Sunday, September 13, 2009

Parents Worry!

Most people worry sometimes. ALL of us who are parents, worry - a lot! It is part and parcel of being a parent – to worry about our children. When they start a new school, we worry. When they begin going off to parties on their own, we worry. When they make choices we do not approve of or understand, we worry. When they grow up and move away to run their own lives we continue to worry, although it feels a little different, because we no longer have any control, not even an illusion of control! :-)

Worry is what I call a ‘what if?’ emotion. Like anxiety, fear, concern, eagerness, hope, and expectancy, it anticipates and attempts to predict the future. The imagination, prone to run rampant, joins in and, if unchecked, feeds the emotion as various scenarios are envisioned. The best thing to do when you catch yourself in the throes of this experience is to say to yourself “Time Out!” Check where in your body you are holding the tension that has been created – and release it! I for one, tend to hold worry in my jaw and neck, so a good old roll of the head and shoulders, and an opening and closing of my mouth helps to loosen things up! With the tension released I take three deep breaths, focusing all my attention in the area of my heart, feeling my torso expand and contract around the heart as I breathe. I suggest you try it – it feels exceedingly pleasant!

When you really feel fully present & centered in your body, breathing calmly, visualize your child perfectly safe, happy, and learning what (s)he is meant to learn. Know that your child has his or her own journey to make through life and trust that you have given them the necessary values and skills to navigate through it – and whatever that looks like, don’t judge it but rather know that it is perfect.

Quite frankly, much as we do it, worry does nothing to help with anything. Try instead to “send” your child all your love and just be there, living your own life as best you can, but always in a loving state for them. That is the best support you can possibly give your child – and guess what? I’m telling myself this now, as my (very) adult daughter travels across another continent. As a matter of fact, I find myself using this process on quite a regular basis!

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