creative juices flowing in your kids. Search the web and check out craft stores. Keep a journal or file for magazine clippings and ideas as you find them. Stockpile so that you’ll know how to answer the whiny “I’m bored” call from your kids.

Give them freedom.

Once you’ve given your kids some suggestions and supplies, step back and see which they choose and where they go with them. This unstructured play time gives kids an opportunity to stretch their creative muscles. Watch as they incorporate your ideas and branch out on their own.

Set an example.

Chances are, if you are a creative person, your child will be too. You display creativity in your everyday activities like when you reason with a disgruntled child, change lyrics to songs, and maybe even do some interpretive dancing to entertain a toddler. Your children see your silliness and it rubs off on them. You surely use creativity to juggle your and your family’s schedules. It’s a great idea to point out to your kids how you use creativity in your daily life.

As parents, we always try to do the very best for our kids and provide opportunities that will help them mature into intelligent, capable adults. Nurturing their creative spirits helps them along this road. With their well-developed imaginations, maybe they’ll turn it into a yellow brick, pink polka-dotted road with sparkles!

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