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Highs and Lows(DW#736)

Here is another way to keep connected with the internal world of your loved ones and check in with them.

It is call Highs and Lows. It is a great way to spark off dinner conversation about the happenings of the day.

Ask people to think of their "high and low" of the day – this is the best thing that happened to them during the day, and the worst thing that happened to them.

Give everyone a chance to think, then have everyone share with the family.

Once again, it is up to the person whether they want to explain and elaborate on their feelings about what happened, or not.

Conversations like this are very helpful in letting our family know that we can talk about the hard and challenging stuff as well as the happy and positive stuff. That both our successes and our challenges can be discussed and will be met with validation and understanding.

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A basic emotional check in(DW#735 )

During these times, it is a good idea to check in with family members about their emotional and mental health each day.

Simply sharing and being able to speak about challenging situations and how they are impacting us can be very helpful in coping with these challenges.

Today’s check in is very simple:

At a set time each day (morning or evening), ask everyone around to rate their mood on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst mood and 10 being the best.

 
Once everyone has rated their mood, you can simply thank them for sharing, offer them a hug or ask if they want to say more, elaborate or explain.

Please remember to listen with LUV and to resist offering "helpful advice" for now. The focus is simply to check in and validate whatever they may be feeling at the time.

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Listen with LUV (DW#734)

family pandemic stress Apr 09, 2020
We have been talking about checking in with ourselves and sharing our emotional world with our loved ones.

Today let us look around and see how others in our family are coping.

If there are upsurges and down surges of moods around right now, please know that this is to be expected. If people are more short tempered or irritable, please cut them some slack.

Everyone in our family is also going through their own stress right now and there is no manual (yet!) on how families can cope through a global pandemic. I have no doubt that we will settle into a new normal and adjust to changing circumstances and it will take some time.

In the meantime, let us develop a habit of checking in with those around us as well.

Before we explore some ways to check in with those around us, let us remind ourselves that when they do share, to listen with LUV.

Here is what I mean:

•       LISTEN with your ears, eyes and heart to understand their...
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6 Reasons why you must share your feelings(DW#733)

emotions family feelings Apr 08, 2020
I am hoping that you have been trying on the practices for tuning in and checking in with yourself.

Today, let us take this one step further and explore why it is a good idea to share your feelings with your spouse and family.
 
Here are 6 reasons:
 

1)   When we give name our feelings rather than acting them out, we give ourselves and each other the gift of connection rather conflict. Sharing our inner world is the gateway to intimacy and connection.
2)   When we announce where we are at emotionally, we take responsibility for our own state rather than blame those around us for causing our distress.
3)   When we declare that we are having a hard time right now, we relieve others around us of thinking that they are the cause. They then do not have to walk on eggshells around us.
4)    When we are emotionally open, it gives our family something they need desperately right now: certainty. Rather than guessing if...

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Do you feel guilty about negative feelings?(DW#732 )

Over the last few days I have been hearing some version of the following over and over again:
 
"I shouldn’t complain. I have it so much better than so many other people". "I am missing this and that. But really I should not feel bad about it. So much bigger stuff going on in the world".
 
This is true. Alhamdullilah. We certainly have it better than many many people in the world who are suffering so much. And it is very good to remind ourselves of that from time to time especially when we go down a negative thought spiral.
 
But here’s the thing: it is also okay to feel sad about something small that meant something to you. Disappointment over something that you were looking forward to that got cancelled. That you cannot invite anyone over for a barbeque even though the weather is getting better. That your favourite restaurant has closed its doors for ever. That you cannot run out and get something from the store.
 
That single mom who is also a...
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Check in with yourself (DW#731)

So how are YOU doing this morning? No, really. How are you doing? (Clearly I am feeling distracted ;) )
 
The world has changed almost overnight and we were not prepared for it. Just as the world changed forever after 9/11, we have hit another transition point in history. One that is likely to change our consciousness for ever.

It is no wonder that many of us are going through strong and changing emotions at this time. Many of us are feeling anxious, sleepless, fearful, angry and sad. We are having trouble focusing and staying on task. We may be experiencing forgetfulness, loss of motivation and intense grief that comes in waves.
 
All of these are predictable responses to a highly unpredictable situation.
 
For now, let us focus on simply noticing which emotions are showing up and practice accepting them rather than pushing them away or escaping them. Practices such as these have good scientific evidence that they work. They have been consistently linked to good...
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Take a self-compassion break (DW#730 )

While some of us manage our anxiety through being hyper productive and busy, others struggle to get anything done at all. Some of us eat too much, sleep too much and others find it hard to sleep or eat much at all. All these and other ways you are coping these days are all "normal" responses in times of crisis.

 

The key is to remember to show kindness and compassion to ourselves regardless of the method we are using to cope. We do NOT need to add self-criticism and self-judgement on top of all the stress we are going through right now.

 

Research into the practice of self-compassion shows that the practice builds resilience and helps us cope with adversity. Importantly for these times, the practice of self-compassion has been shown to reduce trauma and PTSD among war veterans. In other words, if we practice self-compassion, we are more likely to cope better with adversity and build resilience in the face of challenges.

 

The practice itself is very simple. The...
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Ground yourself in your intention(DW#729)

Yesterday, we talked about how we can set the tone of the day by setting an intention before we even get out of bed.

 

Today, let us deepen this practice further. The following is a grounding practice that can greatly help us start the day right and have an anchor to come back to in moments of anxiety or distress. When your mind is racing and going down the anxiety tunnel, a grounding practice such as this can help bring you back to the here-and-now. It is a great way set a calm anchor that you can come back to again and again.
 

 

All these steps combined take only moments to practice but can have a profound impact on our wellbeing.

 

Once you get out of bed, feel your feet firmly planted on the floor.
Stand up tall.
Take a few deep breaths (in through the nose, down and into your sides and into your back).
As you exhale, expand your awareness into your surroundings, taking a moment to notice sounds and smells.
Now remind yourself of your intention and feel...
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Set an intention for the day (DW#728)

Have you noticed that how we begin our morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day?

 

I remember as a child when I was grumpy, my mom saying to me, "It looks like you have gotten out of the wrong side of the bed this morning"! (sorry mom!) I now realize what she meant was that if I was grumpy at the beginning of the day, I would likely remain so for the rest of the day.

 

As an adult, I am beginning to recognize that I can choose "which side of the bed I get out of". That I can practice setting an intention for how I am going to show up in the world today.

 

Let us remind ourselves what we mean by setting an intention.

 

An intention is about how we commit to showing up in our life everyday, regardless of what is happening around us. It is a guiding principle or value that we act from, and it is very much based in the present moment.

For example, intentions related to the present crisis might be:

 

I intend to be kind

 

I intend...
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Recognize and act within your circle of control (DW#727 )

One of the most important things we can do to cultivate resilience is to recognize our sense of agency.
 
Agency is simply a fancy word for how empowered you feel or how much control or power you feel over your own life. This is where your energy and strength come from.
 
The truth is that there are many many things outside our control. There always have been and always will be. The present world situation has simply brought these into sharp focus.

And the truth is also that some things always were and still remain with our control. (Can you see that?)
 
Now, when we focus our attention to things that are outside our control, we give up our sense of agency. We feel powerless and therefore hopeless.
 
The way out of this feeling of helplessness and the panic that ensues is to become more mindful of where we are focusing our attention.
 
Is it focused on things that are outside our control or those that we have control or power over?
 
When going...
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