Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How hopeful are you?

My husband reads the Wall Street Journal just about every morning. I personally am more a t.v. person and find my morning news is The Today Show in the background as I get the kids off to school and make everyone breakfast. This morning listening to the breaking news about the terrorist attack in Brussels, this was first and foremost in my mind. Trying to make sense of another tragedy, thinking of the families of the people who were killed and also admittedly breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn't happening right here and right now.  Thinking about how my husband spends a huge portion of his time in busy airports living in NJ and working in Chicago I thank God that he is still sitting at the kitchen table today with his morning paper.
He hands me the newspaper and shows me an article titled "An Emotion We Need More of" by Elizabeth Bernstein in the Health and Wellness Section of the WSJ. It's about Hope. She talks about the importance of hope in building resiliency by researcher Dr. Scioli. She discusses presidents who invoke traits that inspire hope. There was a quiz from Dr. Anthony Scioli at Keene State College, Keene, N.H. you could take to find out how much hope you have with five simple questions.

I see myself as an optimist and practice positive psychology practices just about every day so I assumed I would score in the High Hopefulness or perhaps Medium Hopefulness.
I took the quiz and scored a 9.  At the top of "Low Hopefulness".

What happened?

I practice meditating every morning, read positive and uplifting news stories often with my daily subscription to The Optimist and practice gratitude daily with the Fill Your BAG Happy exercise. My career is based on helping others increase optimism and positivity.

So why did I score so low?

I realized that I had been glued to the television coverage of the terrorist attack and was seeing everything through a negative perspective.  Dr. Martin Seligman called this "Learned Helplessness".

Looking at that quiz from a more objective perspective I may have scored somewhere in the Medium to High range, but today was different.  Recently I wrote an article for The Everyday Power blog on how to watch the news without getting depressed and angry and today I became my own example of what NOT to do.

I don't advocate that the thing to do is put your head in the sand and ignore the realities that we are facing in this world. Being realistic and informed is important. Negative emotions and feelings serve a purpose in life to motivate us and help us connect with others. We want to be aware and informed. The key is to find some sort of balance with engaging, positive and solution focused stories.
Recognize your personal level of hope and identify your own ability to focus on the transformative and positive.

Even in today's world, the bright spots are there, we just need to look. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Expectations vs Reality of becoming Mom

How many moms out there had expectation of motherhood that did not match up to the reality? 
I know I sure did.
I had so many romanticized opinions and thoughts about how perfect life would be. 

Then I had kids.

In the March/April issue of The Digest Magazine I talk about those unexpected moment like "bra burn" and mommy guilt and forgiveness. 

Over time I discovered that disconnect between my expectations and reality fed into the mommy guilt that made parenting so much tougher. 

Mom's out there who are feeling the same way, remember that perfection does not need to get in the way of great parenting. You are amazing and don't hear that enough! 

For more tips and stories you can get a copy of my book, Lose that Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom here.