Much publicity has been made in recent years about the dangers of overscheduling (and the resulting overstressing) of our children. Books such as The Over-Scheduled Child (2001) by Dr. Alvin Rosenfield, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist and former Head of Child Psychiatry at Stanford University; The Pressured Child (2005) by Dr. Michael Thompson, clinical psychologist; and The Hurried Child (2001) written by David Elkind, PhD, professor of Child Development at Tufts University, all document the issues surrounding the phenomenon of this generation of parents and their children who have become more frenzied than ever, so much so that some areas of the country are now offering Yoga classes and structured stress-reduction classes for children as young as three (3) years old to help them deal with all their stress from their crazy schedules! (Kirchheimer, 2004)
If its bad for our children, it cannot be good for us adults! In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010), Brene Brown states, We are a nation of exhausted and over stress adults raising over-scheduled children. We use our spare time to desperately search for joy and meaning in our lives. We think accomplishments and acquisitions will bring joy and meaning, but that pursuit could be the very thing thats keeping us so tired and afraid to slow down. Many even wear their busyness like a badge of honor, you probably know someone like this: who has-to-tell-you-everything-they-have-to-do-today-and-how-important-it-is-and-how-exhausted-they-are-and-how-late-they-have-to-work-after-all-the-important-errands-they-will-run-and-they-are-soooo-tired and then, add a big yawn for emphasis at the end of their monologue.
Have you ever had that awful pit in your stomach, a wash of discomfort throughout your body, or incessant thoughts that you just can’t seem to get out of your head in the middle of the night? I believe we all have, but it can be difficult to identify or explain what those feelings are.
Really powerful emotions (both positive and negative) are often very difficult to describe. We sometimes just don’t have the words. Having the words can enhance a positive experience or bring comfort to a difficult one.
I have spent the last several weeks reading Brene Brown’s books I Thought it Was Just Me (But it Isn’t) and The Gifts of Imperfection. Brene Brown is a self-described shame researcher/story teller who has helped bring understanding to very difficult emotional experiences. She said that the four most common difficult emotions that people experience are embarrassment, guilt, humiliation, and shame. Brown illustrates that knowing the differences and definitions of these four experiences makes all the difference in how we interact with them and move through them effectively. Let’s start with the definitions:
The approaching holidays can be exciting, overwhelming and hard all at the same time. Here are some tips to not only survive but thrive during the festivities.
1. Live “whole-heartedly” during the holidays
Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston coined the phase after conducting thousands of interviews studying happiness and connection. “Whole-hearted living” means letting ourselves be deeply and vulnerably seen. Loving with our whole hearts, even when there’s no guarantee. Focus on what is really important.