As soon as I began to incorporate three simple things into my daily routine, everything changed. I got it. I felt more in control of my life. I levelled-up in the game. Things simply felt better.
Now, although lasting change didn’t happen overnight – everything is mastered over time, and I’m still a beginner – I truly felt like I had the tools in my back pocket to overcome any challenges that faced me. I knew that if I had the willpower and sheer determination to overcome the obstacles put in my way, now I had the skills, too.
All I had to do was commit to making them a priority – a non-negotiable – in my day-to-day life. And I did.
Gratitude. Meditation. Visualisation.
I think the first time I was introduced to the power of gratitude was via The Secret, after one of my besties recommended I read it.
I could thank her every day for that recommendation, and it still wouldn’t feel like enough. If that book taught me just one thing, it was the incredible power of gratitude. There is absolutely no denying that introducing gratitude into every day brings so much more joy and happiness to life.
For the first time, I could create feelings of absolute elation on cue. I felt POWERFUL! I finally felt like my happiness was entirely in my hands. I was in charge!
Now, I know The Secret is a little woo-woo for some of us, but like I said, it enabled me to learn about gratitude. The cool thing about gratitude? It's results are based on scientific evidence - my fav! The studies outlined a whole pile of amazing benefits of gratitude practices:
Improved physical health
Improved mental health
Increased empathy and reduced aggression
Improved mental strength.
Can you imagine the positive impact this could have on your kids if you begin making gratitude as much of a habit as brushing their teeth? Seriously, start now!
“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life.” – Jack Canfield
BRING IT HOME: To start incorporating Gratitude into your life, I’d recommend using my FREE eBook – the IHH 10 Days of Gratitude Challenge. Claim it by signing up to my website! It has everything you need to get started on the Gratitude train, and did I mention it's FREE? It has 10 days worth of gratitude exercises that you can try yourself and with your kids!
Meditation helps me to connect with myself. It can help me to understand what I'm feeling and why, tune into my intuition and actually listen to what it says, make better choices, listen to what my body needs, and so much more. After consistent meditation every day for a few weeks, I felt so much calmer, in control, relaxed, and my anxiety was greatly reduced. I found myself flipping-out over silly things way less than usual. It can help your kids in the same way.
“The goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts, it's to stop letting them control you.” – Unknown
Happy, successful people often identify meditation as their number one secret to living their best lives. By getting your kids into it now, you're helping lay the foundations of one of those happy, successful lives. Not only does it have a tonne of benefits, but it also reduces anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, and fear.
Seven scientifically proven benefits of meditation:
Improves social life
Improves brain function
Increases knowledge of self
BRING IT HOME: To bring meditation into your family routine, I’d recommend downloading the Headspace app. Headspace has meditations for the whole family, as does the Smiling Mind app. GoNoodle is widely used in classrooms to start the day off right, or to calm down after recess and lunch. Start small by playing a meditation as the kids lie down to sleep. Even if they don't listen to it properly, just allow them to get used to the sounds. Eventually build on it, and play a meditation as soon as they wake up in the morning and walk into the living room. This is the best time to meditate.
Visualisation helped me in a lot of ways, but the main thing I give it credit for, is helping me to become extremely clear on exactly what it is that I want. When I visualise my goals, I find clarity in my goals. I can see exactly what it is that I’m working towards, and my motivation to get there increases. With kids, when they close their eyes and visualise positive things, like doing better on the spelling test, seeing friends on the weekend, or making it into the netball team, this positive outlook can greatly increase the HOPE they feel for the future, which (as an added benefit) is a very critical piece in preventing depression.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
– Albert Einstein
It’s a pretty broad and fascinating topic. Extensive research has been conducted on visualisation using brain imagery technology. The neurons in our brains interpret imagery as real-life action. Australian Psychologist, Alan Richardson, conducted an experiment on a group of Basketball players. He divided the group of 20 players into 3 groups, and tested each player’s ability to make free throws.
Group 1: would practice 20 minutes every day.
Group 2: would visualise themselves making free throws, but no actual practice was allowed.
Group 3: would not practice or visualise.
The results: There was significant improvement on the group that only visualised; they were almost as good as they guys who actually practiced. Astounding, considering no actual practice was allowed. That was all achieved by the power of imagination and visualisation.
Visualisation can assist in so many areas of our lives, and is the perfect partner to meditation practices. They go together like cheese and crackers.
BRING IT HOME: Pop on a relaxing meditation track with the (older) kids, start with some deep breathing exercises, relax your whole body, make yourself feel heavy, and then focus on a goal. It might help to write down your goal beforehand with a few dot points:
What is your goal?
Who is with you when you reach your goal?
When will you accomplish it?
Where will you celebrate your achievement?
How will you feel when you accomplish your goal?
Why is this goal so important to you?
When you do this exercise regularly, all together, it's an incredible bonding experience. Even better, when you accomplish goals, the whole family can celebrate like it was their own!
TIP: When you visualise, it’s important to keep the picture constantly moving. Just like real-life. The trees blow in the wind, your heart keeps beating, the people around you hug, then let go… Keep the visualisation moving.
If you want to start feeling big shifts in your life and see the way your children approach situations change, then I truly cannot recommend these three game-changers enough! Don’t feel like you need to dive in head-first to all three, but you and the kids can start small. Tell each other what you're grateful for over the breakfast table. Before bed, take 5 deep breaths and imagine you're sinking through your mattress (prompt the kids after the bedtime story). Make time on the way to school to talk through possible visualisations.
Start small. Commit. Be patient. And don't force the kids into doing something they don't want to do. That'll only cause resistance. The best thing you can do in this situation is be the example and one day, they will follow.
Thank you so much for showing up, and committing to be the change you wish to see in your family. It means the world.
Love & Happiness
P.S Do you know someone who could really benefit from reading this? To give them the motivation and push they need to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of the young people around them? Share this post with them. Even if they don't embrace it straight away, you've done your part. Thank you.
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