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These ideas listed below is my first attempt of a handout that goes along with an interactive workshop for families where I live.  The title “Be Happens” is the phrase my 2yr old coined from all the times I say “it happens” when we spill, and me playing “Don’t Worry, Be happy” to relieve my stress. She started to sweetly say “Be happens” whenever we made a mess.

Be Happens*: Enriching Resiliency & Connections between Caregivers & Children

*Tuning into senses, thoughts, feelings, and actions that happen

in any moment within our bodies, minds, & hearts.

Resilience: the ability to cope effectively in the face of stress, adversity, and potentially traumatic experiences.

Stress: anything emotional, mental, physical, or chemical that is prolonged, unpredictable, and overwhelming => Any stress can become traumatic if it continues on unexpressed, unprocessed, and/or misunderstood

Dysregulation: being in a state of STRESS beyond our threshold of tolerance resulting in changes of the chemistry and functioning of our brain/body connection.  Dysregulation => dysfunctional survival behaviours => creates unconscious emotions of fear =>activates flight/flight/freeze mode of reactions.

All negative behavior comes from a state of STRESS andor unmet need.

Emotional Regulation: the ability to experience a feeling, know that the feeling signals a need and then know how to get that need met.

Inconsistent amounts or quality (unique to each individual) of the following vital needs may trigger Stress/Dysregulation:

  1. Nutrition/Hydration
  2. Temperature
  3. Sleep
  4. Level of stimulation (from all senses)
  5. Connection/respectful touch
  6. processing negative thoughts, feelings, toxins

Be Detectives as a family and spy around for what might be triggering you to act out…

Get regulated together by doing the following:

  1. Take Deep breaths
  2. Eat/Drink water
  3. Rest/Sleep/Meditate
  4. Reduce or change stimulation (i.e. adjust temp, turn off electronics, lower noise level, get fresh air and sunlight)
  5. In crease production of happy, calming hormones by doing fun, interactive activities  such as smiling, silly faces, singing, music, hugging, playing games, tickling, dancing., exercising, attend social events, spending special one-on-one with each other
  6. Process negative feelings/thoughts by drawing, acting out, playing, reflective listening, asking open ended questions, identifying/labeling possible feelings, empathize

 Making healthy habits that meet your vital needs will help regulate your body, mind, & heart connections as well as harmonize your thoughts, feelings, actions, and RELATIONSHIPS.

View these links for more info on children’s resilience and stress:

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/attachment-and-development-resilience

http://brainwave.org.nz/wp-content/uploads//Stress-Article-2010.pdf

This is also a synopsis of some highlights I have learned from these amazing people and have peacefully weaved into my life:

Barbara Wetzel http://www.theergonomiccouple.com/

Juli Alvarado http://www.coaching-forlife.com/

Heather Forbes http://www.beyondconsequences.com/

Bryan Post http://www.postinstitute.com/

Bruce Perry http://childtrauma.org/

Randal and Sarah Farrant http://vital-wellbeing.com/ http://vitalmoms.com/

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Cultivate harmony within yourself, and harmony becomes real;
Cultivate harmony within your family, and harmony becomes fertile;
Cultivate harmony within your community, and harmony becomes abundant;
Cultivate harmony within your culture, and harmony becomes enduring;
Cultivate harmony within the world, and harmony becomes ubiquitous.

Live with a person to understand that person;
Live with a family to understand that family;
Live with a community to understand that community;
Live with a culture to understand that culture;
Live with the world to understand the world.

How can I live with the world?
By accepting.

~Lao Tzu

Chapter 54 of  Tao Te Ching

http://www.chinapage.com/gnl.html#00

Thank you Dr. Laura Markham for this very useful post. Dr Laura Markham has since removed this original post I copied and pasted below, but here’s link to an updated version: http://www.ahaparenting.com/_blog/Parenting_Blog/post/How_to_Stay_Calm_When_You’re_Losing_It/

“When our child acts out, or lashes out, it’s natural for us to panic.  We move into “fight, flight or freeze”  and our child looks like the enemy.  We all know whatever we do next won’t serve our child’s growth and healing, but we’re in the grip of strong emotions, and we can’t help ourselves.

Or can we? What if there were three steps that would help you shift back into calm, AND keep your child from getting upset as often?  There are.

“STEP 1:  Get Your Own Emotions Regulated
1. STOP, DROP whatever else you’re doing and BREATHE deeply.
2. Reduce the pressure: Remind yourself that there is no emergency.  No one is dying.
3. Change Your Thoughts: Say a little mantra in your mind:  “She’s acting like a child because she IS a child.  I’m the grown-up here.”
4. Physically release your tension:
Notice where you’re holding tension in your body and shake it out.
Take a deep breath and blow it out.
Make a loud (but nonthreatening) sound.
Get a drink of water.
5. Be Here Now. If you can bring yourself into the present moment, your upset will drop away.  Give yourself permission not to worry about the future or the past. In this moment, what action would be healing?  Anything else can wait.

“Step 2: Shift the Energy
1. Make things emotionally safe. Say “We’re having a hard time, Sweetie. Let’s try a Do-Over.”
2. Empathize. Acknowledge your child’s perspective. “Seems like you want ______. ”
3. Find the common ground. “But I need _______. What can we do?”
4. Help your child get emotionally regulated. Kids usually do this best by crying or raging in the safety of our arms/presence. Breathe your way through this, reminding yourself that afterwards, he will feel safe, connected to you, and cooperative.

“Step 3:  Learn the Lesson
1. Learn. When you’re calm, reflect on what you can learn from what happened.  How can you support yourself to stay more emotionally regulated?  (Allow more time, get more sleep, better organization, fewer commitments, see things from your child’s perspective more?)
2. Teach. Later, when you and your child feel calm and connected, say “We had a hard moment today, didn’t we?  I’m sorry I got upset.  I guess I was worried.  When you _____, I feel ______.  What can both of us do differently next time?”
3. Change. If this is a recurring situation, make a list of possible solutions and start trying them.  Life is too short to endure the same lessons over and over again.

“You won’t remember these steps in the heat of the moment.  Why not print out a little cheat sheet and carry it around with you?  A few months of practice, and you won’t even remember the last time you lost your temper.”

Even though this is the  advice I’d give, I still printed a copy of this to put on my fridge because no matter how well I know this, I still get stressed and forget it in the heat of moment. No human is immune to emotional hijacking. We all can benefit from deep breaths so oxygen can reach all our cells and open more channels to process the information. I’d check out more blog entries http://ahaparenting.com/_blog/parenting_blog and you can sign up for newsletter and daily inspirations from Dr. Laura Markham. I am a huge fan of the books she recommends too.

How gravely ironic that as a society we enforce more regulations

To hold us accountable

All the while sabotaging, depleting

Our own innate resources and regulatory system.

The fear and hate so ingrained

Toxins leach from lives we’ve left behind;

Like the layers of an onion,

The deeper I cut the fumes implore,

“Grieve, for goodness’ sake…

Believe!

Give yourself permission to truly be:

Let go, fear less, LOVE MORE…

                      Be the change you want to see in the world

Be present;

                    a gift to everyone, thing you see…

                                 Starting with me.”

• A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
• An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
• A loss of interest in judging other people.
• A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
• A loss of interest in conflict.
• A loss of the ability to worry.
• Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
• Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
• Frequent attacks of smiling.
• An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Read more about this extraordinary women at http://www.peacepilgrim.com/

Did you read the writing on the wall or are you the one that helped me fall?

When I smiled and listened as a friend, was it your gestures that could not make amends?

Did you help me up when I fell, or laugh and condemn me to hell?

Do you always do what you want or does a surpassing urge forever haunt?

Have you ever found yourself falling yet no one answered your calling?

Do even care to remember my name or is life just one big game?

Maybe you see my quest for peace as a delusion of mind…

Yet for me, it is the most fulfilling life that I will ever find.

…more of my journey, written 4/28/1998

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