I hope your holiday season is going better than ever! If you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget to use the tool that humans uniquely have by making sure to plan for this month, especially planning time for you to ENJOY life!
If you haven’t downloaded my worksheet yet, click here to beat the holiday overwhelm and enjoy this magical time of year!
Speaking of enjoying your holiday season, I want to tell you about what I believe is the best gift you can give your kids this holiday.
As you can imagine, what I am proposing is not an experience, a toy, an Xbox, or anything else like that.
In fact, I want to argue the case that your mental and emotional health is the most important gift you can give your kids, and yourself for that matter.
We all can agree that taking care of yourself physically is important, of course, but as a culture, we tend to not know how to take care of ourselves emotionally and mentally. However, if we ignore that side of our health, everything else suffers, including our physical health. It’s important to view our emotional and mental health as urgently as we do our physical health.
Joining a life coaching program is like having gym membership for your mind. Everyone needs a life coach, especially parents. And here’s why.
Your kids really do want you to be fulfilled and healthy and to have a life other than just being a parent. I remember as a kid really wanting my parents to be happy. I wanted them to have a life outside of me and an my brother and taking care of us. I wanted them to have meaningful jobs and good friends. I wanted them to be able to have fun, and to let loose once in a while, and of course, I wanted them be active and eat well, so they could be around when I had grandkids. Yet, I didn’t want them to perfect, and in fact, it was refreshing when they admitted mistakes, or talked about their failures or were emotional once in a while. It helped me know that it’s normal and ok to have negative feelings and that I shouldn’t hide them or be afraid of them.
But what does good mental and emotional health look like? How do we improve our mental health? And how do we teach our kids to be emotionally healthy?
Well, we know what bad mental health looks like. We know about mental illnesses and emotional disorders and we mostly know that if we are in a state of mental illness, or we are non-functioning, we should seek out the help a therapist or psychiatrist.
But if we are functioning and otherwise healthy people, we still need to work on our mental and emotional health, throughout out lives. Good mental and emotional health helps us to have healthy and meaningful relationships, overcome challenges, reach our goals, and be the person we we want to be. It helps us to know how to handle negative emotions, and how to choose our thoughts so that we can have the results and experience of life that we want. It helps us to feel better, and not try to control or manipulate others, and it helps us to take back our power and control of our lives so we don’t have to depend on others to make us feel happy or fulfilled. This work is so important, critical I would even say.
Yet, how do we gain good mental health when there is no illness, when we are functioning well, but have a desire to fulfill our potential or follow our dreams or just feel better?
In order to accomplish all of these amazing things, we need to first understand our brains on a basic level. First of all, I am going to talk about two main sections of our brains, the lower and higher brains. Stay with me here – this is important!
The lower brain is also known as our primitive part of our brain. The lower brain’s main function was to protect us, keep us safe, and keep us alive as a primitive species. It accomplishes this by seeking out these three main goals, called the motivational triad – to seek pleasure, avoid pain, and be as efficient as possible.
In caveman days, pleasure came from things like a little bit of food, relationships with others, and warmth. Any pain we felt could equal death, so we avoided it as much as possible.
In addition, our lower brains wanted us to conserve energy so that we could survive having a dry spell where there was no food or to help us run away when there was a threat to our lives. This is why your lower brain sounds alarms when it thinks something has gone wrong, and releases hormones to engage fight, flight or freeze.
The problem is that nowadays, pleasure is everywhere, and we are still avoiding any tiny bit of negative emotion because lower brain hasn’t evolved to meet our current situation in the world. We no longer are in physical danger, so instead, our brain sees negative emotions as danger, and overreacts.
Any discomfort we feel is a signal to a brain that something is wrong, which is why we resist negative emotion so automatically, and now have no idea how to process them.
An example of this is when you react by yelling at your kids, even though you really want to stop that habit. Your kids are doing something, like throwing a tantrum, that sets of the lower brain’s alarm, and then you yell. Then, your lower brain notices that when you yell, the child stops throwing a tantrum, and then stores that information for the next time something similar happens, and so that reaction becomes a habit that your brain thinks is working and being efficient.
Times like these, when your child is throwing a tantrum or your lower brain is telling you something has gone wrong, is when you need your higher brain, your logical brain to step in to override the alarm, and calm your lower brain.
This is where our humanness is an advantage. We can have the unique ability to observe ourselves thinking. Crazy right? We can actually look at what’s happening in our brains and notice the thoughts we are having. Since we can observe our thoughts, this helps us recognize that our thoughts are not us, and that our higher brain can override our lower brain if we manage it correctly. Then, we don’t have to be a slave to the motivational triad anymore.
Overcoming the need for pleasure and to avoid pain is what helps us evolve into the next version of ourselves, and allows us to fulfill our potential.
When we use the model to look at how our thoughts are creating our results, we can see more clearly how when lower brain is getting in the way of us creating the life we want. Through working with a life coach that uses the model, we can override the feelings that makes us scared to set goals, and avoid discomfort.
Though one on one coaching, I help you to see what result the thoughts you are having are creating in your life.
We then can intentionally decide what result you want instead and I can teach you how to reprogram your brain to change your thoughts and feelings so that you can achieve whatever result you want in your life. I also will teach you how to embrace and process negative emotions so that they don’t take over your life and prevent you from accomplishing your goals.
Our kids need us to know how to handle our emotions, know how to take care of ourselves, and to do our best to have the life we imagine for ourselves. In my 6 week coaching program, we work through all of the thoughts that are getting in the way of you reaching your goals, being the parent you strive to be, and we learn how to leverage those thoughts and feelings so you can become empowered and stop letting life just happen to you. You will also learn how to coach yourself so you can use these powerful tools for the rest of your life and even teach them to your children.
You AND your kids deserve to have parents who are striving toward good mental and emotional health and working with a life coach to come alongside you in this journey is the best way to get there.
If you’re ready to “get a membership to a mental health gym” for 2019, sign up for a 20 minute call with me and we will solve any problem you are facing. It’s totally free!