WHO’S THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD?
HOW MINDFULNESS HELPS US OVERCOME STRESS
T here was a period of time when I got up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to do yoga. I’d heard that yoga was good for stress relief, and between running the law firm and raising a family, I certainly have my fair share of stress. Doing yoga definitely helped with my stress, but the sleep situation — or lack thereof — that came from waking up so early just wasn’t doable. Eventually, I moved my yoga to the evenings. This has helped so much with my stress levels and my sleep. April is Stress Awareness Month, and I’d like to share some of my personal stress management strategies. I don’t know anyone who’s not a little stressed out during the day. To be fair, some stress is good and can help us get things done. However, chronic stress can really harm your health. My brain is constantly going with thoughts, and my phone is constantly pinging with new notifications that demand my attention. It’s incredibly stressful. You can’t do good work, or good anything, when your attention is being pulled every which way. Mindfulness is a very important part of my stress management strategy, and yoga and meditation are the two biggest resources in my mindfulness toolkit. I was listening to an interview with former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov — who held the title for 15 years — on “The Tim Ferriss Show” podcast. Kasparov explained that the thing that was most important to improving his skills — and to improving himself as a human — was meditation. After hearing this, I downloaded the
app Headspace, which offers guided meditation. It made such a difference. It’s hard to explain, but when I meditate, I feel like my brain is being rewired. I feel calmer and a bit more in control of my own mind. Through my mindfulness journey, I’ve learned that the voice in my head isn’t me. You know the voice I mean. It’s that negative one that says, “I’m a terrible person. I’m not good enough to do this. My life is falling apart.” These thoughts can really drag us down, but that negativity isn’t really you. When I first realized this, it was a huge breakthrough. You can separate yourself from that voice instead of letting it drown you with negative thoughts. By separating yourself from the negative voice, you can acknowledge how you’re feeling, but rather than wrestle with those bad thoughts, you allow them to pass through you. This allows you to process your stress far more effectively. People often say, “I’m so stressed!” like that stress is part of them. But your stress is actually a separate entity. By acknowledging your stress as such, you can let the stress go and better focus on tackling whatever challenges were causing the stress. When I learned to separate myself from that voice, I grew so much in my stress management and my self-improvement. There are always going to be things in life that stress us out, but we don’t have to let that stress control our lives. It’s important to find
strategies to help manage stress that fit into your schedule. For example, if you can’t do yoga in the mornings, plan a yoga session before bed instead. Meditation apps like Headspace or Calm offer 10-minute meditation sessions that can fit into any schedule. You could also read, go for a walk, work out, or do anything else that helps you separate yourself from that voice inside your head. Learning to process stress well is the first step to being a little less stressed out. A trip to White Sands in New Mexico. Throwing the kids into the car and heading out into nature is always important for our family and practicing mindfulness.
Helping Your Child Overcome Anxiety THE AGE OF STRESS
It’s hard to imagine kids as anything but carefree, happy, and eager to explore the world around them. However, children experience stress just like adults do, which can severely impact their typically cheerful dispositions. Since April is National Stress Awareness Month, now is an opportune time to familiarize yourself with tools and information that can help you alleviate your child’s stress. What are their stressors? Any number of everyday factors can lead to stress, and stress can plague anyone who feels overwhelmed. Toddlers and young children going to day care or school for the first time may experience separation anxiety due to being apart from their parents. Older kids and teenagers may feel mounting social and academic pressure. Even something as simple as overhearing loved ones arguing or seeing a sad news report can add to a child’s stress levels. How do I know if my child is stressed? When a kid is stressed, they will exhibit odd behavior and even undergo physical changes. Depending on your child’s age, watch for mood swings, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, trouble focusing, or withdrawal from the people around them. According to KidsHealth.org, younger children may also pick up habits like twirling their hair or sucking their thumb, while older kids may start to bully others, lie, or rebel.
Can I help reduce their stress?
According to KidsHealth.org, good nutrition, proper rest, and healthy attention are great ways to help kids manage their stress. Set time aside each day to talk and spend time with your children; talking about worries will reduce or relieve anxieties. If you know about an upcoming stressful situation, like a school exam or a health checkup, prepare your child by studying with them or talking to them about what to expect.
Don’t stop here. For more tools and information regarding stress reduction in children, visit KidsHealth.org or contact your doctor.
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The Best Place in the World
This is Harlow and I’m going to tell you about one of the best places in the world: the library!
Finn talked a little bit about our library trips last month, but he left out some really important details, like how the library we go to has all the books in the world (probably)! Or the fact that the best part of visiting the library is actually the drive home. Once we’ve found all the new books, Mommy picks out a special book for each of us, and we get to read it on the way back home. Daddy says it’s the quietest the car is all week. That’s because Finn and I are too busy looking at our books to spend time talking. I can’t read yet, but I really like looking at each page and making up a story that goes along with the pictures. Later, when Mommy and Daddy read that book to us, it’s fun to learn what’s really going on! But sometimes, I think the story I made up is even better than the one in the book. Finn and I get a bunch of different books to read each week. We usually have different favorites, but one book we both really like is called “Traction Man is Here!” by Mini Grey. It’s about a cool action figure named Traction Man who goes on great adventures with his pet brush named Scrubbing Brush. There are a few different Traction Man books and they’re all so funny! We spend all week reading books together before returning them to the library. It’s a little sad to say goodbye to the books, but it’s pretty fun to drop them in the little return slot. Then we go inside the library and find more books to read!
Easter Lamb Cake
Inspired by AllRecipes.com
• 2 1/4 cups cake flour • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar • 1/2 cup butter • 1 cup milk • 1 tsp vanilla extract • 4 egg whites Equipment • 1 lamb-shaped, 3D cake mold Ingredients Directions
1. Heat oven to 375 F. Coat lamb cake mold with vegetable oil and wipe clean after a fewminutes. Then grease again and flour cake mold. 2. In a bowl, sift cake flour, then sift flour again with baking powder and salt. Set aside. 3. In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter together to form a batter. 4. Add flour mixture and milk to the batter alternately. 5. Stir batter until smooth and add vanilla extract. 6. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. 7. Fold 1/3 of egg whites into batter mixture, then fold in the remaining whites. 8. Fill cake mold with batter and avoid air pockets. Place the lid on the cake mold, secure it tightly, and place it on a cookie sheet. Bake for 1 hour. 9. Let cake cool completely before decorating with frosting, candy, and edible Easter grass.
National Library Week is April 19–25, so if you haven’t been in a while, now is a perfect time to go to your local library. They have so many fun books! I know you’ll find something awesome to read.
Harlow with her pull cart and some of her favorite springtime books at the library.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE: Page 1 The Best Time for Yoga
Page 2 Helping Your Child Manage Stress
Our Clients Say It Best
Page 3 The Best Time to Visit the Library
Easter Lamb Cake
Page 4 Laughter Yoga’s Rise as a Global Health Movement LAUGHWITH ME! A LIGHTHEARTED APPROACH TO DECREASING STRESS
medical book suggesting the group didn’t need jokes to laugh. Fake laughter is just as beneficial as the real thing because the body can’t tell the difference between the two.
We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, and it turns out that human physiology supports this claim. When we laugh, our body releases a flood of feel-good chemicals and neurotransmitters. Our blood flow increases, and our production of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, decreases. Oh, and laughing also burns calories! The feel-good, endorphin-inducing benefits of laughter are exactly what prompted Dr. Madan Kataria to develop laughter yoga in 1995. Laughter yoga incorporates breathing, stretching, clapping, and of course, laughing. Kataria developed the initial idea after coming across research into the benefits of laughter on overall health and well-being. He began to put the research into practice by telling jokes to his patients, and after seeing the positive effects, he took his material to a local park. Parkgoers, who were initially skeptical, joined in on the practice, and the first laughter yoga club was born.
Collaborating with this wife, Madhuri, Kataria combined common yoga warmups and breathing techniques with facilitated laughter to create the form of laughter yoga that is practiced worldwide today. If you’re interested in trying laughter yoga for yourself, then you’re in luck. Laughter yoga clubs exist across the United States and the world. Videos on YouTube can teach the basics, but laughter yoga tends to be most beneficial in a group setting. Just think about the last time you found yourself in a fit of giggles with a group of friends or during a comedy show. Didn’t it feel great? Rather than wait for a silly situation to trigger laughter, use laughter yoga to promote laughter and alleviate stress on any day at any time.
The laughter meetup had everyone in high spirits — until the group ran out of jokes. Unsure of what to do next, Kataria found anotherPage 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
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