Mind, body, and energy: how important are they in parenting?
It might seem like we don’t need to pay attention to this trifecta in terms of our parenting; however, these three entities are essential both individually and in conjunction with one another.
When our mind is all over the place, thinking about the past or the future, we lose sight of the present moment. Thinking about all the things we have to do that do not serve us in that current moment creates unnecessary stress over uncertainty. This brings our mind elsewhere and does not allow us to be grounded, focused, and present.
The more we live in this moment, the present, instead of in our thoughts about another moment, the less we add unnecessary stress, worry and complication. When you notice yourself getting caught up in the world of thoughts in your head, quickly bring your attention to your breathing.
This is a great way to model to your children and share what you are doing and why.
For example: At 11 AM, if we start to think about dinner and then spiral into concerns about bedtime and how we are going to get our son or daughter to sleep, we have completely left this moment and brought uncertainty and worry to ourselves. Perhaps bedtime is challenging for your child and for you, but bringing a worry to it in the morning or later in the afternoon is not going to make it better.
This is a time to breathe and focus on other methods of present moment awareness. Here are a few of my favorites:
a. Focus on your breath as it enters the nostrils and exits. Pay attention to the flow of breath. Try creating a mantra for yourself to keep the focus, such as “inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, then exhale 1, 2, 3, 4.”
b. Put your hand on your heart and feel it beat. It is so grounding and calming when you pay attention to this. We all take it for granted. I believe this can be used daily as an opportunity to reset, grounding oneself in the present moment as part of the trifecta.
c. Give gratitude. You do not have to write in order to be grateful. Simply thinking to yourself, when your mind wanders and takes you elsewhere, what you are grateful for at this moment will help to relieve your anxious feelings about bedtime and help you connect to the here and now.
Our body is important for so many reasons. Our bodies need energy and movement, just as our children’s bodies do. Getting our hearts beating and the blood flowing energizes and engages our body, our muscles and also our brains. When we sit for hours, we might feel exhausted. Give yourself a break whenever you can, getting your body moving. Movement in the body is like meditation for the brain; it resets us. Our bodies need movement.
For example, perhaps you sit with your child for a few hours (if they sit that long) and you might feel stiff, tired or stagnant.
Here are some easy tips to help boost your energy in your body in this trifecta in parenting.
a. Boost energy and body movement by turning on music and moving with it. You can do this while you are cooking or hanging with kids. They might join you.
b. Go outside and walk around in nature with grass, trees, birds, etc. Take it all in that is in front of you and be present. This is a great activity for kids too. Notice what you see, smell, feel, and touch. Engage all of your senses.
c. Wherever you are, stand up and squat. Set an intention for your body and see how you feel after. Sometimes just a few squats can instill movement and flow in your body, resetting yourself to take on the rest of the day.
How do we create energy? There are so many ways to create energy, but also ways to conserve energy. For example, as part of the trifecta, if I spend a lot of time in my head with thoughts that take me everywhere except for where I am, I am expending energy. Begin to notice how these three entities are connected. If one is off, it disrupts the whole trifecta.
Build energy by first being aware of your self-care. It is essential to fill or fuel yourself first; once you take care of yourself, then you are able to take care of others. We can only give from what we have, not what we don’t have. Fill your tank. Think about what builds energy and momentum for you. What makes you feel energized?
For me, I try a lot of different things the conserve energy and fill my tank.
a. Try to meditate. It creates energy within me, even if it is for a simple 5 minutes.
b. A mindful shower, even if for just a few minutes, can restore you. Try to think and bring attention to the water droplets hitting your body, the smell of the soap, and the overall cleanliness.
c. Try sitting outside or beside a window. Watch nature. I love to watch the birds and hear them sing.
d. The foods that we put in our bodies can help to create energy. Good nutrition and nutrients will go a long way.
Self-care comes in all shapes and sizes. What fuels you?
The mind, body, and energy effect is an important trifecta in parenting because each one affects the other. If we stay in the present moment more than not, nurture our bodies with movement and nutrients, then we feel better and are able to exert more energy into things that serve us. When we thrive with energy, imagine the impact it will have on our parenting practices, patience, listening skills, and compassion.
What intention will you set as you move forward?
Written by Sue DeCaro.