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I have done quite a bit of sharing about the challenges and struggles that we go through. Raising little humans is a tough job and then you add the complexities of a disability and it makes it that much more.
For the past few months I have decided to shift my focus. Life is so short, truthfully, and I really want to find the moments of joy in them. I have really put my attention towards gratitude. I have found that on a whole, my stress level has really been reduced. The struggles that we go through can be really challenging and I try to find something to be grateful for, even though it’s hard. Gratitude has been one of my saviours (along with forgiveness and chunking the day into moments).
I started this “gratitude journey” because my happiness is up to me and how I react and respond to the things in my life is my responsibility. So I started this by doing research. I watched documentaries, read other people’s blogs, talked with others and took out a whack load of books from the library. One book that has stood out for me was Practice Positive by Dawn Carson. This book is not daunting to read and can be read a bit at a time, which is important to me. (There’s not much extra time in a day.) I even jumped around to sections that I was more interested in.
There are defiantly times and days in our life that go better than others. Each of our children have their own patterns and seasons of behaviour, and they are never in sync with each other. Someone is always having a moment that they need help navigating or some crisis is coming up.
Even within the turmoil, I really focus on what is going well. A little silver lining in the black cloud. One of the lessons that I have learned through this process is that what you focus on becomes your reality.
If I stay focused on what my children couldn’t do or how the day isn’t going well, the more that these things become bigger in my mind. It can be overwhelming, but just a small shift to see one good thing starts to bring my thoughts to a more positive outlook. This is definitely a mental game and becoming more mindful takes some practice, but can be done.
I break the day up into moments. Moments are much more manageable. If this moment didn’t go well, that’s ok, it’s now done. There is always the opportunity to improve the next one. Lots of times I have to figure out what is triggering me, why am I getting upset about ______________? I try to counteract the negative thoughts.
I make an effort to find something good in the negative. For example, if my child is insulting me and being rude, I block out the words and think to myself, “Thank goodness this child has the ability to talk because, in all honesty, how much more difficult would this be if they couldn’t speak.” That behaviour would probably be worse and I would have to figure out what’s going on in their head. Since they can talk, it’s much easier to figure out what they are needing.
Some ways to keep the day moving in a more positive way are:
- find something good in the negative (even if it’s the ability to breath or you woke up this morning, there’s always something to be thankful for)
- practice positive
- change your mindset counteract the negative thoughts and pair it with a positive
- find what calms you – self care is important
- go for a walk
- play a game
- take a longer bathroom break
- defuse essential oils
- chunk life in to more manageable moments. Do let this moment ruin the whole day.
- collaborate with others, share stories
- find even a small thing to be grateful for and keep that in the front of your mind.
I realize that life moments are far from perfect. There are some pretty challenging things that come up. The more you pursue and focus on the positive things, the more good you will see.