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Health Matters

From Surviving to Thriving

March 1st, 2017

By Jenifer Horvath

As parents, it’s easy to fall into the rhythm of merely surviving. Doing what you need to do to exist and get the necessary tasks done on a daily basis, especially under hardship. We need this survival mode.

Problems begin to appear when we are in survival mode for too long. Survival mode is exhausting, stressful, and emotionally defeating. It causes wear on your mind and body. Signs of being in a state of survival are blaming and judging others. Perhaps we feel inferior, or not in control, so we gossip and have short tempers with our kids. We are overly critical of others and ourselves. Seeing the bad first. We see life as happening to us, instead of for us. We find it difficult to see different points of view and all the possibilities.

To help numb any feelings of disappointment, fear or guilt, we begin to turn to things that take our minds off our feelings. Some people turn to wine, food, Facebook and Netflix to zone out night after night. Others become workaholics or excessive cleaners to keep themselves busy.  These coping mechanisms in excess become crutches, so we don’t deal with our emotions and reality.

We soldier on, doing the things we think we must do to survive. Not giving ourselves permission to think about how our lives might not be what we want them to be. Planting smiles on our faces to hide that we feel lost. This is survival mode.

Is this all there is to life?

The beautiful thing is that you don’t need to stay in that state of surviving.  You can reignite your spark, inspiration, and motivation. You can choose to see the positive and opportunities. You can find what you’re passionate about and uncover ways to enjoy it, while being a parent. You can thrive.

Thriving is an intentional state. Knowing what you really want and why you want it. Purposely planning and living your life, so it’s in alignment with your values.

Yes, it does take work to get there and effort to choose to be your best self every day. The benefits, however, of being in this state are greater energy, awareness, happiness, focus and an even more meaningful life. Thriving creates more thriving. Suddenly, the world opens up to you and ideas you never saw before are there.

As parents, it does mean blending all components of your life – yourself, your family, friends, work and other elements – into a delicious life smoothie that works for you. Everyone’s life smoothie is going to be different. What matters is if it’s working for you.

While our life will swing between surviving and thriving, choosing intentional and purposeful living and personal growth will bring you greater fulfilment.

Choosing to Thrive: How to begin

Awareness is the first step in knowing who you are and where you want to be.

Try this life satisfaction exercise to get more clarity on what’s working for you and what’s not:

  1.    Identify: Write down the different areas of your life: health, family, career, self-development, volunteering, hobbies, home, spiritual and other areas.
  2.    Rank: For each area, rank your satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is a little bit satisfied and 10 is completely satisfied.
  3.    Observe: Try not to judge. Simply be honest with yourself and notice what’s sticking out from the ranking.  What’s higher? What’s lower?
  4.    Consider: If you could change just one area to give your life more overall satisfaction, which one would it be?
  5.    Create: With that one area in mind, focus on creating one tiny action step you can take to improve that area. Keep it doable and enjoyable, so you get positive reinforcement when you achieve it.    

An exercise sheet to accompany this in a workbook Heart Lifted put together for #moms. Check it out here: heartlifted.com/free-gift.html

Jenifer Horvath is the founder of Heart Lifted Coaching. Through weekly sessions, she helps moms reduce stress and guilt, in order to be happier, calmer and live a more meaningful life. She has two daughters and loves yoga, brain-science and sipping lattes with friends.

 

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