Playtimes April 2014 - page 22

(rated PG)
Spending just a few minutes of your day thinking
about what makes you happy can make all the
difference, writes
Orla Breeze
Put a spring
in your step
h, spring! A time of new
beginnings, new growth,
rebirth and a clear invitation
to make some changes. The
good kind that make you feel great
about yourself; not the other kind that
make you want to stay in bed with the
covers over your head and the door
firmly shut. You know what I mean. And
so, in the spirit of new beginnings and
fresh approaches, I’m going to suggest
something new you can try on your
parenting journey. A small change that
can be incorporated easily into your daily
life whilst changing you and your family
for the better. Allow me to elaborate.
For many years – possibly since
Adam and Eve came to the realisation
that their newborn’s arrival was
more stressful than their banishment from
the Garden of Eden – we’ve all pretty
much followed the same approach
to parenting. Sure, we differ in our
methods and rules, but overall, we’ve
all been doing the same thing: focusing
on one side of the relationship almost
to the exclusion of the other. And the
truth is it simply doesn’t work. Yes, we
muddle through the days and weeks,
but ultimately we pay the price for
ignoring ourselves. It’s the same with any
relationship. If in our adult relationships
we focus solely on the other person, it
really doesn’t end well for either party.
We reach a point where we simply can’t
keep giving without any return. And, as
adults, we either make changes or walk
The problem, of course, with the
parenting relationship is that we
walk away. We’re committed for life, so
if we don’t make changes, the outcome
can be a box full of stress, exhaustion and
chaos wrapped in a general feeling of
So, here’s where the change comes
in. How about we make an adjustment
and focus not just on our children, but on
ourselves too? Now, I know what you’re
thinking: “I’d love to focus on myself, but
I simply don’t have time! Children require
a lot of attention!” Which, of course, they
do. I have three of my own who take up
vast chunks of time every single day! But
the beauty of this new approach is that
it takes just a few minutes a day. Five, to
be precise.
So, here it is: every morning when
you’re having a shower, simply spend
five minutes focusing on everything in
your life that brings you joy – that deep-
down unmistakable feeling of happiness.
Maybe you’ll start with your baby or
children and all the sweetness and light
they bring and then move on to your
partner and all the positives he or she
brings to you. Maybe then your friends
will come to mind, followed by all the
things in your life that make you happy,
like your car or your clothes or whatever.
And if it turns out that you’re at a place in
your life where it’s
the material things
that give you joy, that’s OK. As long as
it makes you happy, then celebrate it.
You see, as human beings, we have
a terrible habit of focusing on what’s
wrong. We effectively train ourselves to
automatically see the problems in our
lives. But when we switch our focus to
the positives for even five minutes, things
begin to change. I promise.
But why take my word for it? Try it for
yourself. For the next 30 days, I challenge
you to simply spend five minutes of your
time focusing on your own joy. Just five
minutes. Before you know it, you could
find yourself walking with a new
in your step.
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