How we feel is typically the gauge for our quality of life. How we feel emotionally, physically, psychologically, intellectually, spiritually is typically the way we determine whether we have a high, medium or low quality of life. Feeling good? Feeling happy? Feeling loved? Feeling compassionate? Feeling content? Feeling peaceful? Feeling joyful? Feeling grateful? Feeling angry? Feeling sad? Feeling worthless? Feeling miserable, depressed, anxious, stressed? And, typically we think it makes sense that to feel good, happy, loved, accepted, and so on, about our life, we need to have something change…something different. Perhaps it is more money, a different house, job, friends, family, status, different furniture, hair, clothes, a different or new spouse or partner, a different body or different health.
Well, what if I told you, it’s just the opposite. What if I told you that when you decide and choose to feel different about the life you have right now, the quality of your life will be enhanced beyond belief. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself.
How can that be so? Well, what’s true is that the way you feel affects your thoughts, and the way you think and feel affects the quality of life you are having right now. It’s okay to want and have whatever you desire, it’s just that you will experience brief pleasure from that person, place, or thing if you feel and believe you need it. Soon, the pleasure will wane and you will have to go after the next pleasure and the next to sustain even a little pleasure.
The key is to find pleasure in peace and contentment exactly where you are, no matter where you are or who you’re with or what you’re doing. And you can find that in your everyday life without changing anything. Though I can assure you, your life will begin to change for the better as you begin to feel peace and contentment right now, without changing a thing.
The first step to enhancing the quality of your life is in making a simple decision to do so. Yep, the first step is to make a choice to enhance the quality of your life … to transform your life. Once you do that, you are ready to take the second step. The second step is to learn how to transform your life and have the quality of life you dream of. Having almost a lifetime of seeking and experiences in looking for the “how” myself, I can show you what I have found to be the simplest and most effective skills and path to how you can quickly and simply enhance the quality of your life. In fact, it may seem so simple, you will think it must be more complicated than this. Also, the how is different from the what. Many teachers will tell you to just “love what is” or “feel all your feelings” or “think positively”, however, that is the what rather than the how. If the “how” could be explained in words or writing, bottled, or made into a video, I would do that. However, words, pill, nor video could possibly take into consideration your particular situation right now and what would serve you best. That is done through talking with you directly and responding to what is going on for you. That is why I have developed simple processes, skills and practices to teach and coach you through, so you can move in the direction of enhancing the quality of your life through increasing the love, joy, peace and contentment that is available for you to experience in your life right now.
The third step in enhancing the quality of your life is in practicing the skills you learn in your everyday life; patiently and gradually shifting the way you perceive and respond in all your relationships. Being willing to love and accept yourself through this process naturally grows the seed of love and acceptance and compassion for others in their struggles, as well. Enhancing the quality of your life will be as easy as using these simple skills whenever you choose to feel peace rather than anxiety, love rather than fear, and content rather than needy. Nothing need change, except you. And once you change, everything will change to reflect that change in you!
The most successful “Back-to-School” routines include the whole family. According to the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology,
“During infancy and preschool, children are healthier and their behavior is better regulated when there are predictable routines in the family, according to the review. Children with regular bedtime routines get to sleep sooner and wake up less frequently during the night than those with less regular routines, according to one study. Regular routines in the household, according to the review, shorten bouts of respiratory infections in infants and improve preschool children's health. Other studies examined whether the effects of regular routines are restricted to two-parents families. ‘The presence of family routines under conditions of single parenting, divorce, and remarried households may actually protect children from the proposed risks associated with being raised in nontraditional families’” (Fiese).
Imagine, for a moment, that you come home and you are doing your best to write an important letter or email and people are fighting and/or watching T.V. Maybe someone is listening to loud music in another room. How do you feel about writing a letter or email? What do you notice? Is it easy or challenging for you to sit down and write that letter or email?
Now, imagine that you come home and you have an important letter or email to write and there is calming acoustic guitar or piano music playing from a Spotify playlist through a small inexpensive speaker attached to a phone, (e.g. an inexpensive calming influence), someone is sitting at the dining room table writing emails on a computer or on their phone, or reading, studying, or making a snack before sitting down to do these activities and invites you to have some healthy snack together. There is peace and calm in the home. Notice how you feel. How easy is it for you to sit down and write the email or letter?
Often, adults expect children to “do as I say, not as I do”. However, this attitude often leads to conflict and battles between adults and children. There is a simple reason for this being so. Children instinctively know that it is in their best interest for survival to reflect their environment. Children learn quickly by simply reflecting the feelings, thoughts, words and deeds in their environment. That means that children who have adults who are consistent in feeling, thought, word and deed with what they are asking of the child, learn quicker and with more ease. There is less conflict both internally and, therefore, externally for the child. Conflict is resistance. And resistance is like driving with one foot on the gas pedal and one on the brake. We go forward slower and with much more effort. So, children who have adults in their environment who are feeling, thinking, speaking and doing with the child or doing what is being asked of the child find it much easier to do that as well. To realize that everyone is affecting everyone in feeling, thought, word, and deed is helpful. It is an attitude of “feel as I feel, think as I think, say as I say, and do as I do”. The image I have of this is one of a boomerang.
So when you ask a child to behave or do a new routine or any routine; the easiest, fastest and most harmonious path is the path with least resistance. This means to start doing that behavior or a similar behavior with them. This includes the thoughts, feelings, words, and deed. So if you hate (though and feeling) to do housework, yard work, learn, read, write, etc. and you voice this (word), and you never do this with your child (deed); chances are your child will also hate that behavior, state this or similar, and refuse or resist doing that behavior. It really is as simple as that…almost. For example: If you hate doing housework and never voice that and tell the child, “I need help doing the housework”, the child will likely grow up hating housework or at least feeling a lot of resistance to doing housework and try to find others to help or do the housework.
If you want to start an earlier bedtime, start doing the things to get ready for bed with your child or as your child does, depending on the age. If you’ve never done this before and a child is older, it’s never too late. If you want your child to go to bed and fall asleep, lie down on the bed and read a story or ask about their day and listen to the entire day unraveled before you or whatever details stand out without judgement. You may even fall asleep while reading the story and that’s okay. If you want a child to study, create a relaxed study atmosphere of quiet or calming music without lyrics. With pre-teens and teens who are used to listening to other types of music during study time, this may require a transition. Assure them that this is study music time and there will be time for the other music when study time is over. Then settle in and do similar or same activities within proximity, such as the dining room table. If the child prefers to stay in the bedroom and study, go to your bedroom or another room and do a similar activity. Stay focused and read, write, study, and answer the child’s questions if asked, remain quiet if the child is quiet. When you don’t know the answer, admit it and suggest ways to find out the answer. If you want the child to take out the garbage, sweep, weed, mow the lawn or vacuum, do laundry, start by doing the activity together and allow the child to gradually let go of doing tasks with you and take it on themselves.
We wouldn’t think about how much we hate (feeling) skiing or hiking or softball or some recreational activity (thought), and tell (word) a child how much we hate it while also never doing it and then tell the child to go do that which we hate and never do, right? Mahatma Ghandi said he could not ask or advise someone to do that which he had not already done within himself. This is a simple way to remind us when we experience resistance from a child, that cooperation begins within us.