We all face times beyond our control when life doesn’t follow our designs and we’re asked to work with life and not fight, curse or hide from it. When insisting on our way, we can get so tangled in our will that we can’t find or feel the wind of Spirit. During these times—when we fear there is no meaning and it seems there’s nothing holding us up—our will can puff, snap and flap about in a desperate attempt to fill what looms as an empty life.
Creating a personal myth is a fundamental way we find meaning. We are always the protagonist, with supporting characters providing love and assistance and antagonists posing challenges that push us beyond our comfort zones. Rather than narcissism or navel-gazing, the more intimate we become with our own story, the more we realize that everyone has an equally valid and vital narrative in which they are the central character. Understanding that everyone is on their own story journey can help us establish connection and empathy.
True love is not something reserved exclusively for soulmates, couples, children, friends or family. Observations by sages for millennia and by enlightened scientists more recently are increasingly aligned with the point of view articulated by renowned meditation teacher Jack Kornfield that true love and awareness—a sense of universal connectivity and the idea that divinity, or the sacred, is found in all things—are indistinguishable.
The plugged-in, stressed-out world that challenges adults can be even more difficult for teens in the throes of hormones, peer pressure and a selfie culture. Parents can help their children thrive and become empowered individuals by nurturing desirable character traits such as resourcefulness, resilience, perseverance, self-reliance, independence, empathy and social competence.
Child psychologist Michele Borba, Ed.D., of Palm Springs, California, is a former classroom teacher and the mother of three grown children who dispenses advice at MicheleBorba.com/blog.
American fatherhood has evolved considerably in the last 50 years. While dads used to be kept out of the delivery room, today, more than 90 percent of new fathers are present for their children’s birth, reflected in MenCare Advocacy’s State of the Worlds’ Fathers. However, being there early on does not necessarily define the scope of future involvement. Overcoming obstacles that might keep men from being the “high-five” dads they and their family need them to be is key.
For parents serving in the military, some of the biggest barriers to involvement are inevitable and often repeated deployments. Dads returning home often struggle to reestablish both their family role—which changed while they were away—and their relationships with children they haven’t seen for months and who may not even recognize them. Here are practical tips to counter any estrangement.
Many Americans work 50 hours a week or more because they think they’ll get more done and reap the benefits later. However, according to a metastudy published in The Lancet, people that clock a 55-hour week have a 33 percent greater risk of stroke and 13 percent higher risk of developing coronary heart disease than those that maintain a 35- to 40-hour work week. Data from 25 studies that monitored the health of 600,000 people from the U.S., Europe and Australia for up to 8.5 years were analyzed.
Research from the UK University of Surrey has found that witnessing live comedy increases emotional interaction and bonding between the spectators and performer and enhances a general feeling of trust and intimacy among participants through the shared experience.
In her latest book, Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits Of Our Everyday Lives, happiness expert Gretchen Rubin fleshes out the needed details. She maintains that the shift into a happier way of being can be as simple as changing our habits, which she terms the invisible architecture of daily life. Rubin found, “We repeat about 40 percent of our behavior almost daily, so our habits shape our existence and our future. If we change our habits, we change our lives.”
We can start small in sometimes surprising ways that encourage personal, family, workplace and community well-being.
The role of emotional intelligence (EI) in helping to facilitate success and happiness in individual lives has become well accepted. People with high EI tend to share seven habits.
Focus on the positive. While not ignoring bad news, EI people have made a conscious decision to not spend much time and energy focusing on problems. Rather, they look at what’s positive in a situation and seek solutions. They focus on what can be done and what’s within their control.