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As the stay-at-home mother of two small children, sometimes I feel like peace is something I might enjoy at some other time, in some other place. While I'm buried in clutter and fighting a chronic tension headache is not the time that I feel peace is even a possibility. Maybe chaos and stress will reign supreme until my kids move out. But resigning myself to anxiety and stress can have all kinds of negative repercussions, says Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent.
The impact of stress
"Stress can interrupt our sound judgment, regular sleeping and eating habits, and negatively impact relationships when we flood our partners with excessive worries and fears," Dr. Fran says. "Research studies show that stress can cause impact medical issues including heart problems. It is important for us to live as stress-free lives as possible in order to stay balanced and be able to enjoy people, relationships and natural pleasures without the clutter and distraction of emotional stressors."
OK... but how?
We all know we should try to eliminate stressors from our lives, but modern life is just downright stressful by nature. We pack so many events and responsibilities into our days, that finding peace seems impossible. Dr. Fran offers her seven secrets of peaceful, happy people:
- Give up trying to control other people, especially your spouse/partner.
- Praise every increment in yourself toward independence and moving outward into the world. Cherish your ability to stand on your own.
- View people as good until they demonstrate otherwise. Most people are good. Those who are not will reveal themselves in time and you can weed out the ones who are not worthy of your friendship.
- Do not strive for perfection. Be "good enough."
- Build self-esteem toward self and others by using words that support and motivate with empathic attunement, rather than criticize.
- Express your feelings in the moment. Do not allow anger and disappointment to build up inside you. Say what you feel clearly and respectfully. It will free you.
- Give yourself Special Time. Take 10-15 minutes each day to be with yourself and chill. You'd be surprised how challenging this is when you have a spouse and children tugging at you 24/7. Give yourself short, undivided, positive attention each day to nourish and fortify you.
Choose one of these seven tips and make one decision right now that will move you toward a place of peace. A good place to start is with "Special Time." After you're done reading this, walk away from your electronics and just be with yourself for a few minutes. You'll be surprised how a little stillness can affect your overall mood.