Posts Tagged ‘health / wellbeing’
Postnatal depression and other mental health problems related to pregnancy and childbirth are recently getting a lot of attention.
Many mothers become very sensitive while going through the stressful period of pregnancy and childbirth. They are much more susceptible to mental health challenges such as postnatal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
For many years, these disorders were linked to hormonal changes and the trauma of the birth itself. Recently, this view has begun to be criticized. It puts a lot of pressure on mothers and does not examine other reasons for the mental challenges women go though after pregnancy and giving birth.
A study done by researchers from North Carolina State University, Simon Fraser University and the University of British Colombia wanted to check the relationship between partner abuse and women’s postpartum mental health. They measured various types of abuse, including physical, psychological and sexual, and mental health disorders, including depression, stress, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. They discovered big correlations.
After coaching so many parents, and raising my own kids, I have accumulated many essential parenting tips that I want to share with you. I hope you find them useful.
Take care of your happiness first. Just like they tell you on a plane, you should put the oxygen mask on your own face before helping your kids. If you want to raise happy kids, you must take care of your own happiness first. If you do not have oxygen, you are no good to your kids. Happy Parents Raise Happy Kids.
Be positive. It is very easy to notice what your kids are doing wrong but harder to pay attention to the great things they are doing. Parents tend to take the good things for granted. In life, you get what you focus on and parenting is exactly the same. If you focus on good thing, you will have more of them. If you focus on problems, conflicts, difficulties, bad manners, you will have more of them. If you notice your child doing something good, say it! Praise kids for being kind, congratulate them for making an effort, acknowledge their kindness and you will see more of it.
Sleep is one of the key ingredients for success. I have the perfect example to illustrate the point.
My son Tsoof is 18 years old. As his mother, I am slightly biased, but he is very smart and talented. He is in his third year of university and is excelling in everything. He is taking extra subjects, plays in three bands, he teaches two music classes and is simultaneously composing music and working on producing a show..
This week, I read an article that explained one of the reasons why Tsoof is so successful. He sleeps a lot.
Sounds funny, right? Keep reading to see what I mean.
The article I read talked about the damage of not getting enough sleep. Tsoof, from a very young age, was a good sleeper. When other kids in day care did not need to take an afternoon nap, he still slept in the afternoon. Later on, when he was in primary school and even in high school, no matter what movie was on or what he had to do for school, he slept an average of 10 hours a night. Our two daughters consider sleep to be a waste of time, but Tsoof never needed to be “encourage” to go to bed. Today, he is busier than ever before and he still averages over 9 hours a night.
Smoking is bad. Everyone knows that. Unfortunately not everyone understands it. Countless campaigns have tried and failed to encourage people to quit smoking but I think kids have the power to make a difference.
When I was growing up, my dad was a smoker. He was not one of those people who smoked a cigarette every once in a while. He smoked more than a packet a day. For my dad, smoking was a manly thing. While my mom never smoked, and my older sister fought with him about for years, he kept on smoking. Even at home, next to us. He had no intention of stopping. His excuse was, “I have been smoking for years. I can’t stop now”.
One day, he found out that my brother, who was about 16 years old, had smoked his cigarettes. He freaked out. I remember that day. He was furious. He ran around screaming like a crazy man. My sister, who was 17 years old at the time, said something to him that changed his perspective completely. She said, “How can you tell him smoking is bad for him if you smoke yourself?”.
These days, cancer seems to impact pretty much everyone. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer recently and Gal’s mom, who I loved very much, died from cancer about 8 years ago. For her, cancer was a long battle. She beat it over and over again for many years, until it beat her.
A very close aunt of mine died from cancer, and another aunt is fighting cancer for the third time now. Gal himself had cancer about 5 years ago.
And you know what? Life is not the same. Even if you are fortunate enough to recover, life is not the same anymore. It becomes divided between “before” and “after” the discovery.
For some people, cancer is a wake-up call that makes them embrace life and/or rearrange their priorities. Others drown themselves in self pity and completely let go of life.
Recently, I went to a networking breakfast. It was after some talk by the Australian Government about efficiency at work. They seem to have invested a lot of money in technology to improve efficiency. Unfortunately, they do not seem to feel there is a need to invest in people more than machines.
Let me tell you, this breakfast meeting made me stressed. Unemployment is stressful for people and creating machines to do the jobs of human beings is going to have some negative consequences. I realized that the hope that less and less people will need help managing their feelings though therapy and coaching is disappearing.
I do not know if you know this but in Australia, the number of people who take “sick leave” (or as they call it, a “sicky”) is quite extreme. I have to admit that this really surprised me because as yet, I have never in my life missed work because of sickness.
During a recent presentation, someone asked me to share some tips on how to feel good. In the first post of the series How to Feel Good, I shared the science of endorphins – the feel good hormones. In the second, I covered the science of smiling. In this post, I suggest another great way to feel good – taking time off.
Last year, I took time off from everything (home, work, kids and Gal) and went overseas to spend some time with my family. It was a wonderful reminder for me about why we have take time off to recharge out emotional batteries.
Taking time off from daily life can have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing. It helps us regenerate and start fresh. Sleep is the body’s natural way of giving us time off. It “forces” us to rest so we can function. Did you know that without sleep, we would die? If you want to torture someone, you do not need to hurt them. Just deprive them of sleep for 2-3 night. Just ask any mom!
In over 1,100 posts on this blog, I have covered a lot of topics that lead to happiness. Today, I want to talk a little bit about the flipside of happiness – depression, because depression is a big issue for many families these days.
There are many depressed couples, depressed parents and more and more depressed kids. The most concerning of these are parents who suffer from depression, because they often raise kids that cannot handle life very well.
Some say depression runs in families. That is not surprising because I think if you take a perfectly normal and healthy child and raise them in a house where one or both parents are depressed, they will definitely grow up to be troubled.
Depression is something people do not like talking about. I know many families in which the depressed parent is dragging the whole family down but no one says anything. It is very much like having a parent who is alcoholic or terminally ill. Everyone walks around on eggshells but tries not to say anything. Not always because they are afraid, but often because they have given up trying to speak up.
Media is one of the major contributors to the damaged body images we have in our society. Once, it was only girls, but now we have more and more boys suffering from low body image.
Movies and magazines show celebrities who look tall and slim, with smooth skin at every pose. It is no wonder people spend money on products to try to “fix” themselves. What they do not know is that the photos they see are heavily photo-shopped and that the person they see in the magazine never looked like that.
It seems fitting that we should use the media to fix the damage done by the media. That way, our daughters and sons can see it. Yes, the photo-shopped images are beautiful, but they are not normal.
The tip for today is a very simple way to feel good, instantly – smiling.
The good thing about smiling is that it a two way street – smiling creates a happy feeling, and feeling happy makes you smile. It does not matter where you start – the feeling or the smile. When we experience joy, the muscles in our brain contract and start a positive loop of feeling even more joy. This is not a new science. As early as the 1870s, Charles Darwin first suggested that facial expressions did not just express emotions, but could actually induce them.
Smiling has been studied for years. In 1989, psychologist Robert Zajonc compared the mood of participants asked to make the long “eee” sound (which involves the same muscles as smiling) and those who were asked to make a long “ooo” sound (which involves the same muscles as frowning). Zajonc found that the people who made the “eee” sound felt much better.