5 Techniques for Stress-Free Parenting

If other people’s social media feeds were to be believed, we’d think parenting was all cupcakes and cartoons, but it’s not. Parenting is hard. It’s signing up for a minimum of 18 years of patience and understanding. Here are our 5 tips for keeping your cool when dealing with your beloved bundle of added stress.

  1. When you find yourself frustrated by your child’s behavior, remind yourself that you need to set age appropriate expectations. As adults we often forget what it felt like to be a child. We don’t remember the limitations on our thinking imposed by lack of development and experience. A good way to keep this in mind is to check out Kaiser Permanente’s milestones for childhood development and remind yourself what your child can and can’t be expected to accomplish so far.
  2. When in doubt, empathize. When your child is pushing all your buttons, try to remember to see it from their perspective. Use the milestones above to think about where your child is coming from. Remember too, that you’re often their whole world. Unlike adults who have friends (or therapists) to vent to, children can often only vent their frustrations at their parents. You are both sounding board and an example of behavior for them. Don’t take it personally when this results in them throwing anger and frustration at you. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
  3. If you reach the end of your patience, try recalling a particularly helpful adult you knew as a child and using that as a model for your own behavior. Let the person you communicated best with as a child become your mentor in communicating with your own child.
  4. As important as being a parent is, remember you are a person first. You get tired, you get worn out, and you deserve time to yourself. Let yourself take this time even if it’s only in short snippets between other things. Even a 5-minute break will help you center yourself. Whether it’s power nap or a quick phone call to a friend, allowing yourself a  break is essential.
  5. When you can’t spare a full 5-10 minutes, take a few moments to breathe instead. Even brief moments of meditation are proven to have profound benefits on your mental state and health. Spire provides free guided meditation on our site, with some starting at just 31 seconds. Give one a try when you are caught in a moment of intense stress.

Do you have a tip for stress-free parenting? Leave it in the comments below!

Social Media Got You Down? Here’s How to Turn It Around

Social media can be a blessing and a curse. It’s a great way to stay up-to-date with your friends and family, but it can also drag you down. Whether it’s the sheer volume of information or the negative and politically charged posts, social media can dramatically impact your mental state. Below are six steps to adapting your social media experience to limit the negative and maximize the positive.

  1. Choose the Right Content

The first step to turning around your social media experience is to be selective about the sources of information to which you give your attention. Conduct an immediate audit. Unfollow individuals and media outlets that cause you the most anxiety. Consider making lists of individuals or sources you trust and giving them the majority of your focus. After a successful audit, avoiding clickbait and other uninteresting posts should be easier. Additionally, you can have more faith in the overall value of the content you interact with. Once you’ve removed the sources of your anxiety, consider adding in some more lighthearted positive sources. There’s no shame in adding random kitten pics to your newsfeed to give yourself a little break. This is a step people often overlook because they follow things they expect to like or that are popular, but rarely do they follow individuals or media outlets based on the emotional direction of the content they share.

  1. When You Engage, Be Constructive

When your social media feed is dominated by anxiety-causing posts, it’s easy to get sucked into a particular comment thread that brings you down. Instead of letting that happen, consider concrete actions you can take to address or help change a situation. For instance, you might make a donation to a cause you support, call a representative about your viewpoint on an issue, attend a rally, or volunteer your skills where they can be helpful. Translating a negative feeling about a trending issue into action can help free your mind to move on to the next thing in life without regret.

  1. Set Personal Boundaries

Social media can be very engaging, taking up a lot of time and focus. Consider limiting your exposure to social media by either limiting the amount of time you spend on social media or setting times when you will not engage with social media. Only allow yourself a set amount of time on each social media site or decide you won’t look at social media during the two hours before bed. These limits allow you to relax, focus on other things, and prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed at key points during your day.

  1. Meet People Face-to-Face

Make time to meet with friends, family and inspirational people in person. Share a meal and a laugh. Meeting with people face-to-face is scientifically proven to increase happiness. Additionally, laughing helps to reduce stress. Laughter triggers a release of happy chemicals which can in turn both boost immune response and create a more positive state of mind. Taken together, meeting people in person and experiencing a sense of belonging and friendship can go a long way to reducing anxiety and promoting a lasting positive mindset.

  1. Allow Time for Mental “Play”

Let yourself daydream away from social media. Find internet sites to wander through for the sole purpose of cultivating a positive interaction. Plan your dream vacation, carefully curate your DIY collection on Pinterest, or do your leisure reading. Finding ways to positively interact with online information that isn’t just via your social media feed will help to balance your overall internet experience, making it feel less like you only see bad news or overwhelming random information.

  1. Get Offline Completely & Invest in Mindfulness

When you find your online exposure is unnecessarily causing you anxiety, take a moment to step back and do something in real life. Try a project that requires you to create something with your hands. It could be as simple as baking cookies or knitting. For some it means taking a moment for themselves and investing in mindfulness. Many of our users report that Spire helps identify times when they are experiencing unnecessary tension and helps to guide them back to a calm and focused state. Learn more about the science behind Spire here.

Too Busy for Daily Meditation? Do This.

You’re busy. You go from meeting to meeting, then to your workout, then out with friends. It’s hard to carve out time to meditate. We all know mindfulness has proven benefits, but how do we go about fitting it into our normal everyday hectic lifestyles? Below are four tools you can use to squeeze meditation into even the busiest of schedules. They’re ordered by the amount of time they take, from shortest to longest, and they’ll all help you boost productivity, establish calm, and live your best self.  file-1

 

Spire Green Dots

Inside the Spire app we’ve launched the Green Dots Breathing Exercise. It is a really powerful tool to help control emotions. By tracking your breath depth and frequency, in less than 30 seconds it can significantly reduce your tension and help you be more present. This is the perfect exercise for people with very little time to dedicate to meditation, but who still need a quick change of mood or focus. Take your phone out and follow the exercise as often as you feel like you need a quick boost. If you don’t already have a Spire, pick one up today to integrate this powerful exercise into your routine.

 

Spire Boosts

Also inside the Spire app is our mindfulness boosts. Spire BoostsEach of these boosts are guided meditations focusing on a particular need, like reducing tension or increasing focus. These boosts range from just short of a minute to around five minutes. They take a bit longer than the Green Dots Breathing Exercise, but can be particularly effective at transforming your mood and focus. Give them a try when you can retreat to a quiet space for a few moments during your day.

 

 

Headspace

If you have more time and want to be more consistent with your meditation the Headspace app is an excellent tool. The app helps you build consistency by giving you rewards for moving along with your mindfulness practice. Pairing Headspace and Spire can help you track the impact of your meditation on your day to day life. Download the app to get started today.

 

Schedule It

While mindfulness is hard to integrate in a busy schedule, one of the best tricks for actually getting something into your day is to block off time for it on your calendar. This is especially important for people that share their calendars with coworkers. Add a “meeting” to your calendar that makes it clear you aren’t available, and then go sneak off to an empty conference room or phone booth and complete your Spire boost or Headspace meditation. Either Way, carving out time for your mindfulness is the single best way to change the discussion from if you’ll do it, to when you’ll do it.

 

Interesting in incorporating more meditation in your day? Spire uses proven science to help boost productivity and reduce tension. Learn more about Spire.

The 6 Apps That Will Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Looking to be a happy, healthier, more mindful version of you in 2017? We’ve assembled a collection of six best-in-class apps and products that will help you make progress on some of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Read more ›

This Process Will Help You Set Resolutions That Work

With 2017 upon us, many of us are thinking about what we’d like to achieve in the coming year. Below is a five-step process to develop and set New Year’s resolutions. This process balances desire and accountability to ensure you’ll be motivated and committed over the whole year. Consider using this process to set and follow through on your resolutions.

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5  Ways to Get Focused at Work

Let’s admit it, while we all put in a hard day’s work it can be difficult to stay focused throughout the day, especially during the busy holiday season. Minds often wander, and at times it can feel like we’re fighting an uphill battle against our own attention span. See below for some of the tricks we use.

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Breathing Techniques for the Holidays

The holidays can be a time of stress and anxiety. Below are three breathing techniques that can help you and your clients and patients deal with these issues by cultivating energy, reducing stress, and restoring focus.

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