Inner strength is the resiliency to overcome life’s challenges and find meaning. That ability to look on the bright side and find joy more than getting overcome by fear. That ability to have more self love than self criticism.
Until recently, I thought helping my child develop inner peace was something that only happens over long periods of time. Like saving up for a big trip with pennies.
After studying Buddhism for over a decade, I still find little gems all the time. Recently, I came across some wisdom that gave me an Ah Ha! It gave me insight into how I could start today to help my toddler stay connected to inner peace, joy and strength.
Of course, I need inner strength more than my son does right now. So, this practice is totally for my benefit as well. Which is the big bonus- good for mama and good for baby!
There’s a traditional saying that the mind takes its shape from what it rests upon. The brain takes its shape from what the mind rests upon. If you keep resting your mind on self-criticism, worries, grumbling about others, hurts, and stress, then your brain will be shaped into greater reactivity, vulnerability to anxiety. On the other hand, if you keep resting your mind on good events, pleasant feelings, and your good intentions and qualities, then over time your brain will take a different shape, one with strength and resilience hardwired into it, as well as a realistically optimistic outlook, a positive mood, and a sense of worth.- Rick Hanson
Wow, seems pretty important…and it is!
Here are three daily practices to help you and your kids, develop inner strength from resting upon the positive in life.
1. Appreciation as a daily routine
While driving to school or errands or the park, tell your child why you appreciate him today. Find one thing each day. You can do this starting with an infant. They will feel the positive energy right away. A great example is saying, “When you smiled this morning, it made my heart light with joy. Thank you.” Easy ’cause kids smile so much. Or, “I am grateful you were sweet when petting the dog. The dog loves those pets from you.” It’s easy to be frustrated with toddlers, but more important to appreciate them.
2. Letting the mind rest upon the positive body sensation and feelings
Next take a moment to replay that scene in your mind and feel the feelings of the happiness from the smile or the sweetness with your child and the dog. Let it sink into your heart. Let the feeling pulse through your system. You are giving a moment of space to let your child do the same.
By doing this frequently, as Rick Hanson says, you are allowing the brain to hard wire to greater resilience and a positive mood.
3. Spontaneous, present moment appreciations
Finally, pick something more immediate to appreciate during the day with your child. Stopping to smell the roses really does give way to happiness. Take a moment to focus on a pleasure- the twinkle of a leaf or of snow, the fluffiness of a cloud, the sweetness of a banana, the warmth of a blanket. Notice it and mention it to your child. That’s it. Just you naming it and taking a moment to enjoy it will pave the way for your child to do the same.
With these three practices, you and your kid(s) will develop inner strength while enjoying grater joy, peace and fulfillment. Starting today can make tomorrow a lot brighter.
I’m grateful for moments to read wonderful articles and gain inspiration from them. I appreciate all those who stop and smell the roses along the path of life, to remind me to do the same. And, geez… I love my kid’s bright, radiant smile!
What do you appreciate? I’d love to know.