How to Help Your Kids Cope with Peer Pressure

“Peer pressure is pressure you put on yourself to fit in.” – Jeff Moore

What Is Peer Pressure?

Any type of direct influence that a peer group makes on a person is considered peer pressure. This influence can be established both verbally and through nonverbal communication. It can also be achieved through direct social interaction or digitally through social media, for example. The results of this influence are changes in behavior, values, and/or attitudes a person might make in order to conform and satisfy the expectations of their peers.

We’re all susceptible to peer pressure but children are particularly vulnerable to it. So it makes sense that this is a particularly burning issue for parents. Perhaps it might help if we explored this phenomenon from a little broader perspective.

Our Coaches work with students to help them develop self-confidence, resilience, communication skills, and coping strategies that will allow them to resist peer pressure. You can click here to schedule a free consultation!

Is It Always a Bad Thing?

We’re used to hearing about peer pressure in a negative sense because any kind of pressure is inherently negative. Still, peer influence can be positive in cases where it leads to improvements in behavior or reinforces good attitudes and values. Peers can affect each other positively in two ways – through encouraging or rewarding good forms of behavior:

Example 01
“Let’s organize a study group so we’re better prepared for the math quiz!”

Or by discouraging or punishing bad ones.

Example 02
“Pick up your candy wrapper! You shouldn’t litter, it’s bad for the environment.”

Peer pressure or influence can also be much more complex and can sometimes produce both positive and negative effects. Let’s say for instance your child wants to take up soccer because a couple of their friends are already on the team. Knowing about all the benefits that sports have for children and their development, you decide to support their decision. But youth athletes face a whole spectrum of unique challenges. So even though joining the school soccer team brings some positives, there’s also a chance it might have negative effects on other things. Such as if they start falling behind on their homework or feel more stressed due to their schedule filling up.

Bottom line is that peer influence is a normal aspect of social dynamics and it’s not inherently good or bad. Now that we have a better idea of what we should be looking out for, let’s consider what we can do to help kids become more resilient to negative forms of peer pressure.

What Makes Children Particularly Vulnerable to Peer Pressure?

As a parent, you are trying to instill a set of values in your child. You teach them good manners and try to help them develop useful habits. Essentially, what you’re really helping them build and internalize is a moral code – a sense of what they should or shouldn’t do. However, parents are not sole-contributors to a child’s upbringing. Turns out their friends and peers get a say as well!

Children, much like adults, want to fit in and be approved of by their peers. They’re scared of being rejected, isolated, and made fun of. What they don’t have are the necessary skills to cope, persevere, and not give in to pressure. This is where you come in.

Four Ways to Help Your Kids Cope with Peer Pressure

Now that we’ve narrowed down what we’re trying to do, let’s explore some of the best practices towards reaching our goal. These are the top four ways to help children become more resilient to peer pressure.

1. Talk to them About Peer Pressure

Teaching them about the concept of peer pressure should help them recognize it and make it easier for them to reject. You can use examples from your own life and not just from your childhood. Letting them know about your adult peer-pressure challenges will give them a new perspective. It will show them it’s not just a “kid” thing and it’s something that you can both relate to.

There’s a good chance your children understand the dynamics even though they don’t know about the concept. For most, conforming to peer pressure leaves you feeling powerless – that there wasn’t anything you could have done. That’s why role-playing can be an effective teaching tool, where you can allow them to practice different ways of taking a stand.

2. Help them Build Confidence

Saying “no” to people and risking disappointing or alienating them is not easy. It takes courage, and that’s usually drawn from being confident and believing in yourself. By helping your children develop self-confidence, you’re providing them with the tools to stand up for what they believe in and resist peer pressure.

You can boost your child’s confidence by using positive reinforcement, but there’s more to that than simply praising them all the time. In fact, if your praise is inappropriate or dishonest, it can actually hurt their self-esteem.

In conclusion, positive reinforcement is important but should come from multiple sources. That’s why you should encourage your children to make decisions and do things by themselves. The goal is for them to learn to understand they can actively affect the world and the people around them. Surrendering to peer pressure is purely reactive.

Peer pressure quote by Bruce Lee

3. Encourage them to Broaden their Network of Friends

The effects of peer pressure are stronger the more you think you have to lose. So let’s say that your child’s social network consists of friends from one single group. Maybe they’re all from the same class or they all learn karate at the same dojo. The amount of peer pressure the child will feel will be much greater because if they’re rejected, a lot is at stake. They’re actually risking having no friends at all.

That’s why you should always keep an open mind if your child wants to try out different things. Get behind their desire to take up dancing, or join the drama club, or even learn a new language! Having friends from different areas of life will make it easier for them to stand their ground.

4. Offer to Be their Lifeline

A lot of the time, children succumb to peer pressure because they don’t feel there’s anything else they can do. Let your child know that they can always count on you if they need a way out. If they’re ever in a situation where they just want to pick up and leave, they should be fully aware that you’ll be there to come and get them. You can also pre-agree on an excuse in case your child is worried about saving face.

Additional Tips on How to Approach the Topic

As you can see, there are lots of things that you can do as a parent. However, in order to really be successful, you need to have the right approach.

Acknowledge and reference your own worries, thoughts, and emotions. Don’t just hide behind such classic lines as, “If Jimmy jumped off a bridge, would you?” Children usually find parenting cliches particularly annoying and even insulting. You don’t want to alienate your kids when you’re actually trying to teach them something.

It’s also safe to say that you should balance your efforts and pick your battles. You shouldn’t be pressing them on everything because there’s only so much they can tolerate. And if you keep focusing on the little things, you’ll be diminishing the significance of the really important ones.

Lastly, try to keep an open mind. Don’t let anxiety cause you to overreact and refrain from making accusations or assumptions drawn from fear. Being able to put yourself in their shoes will give you a better chance of saying things that actually resonate with them. They need to really feel that it’s coming from a good place.

It’s not going to be easy, but you have to try. These types of conversations can be a solid foundation for your future relationship and it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

Gratitude Through the Ages: A Thanksgiving Story

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent to all others.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

Can you remember a moment in your life when you felt really bad because you forgot to say thank you to someone? Or do you remember being really angry with someone because they didn’t seem to show any appreciation for your kind gesture or lending a helping hand?

The negative emotions that arise as a result of both of these situations are not always necessarily intense, but the fact that they are there indicates how much we actually value expressing and receiving gratitude.

“What Do We Say?”

Gratitude is a fundamental aspect of human relationships, something that we inherited. Studies of animals that speak of reciprocal altruism, along with neurological and developmental studies of humans, suggest that gratitude is an inherent characteristic of our human experience.

It’s also moderated by society and we have very clear means of passing it on from generation to generation. It is usually instilled very early, primarily through our parents. You can probably remember a time from your childhood when you were firmly guided to say “thank you” when you received a gift or any other form of generosity. You can also probably recall how upset your parents would get if you forgot to say it.

And it’s not just about having good manners. Research suggests that positive reactions to receiving a benefit are not simple expressions of momentary happiness. Rather, they’re a means to spark the desire to give back to others, the community, and the world. Data from this research also shows that gratitude and social integration go hand in hand. Gratitude helps us fit in and build strong relationships.

Expressing gratitude is just one of the techniques you can use to improve mental health and well-being.
If you would like to learn more, click here to schedule a free talk with one of our coaches!

Aside from conveying the value of being grateful through education and social interaction, we also rely on yearly group activities based on gratitude which strengthen its place in human culture.

Using Customs to Preserve a Culture of Gratitude

For centuries, humans have engaged in festivals based on expressing gratitude. They are popular all over the world and in different cultures, these customs take on different forms. In Germany, they celebrate Erntedankfest. The people of Japan celebrate Kinro Kansha no Hi or the Labor Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is a monumental part of American culture. It’s a time when we do our best to bring out the good in ourselves and others. There’s a reason why Thanksgiving has remained such an important event in our society. Most likely, it’s because it resonates with something very deep and meaningful to all of us. The message goes far beyond its pilgrim origins and it help us remember the importance of appreciating what we have.

Gratitude quote by Dalai Lama

A Modern Day Thanksgiving: Taking the Good with the Bad

Today’s Thanksgiving is a rich blend of various traditions centered around a very simple idea – sharing a delicious feast with friends and family combined with the ritual of taking turns in talking about what we’re grateful for. And sometimes, that simple practice is all it takes to bring out the best in us. It’s not the parade, it’s not the football, it’s not the pardoning of the turkey. They’re all good fun but it’s the expression of gratitude that can give you that honest, warm and fuzzy feeling.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is a wonderful thing but getting into it isn’t easy for everyone. Some consider that planning a big dinner is too stressful, while others simply aren’t huge fans of family gatherings. Lots of us have a pretty hard time during the holidays and are dealing with issues like loneliness, anxiety, depression… It’s not easy to feel thankful or give thanks when you’re feeling down.

In the end, it might be just too much to ask from a holiday. This celebration of gratitude comes only once a year, but all the stuff that makes it hard to embrace the holiday spirit can happen any day of the year.

A Thanksgiving Gratitude Experiment from Nobel

This year, why not experiment with being grateful throughout the day? Way before you start stressing out on whether or not you have enough seating in the house or whether everyone will be able to make it. Hours before you start doubting your cranberry sauce or worry if you’re going to end up stuck in traffic. Before and in between these challenges, make time to actively show appreciation for the little things.

Being grateful takes effort. If you’re lacking inspiration just think about the folks who are working on Thanksgiving, helping everyone else enjoy their holiday to the fullest. Hey, wait a minute! You might be one of those people! If you are – please know that you’re awesome!

And think about all the people who might have contributed to your Thanksgiving dinner without expecting anything in return. People you’ve never met. Think about the sweet old lady from Wisconsin who was kind enough to share her family recipe with the world and helped you knock this year’s stuffing out of the park!

Thanksgiving is a reminder to take a step back and shift our attention to the things that mean the most to us. If we get caught up by small, irrelevant issues that distract us from the bigger picture it makes it no different than any other day of the year. Instead, we invite you to do the exact opposite and take a piece of that Thanksgiving Day spirit into the next day… And the day after that one… And the one after that…

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

Happy Thanksgiving from the Nobel Family!

4 Warning Signs Your Child May Need A Tutor

While declining grades are a good indication your child may need a tutor, there are far more subtle signs that may help you address this issue earlier and enable you to help them solve the problem well before their grades go down.

1. They’re not mentioning schoolwork

If your child used to tell you about all the things they’ve been studying at school, the tests they were taking, how their homework was going, but then suddenly stopped doing so, chances are, something is wrong, and it may be a couple of things.

Assuming this trend is happening in other areas of their life, too –  they don’t talk about their friends, their plans etc., chances are the problem is bigger than just the grades. They may be experiencing bullying at school, or may be feeling down for some other reason (love problems are a common cause of us not feeling like talking!)

But if you notice they’re just as talkative as they used to be about everything else BUT school – they are probably struggling and feeling frustrated and embarrassed because of it. You can sit them down and tell them that if they are struggling with a certain subject or more, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s a normal part of education. The issue can be solved by going to a tutor, especially if the tutor pays attention to the student’s personal struggles, too, rather than just the math equations – and that’s exactly what Nobel tutors do.

 

 

  1. They have issues eating and/or sleeping.

If your child is younger, they may even regress to bed-wetting if they’re feeling especially anxious. If they’re older, this will probably come out as inability to fall asleep or sleeping longer than usual and/or changing their eating habits (it also works both ways – either eating much less or much more than before).

This may well mean there’s a larger issue going on which doesn’t necessarily involve only their grades, so you need to examine other possibilities, too. However, absent any other issues, if sign #3 is also present, there’s a big chance they’re struggling with school.

  1. They take a lot longer to finish their homework

If your child used to finish their homework in, say, an hour, but now they’re consistently taking twice as long, you can be pretty sure they need extra help. Once again, you should talk to them about it, and if they agree, maybe try to help them as much as you can, given you have the time. However, if the homework issues are becoming so severe that they hardly have any free time once they’re done, and you can see they’re struggling and ending up frustrated – our advice is to go for a tutor.

  1. Their behavior at school is changing.

If your child used to be a “nice kid” – never acting out, respecting their teachers and peers, but has suddenly flipped the script, it means something is definitely wrong.

They may be trying to get your attention and point to the issues they’ve been having. Another reason may be that they’re trying to divert attention from their grades to their behavior. There is a third option – they may be feeling frustrated due to their struggles, which may cause them to act impatient and even aggressive. In any case, it’s quite possible they’re struggling with the school curriculum and don’t know how to talk to you about it. The best thing to do is have an open conversation with both their teacher and them to get the full story and understand what each of you can do to help solve this issue.

Conclusion

Finding a tutor once your child’s grades have already started slipping will still help, but it will take a lot longer for them to get back on track.

As always, it’s better to react as soon as you notice the changes we discussed. That way, both you and your child will be spending less time angry and frustrated, AND it will be easier for them to catch up.

However, if you realize there’s a bigger underlying issue once you talk to them about this, don’t hesitate to book a FREE consultation with one of our Coaches. We are here to help.

School Routine: Step By Step Guide for Helping Kids Fall Back Into It

You know how it goes. It’s summer, so you let your kids unwind. They live a carefree life going to bed later than usual, getting up later than school would ever allow them, and playing far more than they usually have time for.

But then, before you know it, it’s September, and those same kids need to fall back into the routine of getting up at a certain time, spending hours sitting still, coming home to do homework, and going to bed at a decent hour so they can get enough rest for the next day.

Should be simple, right?

But you and I both know things don’t just click back so easily. It takes time, and it can turn into a frustrating few weeks unless you approach it the right way – as a family.

3 Steps To Re-Establish School Routine

Step 1: Scroller, Interrupted – Instilling More Awareness About Screen Time

During summer (especially if you have teenagers!), everything is so instagrammable, isn’t it? The sunsets, the beach, the endless sleepovers with their clique… But now that there are classes to attend and homework to do, the habit of hanging around on social media needs to take a step back.

You probably know this is all true, but you’re also thinking – Yikes! How in the world am I going to limit them without provoking an angry reaction?

Chances are, you’re not – and that’s okay. They’ll need some time to adjust, but as long as you approach it the right way and explain why you’re doing it, all will be well.

Start by pointing out that you’re not trying to punish them – it’s merely a precaution. It’s not that you don’t trust their abilities, either, but you know how addictive scrolling can get, and you want to make a pact – together. When they’re studying, their phone will be away from them so they don’t get tempted. If your kid is more independent, you can even agree on a number, say – one hour of social media a day, and they get to choose how they’ll spend that time and when.

Just make sure you’re following your own advice –  hence the TOGETHER part! If they see you glued to your phone while you’re trying to limit them, they’re far less likely to be following your advice – or forgiving you for inflicting such horrendous rules on them!

Step 2: Early to Bed, Early to Rise…

… Makes a kid still slightly tired, but far more likely to have enough time to finish everything in the morning! This should be a set part of your children’s routine, too – and the best way to decide their bedtime is to figure out when they get up and how much sleep they need. For younger kids, it should be between 10 and 11 hours, while teenagers can get away with 8.

It’s also important to make sure they’re not using their phone/laptop right before bed. If they are, chances are they’ll find it much more difficult to fall asleep.

Speaking of falling asleep, the easiest way to do that is to have a fixed pre-bed routine. It can be – read one chapter of a book they like, brush their teeth, get into their pajamas, or anything else they do regularly (that doesn’t consist of screens!). Make sure you also have your own routine. Don’t let them catch you sitting in the living room in your pajamas, scrolling through Halloween treat ideas. As with anything kid-related, parents should serve as role models, rather than an evil Skeletor, hating them and imposing rules all the time!

Mornings are an important part of your overall family routine, too – and the screen rule should be applied then, as well. Delaying screen time as much as possible in the morning and even using an actual alarm clock instead of the one on the phone can make the process of waking up much easier!

However, your mornings don’t have to all be exactly the same – they can be tweaked a bit. For example, take turns. You can make breakfast on Mondays, your significant other on Tuesdays, your older kid on Wednesdays… Breakfast is a great way to instill some sense of autonomy in children.  Give them freedom, try not to be too harsh with the feedback, and watch them grow!

And here’s a difficult thing to ask of them – no snoozing!! They should be getting up at the same time every day, doing the same things – get dressed, brush teeth, have breakfast (or the other way around – we’re all different!), maybe even walk or feed the dog if that’s their responsibility. If they move their getting-up time, the rest of the routine is at risk.  They’ll rush everything, yell “I don’t have time for breakfast, love you, mom!” and then be straight out the door, leaving your routine hanging by a thread.

Step 3: Homework – The Final Frontier

That’s your final challenge right there! The rest they were already doing – although not timely – even before school. But now that homework’s here, you’re bound to be hearing the usual. 

“I’ll do it before bed.”

“I’ll be at John’s after school. I’ll do it when I get back!”

“Mom, that’s for Friday – it’s only Tuesday!”

Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever heard any version of these. Of course you have – who would rather be dealing with calculus instead of going to the movies with friends?!

Difficult as it may be for them, they should be putting homework first – that will serve them much more than they can understand… So help them understand.

Let them know that’s the way they’re building a work ethic; they’ll be avoiding the anxiety that comes with procrastination; finally, they won’t have H O M E W O R K hanging over their heads wherever they go, whatever they do. No guilt, no worries, only responsibility and freedom (who knew the two complemented each other so well?)

 

But we have to say yet again – you are their biggest role model. If you’re avoiding going to the doctor’s or cleaning the house, they’ll see you as a hypocrite for that whole homework story. So, be an example, set some limits, and watch everything fall into place.

Why does it matter anyway?

Routine isn’t just important for your kid’s grades. It helps them develop their executive function – the brain’s CEO that knows how to prioritize, solve problems, think critically … All of which are hugely important for their future.

Our bonus advice is: don’t let vacation ruin their sense of routine and responsibility completely. This isn’t to say they can’t ever rest or have some free time! – but some structure is always good. That way, not only will they not fall behind once school starts, but they’ll develop great time-management skills, something they could really use in the future.

 

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Sources:

https://source.colostate.edu/back-to-school-tips-for-helping-children-return-to-the-routine/

https://psychcentral.com/lib/back-to-school-back-to-routines/

https://childdevelopmentinfo.com/holiday-seasonal-family/back-to-school-tips/#gs.0nly9v

https://www.bustle.com/articles/107991-18-back-to-school-memes-that-tell-it-how-it-is-even-if-thats-not-how-you-want

https://www.buzzfeed.com/mccarricksean/most-inspiring-skeletor-quotes

http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/35xb8r

 

 

Career Coaching Will Change Your Life. Here’s How

Maya B. is a Life and Career Coach at Nobel Coaching & Tutoring. Here she explains the basics of career and business coaching, the role of the career coach and how you can benefit from hiring one, and also shares her personal experiences.

 

Q: What does a Career Coach do?

M: At the beginning of the coach-client relationship, the coach works with the client to set goals and define how to measure them. This is important because at some point we, both client and coach, have to be sure we’ve achieved those goals.

Apart from that, the role of the career coach is to regulate the whole process, to make sure that the goal isn’t going to be harmful for the client. For example, if a client is working extremely hard and is suffering signs of burnout syndrome, the coach isn’t going to accept any goal that pushes them into working even harder and burning out even further.

Also, the coach creates a safe, supportive environment for the client.

 

Q: How does the Career Coach do that? 

M: When we want to develop or work on something, we usually have some blind spots, some kind of magic circle we tend to stick to. The role of the career coach is to get you out of this magic circle and to point out those blind spots. How does the coach do that? By asking a lot of questionsquestions that you haven’t asked yourself.

 

Q: Can someone’s Career Coach also be a Life Coach, or should the two roles be kept separate?

M: Our work life is an integral part of our everyday lives and it’s not really easy to put a clear border between the two. Accordingly, there’s no need to make it a different process; it would be a pretty artificial thing to do.

Also, it can be very difficult  to work with two coaches at once – when you’re dealing with something so interconnected, it should be with one person.

Many career coaches have experience in life coaching. And this is what you should be looking for – somebody who can help you with both.

 

Q: What are the benefits of Career Coaching?

M: There are many different benefits, but they always depend on the goal you’re working towards.

We often have clients who want to develop their own business, so we’re going to provide support for that. Then, we have clients who want to make a change and they’re worried about it, so we help with that. We also have people who just want to advance and move up to a higher position in their company, and so we analyze what’s happening in the company and with this person and help them align the two.

Sometimes it ends up with the client deciding to leave the job they had. Because the only way that you come to the realization that you’ve made the wrong career choice or you chose the wrong company is to start asking searching questions.

ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS WITH MAYA!

 

Q: Who can benefit from Career Coaching?

M: Basically, everyone who works. Anyone who wants to work on their professional life, on work-life balance, soft skills, or to make some changes in their career.

However, you don’t even have to be currently working! Especially if you’re job hunting, if you’re in between careers, or if you’re a young professional who’s trying to figure out what you want to do. Even if you’re a student and you just want to see what your major subjects should be. This is also work and where a career coach can provide a lot of support.

I’ve also worked with a housewife who wanted to start a career. She’d spent the majority of her life working in the home and taking care of her kids. Then, at some point, she just wanted to examine her options.

 

 Q: So anyone who needs advice, from student to CEO, can benefit from working with a Career Coach?

M: Yes, that’s true. However, I wouldn’t say advice, because that could be misleading. The career coaching process is about offering support for the client. This means clients are going to set their own goals and they are going to work on that. It’s not like somebody comes to a session and just gets a lot of advice.

 

Q: Does a Career Coach tell people what to do and why?

M: If we did that, it would imply that the career coach had a position of greater importance than the client and that’s not true – it’s a relationship of equals. So the answer is no.

I, as a career coach, offer support and help where I really can help, which means that I’m more knowledgeable than the client in certain areas. Still, the client is the one who does all the work and makes all the decisions. We’re often faced with a client who’s come to get a decision from us. But it’s your life and it’s your work – you can’t count on the coach to make it for you. You have to learn to make decisions for yourself.

 

Q: When is the right time to get a Career Coach?

M: Sometimes people wait until the problem becomes overwhelming, because of some perceived stigma. But the coaching process is pretty much straightforward and can really help overcome many challenges you have in your life. Accordingly, you shouldn’t wait until the problem becomes too big and too stressful. We can work best when we have the greatest area to work on, which means you should consult a career coach as soon as you notice something that you want to change.

Also, the coach can help even if you don’t have any specific problems but simply want to achieve some kind of advancement in your work life.

 

Q: What are the advantages of hiring a Nobel Coaching & Tutoring Career Coach?

M: All Nobel’s coaches have certificates and counseling psychology education. This is important because more often than not you’re going to get into deeper processes. Also, most of us have multinational experience, which allows us to see your situation both locally and globally. By choosing a Nobel coach, you’ll find someone in whom you can confide, who understands you, and will help guide you forward.

And all of that in the comfort of your home or office. Career Coaching is online, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time in traffic.

Ten Mistakes Sports Parents Make when Raising Young Athletes

Being a parent of an aspiring young athlete is a very peculiar situation. Your child is going through similar phases to the rest of the kids, but they’re also facing a whole different set of challenges on a day-to-day basis. If you’ve never played sports professionally, you’re probably lacking insight into unique situations, experiences, and issues. Sports parents who were pro athletes themselves are better informed, but even they are liable to make mistakes just like any other parent would.

Why Do Sports Parents Make Mistakes?

Whether you’re dealing with the burden of knowing or with the fear of not knowing, being a sports parent is not an easy role. There are lots of different sports out there and plenty of reasons why your child’s situation is unique.

Yet, sports parents often tend to err in similar ways and some patterns can be spotted. Normally, as parents, we have the best of intentions at heart. But we’re also dealing with things like inexperience, lack of information, biases, fears, and all kinds of factors that impair our judgment.

All of this can potentially lead to our inadvertently doing more harm to our child’s potential career than good. These are the ten most common mistakes sports parents make trying to raise a talented young athlete.

1. Pressuring Your Child Athlete to Succeed

Some sports parents are supporters of the “pressure makes diamonds” school of thought and tend to draw from it when deciding on parenting techniques. It’s an attitude somewhat based on the notion that mental toughness is a crucial characteristic of top-level athletes. While this is true, parental pressure is far from a good way of teaching your child athlete how to be mentally tough.

One study in 2006 showed that young athletes who are feeling pressure from both their coaches and their parents are more likely to develop maladaptive forms of achievement striving, to experience overconcern for mistakes, have doubts about their decisions and actions, and lowered perception of their own competence.

Another cause of parental pressure is parents believing their child might slack off or show lack of discipline if they don’t step in and tighten the screws. Parental involvement in itself is very useful for child development but you need to be careful.

If it’s too much or not the right kind of involvement, it can become a source of frustration, pressure, and stress for the child and you will inevitably be caught in the middle of it. There are much safer, more effective ways of motivating your child than simply giving them heat every chance you get.

2. Not Teaching Young Athletes There’s an Alternative

Actually becoming a professional athlete is extremely difficult. The stats presented in the table below are sourced from the NCAA database and show, on average, the chances of high school athletes making it to the pros.

As you can see, the competition is very high and the data tell a harsh story – only a small minority of young athletes ever actually makes a professional career in sports.

 

Why sports parents teach young athletes there is an alternative

 

Your child’s chances are determined by a range of factors and neither you nor your child will have complete control over some of them. Even if your child has all the essential characteristics such as technical skills, soft skills, talent, resilience, or a good work ethic, circumstances such as chronic or traumatic injury may abruptly end their career.

Some take these numbers as a sign that only those who are truly committed to the cause will prosper. But what about those who went all in and still didn’t make the cut? They’ll surely be devastated that their dreams didn’t come true. What happens when what they’re best at just isn’t good enough?

Giving up on your dream career is difficult for everyone, let alone young people who have their whole lives ahead of them. Having an alternative will go a long way to keep them from spiraling down and something they’ll be grateful for later in life. It’s your job as a parent to make sure they’re keeping their options open.

Sports-related activities are a great context for developing important management and teamwork skills that they can use at any job. You need to point out these opportunities, because that way, they’re boosting their athletic career while gaining something to rely on in the future.

Our coach, Tiana, is a sports psychologist experienced in working with sports parents and an expert on the topics of motivating child athletes, making them more confident, and teaching them how to build mental toughness.

 

3. Failing to Establish a Good Sports Parent-Coach Relationship

The roles of sports parents and coaches have an innately different perspective. The coach has to put the team first, while the parents are usually concerned with the needs and success of their own child.

In order to complement their efforts, both the parents and the coach need to build a good relationship so that they can provide the young athletes with the best possible, coherent support. That means that parents need to make an effort to understand the coach’s vision and consider their way of thinking before taking any action.

Your child will benefit from the fact they’re not getting mixed messages. If parents keep undermining the coaches and vice-versa, the child won’t know what to think and who to listen to.

4. Teaching Your Children the Win-at-All-Cost Mentality

Playing to win is a crucial aspect of sports. Nobody plays to lose and if they did, it wouldn’t be sports. Those who win stand to gain a lot. Personal satisfaction, social recognition, rewards, praise… Winning is valuable, enjoyable – and definitely not the only thing that’s important.

There are many top-level athletes who would disagree with this statement. And while romanticizing the desire to win does have a certain appeal, you don’t have to dig a lot in order to realize that winning isn’t the most important thing. At least not when considered in the context of life.

If your child places winning at the very top of their system of values, it could have a very negative effect on their judgment. It might make them more determined or motivated, but at what price?

Having a “win-at-all-cost” mindset provides a person with the conditions to rationalize unacceptable behavior. Things like poor sportsmanship, not playing by the rules, cheating, doping… They might learn to value winning over being a good teammate or simply doing the right thing. Winning is important, but if you prioritize it in terms of values, you need to consider what you’ll be losing in the trade-off.

5. Getting Too Emotionally Invested (ie. Angry Sports-Parent Syndrome)

You’ve probably heard stories about sports parents behaving inappropriately to the point where they’ve ended up on the local 9 o’clock news. New clips of parents brawling, screaming, and cursing at each other, coaches, referees, and even children, are being uploaded each week. These examples of toxic behavior leave a mark on everyone involved, including the very ones these parents are trying to help – their own children.

It’s understandable that being a bystander in an adrenaline-inducing situation can be difficult but you need to have control over your emotions and keep calm. Sports parents who lose it are usually ridiculed and mocked, but the negative effects this type of behavior can have on a developing child can’t be emphasized enough.

It takes all the fun out of sports and the children are left feeling embarrassed. It sets a bad example on how to deal with losing and not playing well. It is ethically wrong for a whole cluster of reasons. If you find that attending your child’s games, matches, and sporting events is making you angry or over-excited, then please, for your child’s sake as well as your own, consult a sports psychologist.

6. Overlooking the Development of Soft Skills

Technical skill is fundamental to athletic performance. That being said, a career in sports doesn’t happen in a vacuum and athletes need to be able to work with others as well. Even athletes competing in individual sports need to have good people-skills so they can, for example, make the most out of their relationship with the coaching staff. There are also lots of management skills that can be beneficial to an athlete such as time management or judgment and decision-making.

In team sports, teamwork and management skills can be the difference between going pro or not. Those who are exceptionally talented might be able to wiggle their way through to a career even though they’re very poor team players. But in the vast majority of cases, if they’re unable to cooperate and work well within a group, their chances of success will be incredibly slim.

Project-based learning in international teams can be an amazing opportunity for young athletes to effectively develop management and teamwork skills. They can transfer what they’ve learned to their career in sports!

Nobel Explorers teaches children valuable management and teamwork skills through working on STEM-related projects as part of an international team.

Online STEM projects can be a great way for young athletes to effectively develop communication skills, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking in a pressure-free environment.

 

7. Teaching Young Athletes to Fear Failure

In order to learn how to win, you first need to learn how to deal with losing. Each failure, each mistake we make is simply feedback telling us that we need to do better or maybe try something different. By taking the time to analyze what we did wrong, we can gain valuable insights into what we need to do in order to improve.

But before we can do that, we need to be able to handle the frustration of defeat and failure, also referred to as building resilience or mental toughness.

Studies show that athletes who are constantly being criticized for what they’re doing wrong will have a greater chance of developing a fear of failure. This can have a crippling effect on their development because it will make the sensation of playing less fun, reduce their game to the use of the most basic actions, and stunt their creativity.

“The child is so focused on the outcome and fearful of the possibility of failure, that they get frozen and stuck and can’t perform at their best at that moment.”

– Tiana M. (Sports Psychologist/Nobel Coach)

Young athletes need to be able to explore their sport and step outside their comfort zone in order to diversify their skill set and add new dimensions to their game. They need to understand that it’s OK to make mistakes. You as a parent should help them build a mindset where they’re not indifferent to failure, but also not devastated by it.

8. Showering Your Children with False Praise

Praising your children in order to reinforce good behavior is one of the foundations of good parenting. However, you need to make sure your praise is adequate, highlighting the right things, and delivered in alignment with how your child is feeling. You may think of false praise as a way to cheer your child up after a bad game, but there are a couple of reasons why you should never do this.

When your child buys into your false praise, they’ll think that they’ve done well when in fact they haven’t. If these scenarios repeat often, they’ll slowly develop a false sense about their abilities and skills. This means that they’ll be going into every next challenge poorly prepared, more likely to repeat the same mistakes and perpetuating the cycle until they’re faced with an obstacle that can’t be praised away.

Another issue arises if your child is able to see through your false praise. In those cases, praise can actually make them feel worse because they think they don’t deserve it. Aside from that, you’ll come across as if you either don’t really understand what happened or don’t really care about how they’ve played.

9. Neglecting Other Aspects of Parenting

Young athletes will face unique challenges on their road to a professional career in sports but they’ll also have to deal with issues common to any other kid their age. Friendship struggles, school challenges, puberty… It’s easy to get carried away, especially if your child is really invested in a sport and loves what they do.

Your child will need guidance for a life beyond the context of sporting events and the training ground. The issues they’ll face either at school or with friends are not less important than the things happening on the court or field. You’re raising a person first and an athlete second.

10. Disregard for Health and Safety (Both Physical and Mental)

In the culture of “all in” and “leaving your heart on the field”, toughness, hard work, and commitment come first. Unfortunately, this usually means that the health and safety of athletes are being placed somewhere lower down the list. This type of ranking can lead from innocuous situations such as, “It’s just a knock, I’ll walk it off.” to the more dangerous, “So what if it’s swollen? I can still run!”

The fact that they “only have one shot” doesn’t mean they should “risk it all”. The fact that they need to “work hard” doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be “working smart” first.

The importance of health for a sports career is intuitive to us but we don’t always act like it is. Surely we’ve all heard more than enough stories about people from our neighborhood who “could’ve gone pro if their knee hadn’t given out”. Injuries are unpredictable but aside from luck, great results can be achieved through injury-prevention exercises and procedures, along with having the right attitude.

Most sports parents would agree on the importance of being physically healthy, even if they sometimes encourage behaviors that go against that notion. But the topic of mental health is not that well-acknowledged in the world of sports and dealing with those issues carries a huge amount of stigma. Anxiety and depression are portrayed as signs of weakness and can be debilitating for the player’s social rating. The good news is, each year, more players are speaking out about their struggles with maintaining mental health.

“Mental health isn’t just an athlete thing. What you do for a living doesn’t have to define who you are. This is an everyone thing.”

– Kevin Love (Professional Basketball Player)

As a parent, you need to be a health advocate for your children because the athlete mindset will pull them in the opposite direction. Your kids need to understand how their body works, listen to what it’s telling them, and be educated on what it means to be healthy both physically and mentally.

What Can Sports Parents Learn From These Mistakes?

“Parents, listen and look to your child. Hear your child out. What are his or her interests?… One very important role a parent has is to help their child just select and decide what’s important and what’s not important. But… together with them and not for them.”

– Tiana M. (Sports Psychologist/Nobel Coach)

It’s funny how easy it is to get caught up in wanting to help your child any way you can. But good intentions are not a guarantee of the success of your actions. We love our children so much that it sometimes clouds our judgment. But just as our children can learn from their mistakes made on the court or field, we need to be able to learn from our own mistakes to be better parents.

Sports parenting, like all types of parenting, is a partnership. Our parental role burdens us with a greater sense of responsibility but we shouldn’t take on things that are not on us. We’re not helping anyone if we’re overstepping our boundaries and either contributing to our child’s feeling of being pressured, or robbing them of an opportunity to build their character and grow.

Finally, your child’s wishes are one of the most important factors that should be considered when making big decisions about their career in sports. In the end, they’re the ones that will have to live the life you’re helping them build and they should actively partake in the decision-making process as much as possible.

“Your child’s success or lack of success in sports does not indicate what kind of parent you are. But having an athlete who is coachable, respectful, a great teammate, mentally tough, resilient, and tries their best, is a direct reflection of your parenting.”

John A. Casadia (Swimming Coach)

7 Techniques That Make Parenting a Child with ADHD Easier

Children who suffer from ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) struggle to concentrate and show signs of hyperactivity and impulsivity. At other times they might fall into a state of hyperfocus, usually when they find something that truly interests them. All of which leads to children with ADHD having trouble starting and finishing tasks, sleeping, and even struggling to make friends.

If you are a parent of a child with ADHD, you’re probably exhausted, stressed out, and constantly looking for new ways to help your child become more productive, more socially adept, and generally calmer and happier. To help them get there, we suggest seven ways you as a parent can make sure your child gets the best headstart possible.

1. Make Sure Their Day is Structured

Boy holding books.

Children with ADHD find it much easier to finish their tasks if they have a clear schedule of the day ahead. Try to create a schedule that has everything written down, not just the most important activities like school, baseball practice, or someone’s birthday. For example, include lunchtime, playtime, time for chores, homework. It might sound trivial, but your child will thrive if they can see their full schedule, from A to Z, in a visible place in your home. If they don’t have a set time for, say, homework, chances are their lack of focus will cause them to leave it for later or forget about it altogether.

2. Let Them Face Consequences

Girl with ADHD looking at a checkmark sound, representing a reward.

Be understanding but firm when it comes to consequences. Children with ADHD find it harder to finish their tasks, but learning about the consequences can help rewire their brains. So if they said they’d do the dishes, but they end up not doing it, consequences are in order.

The best thing to do is use logical consequences – for example, if they don’t do the dishes, there’ll be no dessert for the next three days. Don’t make the consequences too harsh, but hold your ground when it comes to them. You may feel like a bad parent for punishing them (“They have no control over it and I’m punishing them for it – I’m such a lousy parent”), but just remember you’re not doing it to hurt them – you’re doing it to help their brains understand there’s consequences to actions.

After experiencing some consequences and realizing they don’t enjoy them – because an ADHD brain is all about getting satisfaction here and now – they’ll be able to calculate that that same satisfaction is much more likely to come after they finish some chores!

3. Introduce rewards, too

Rewards can be just as effective as consequences, especially when you’re using both. The trouble with rewards, however, is that if you’re constantly handing them out, children will never develop a real motivation to do anything – they’ll only be doing it for the reward. That’s why giving rewards only occasionally is beneficial, so that the child doesn’t get used to them.

So while consequences are a good parenting technique when it comes to everyday things like chores or homework, rewards should be saved for when something out of the ordinary happens – they show a lot more effort than usual in school, they offer to help with the dishes without you asking them to, etc. It’s important to reward the effort rather than the achievement!

4. Take a break together

Young girl smiling and eating ice cream.

We often confuse taking a break with giving up, but these two couldn’t be more different. Everyone – even a machine – needs to take a break every once in a while. We lose our focus, get sleepy, and generally, lack motivation for a lot of things if we work too hard for a prolonged period of time.

ADHD makes it even more difficult, so make sure both you and your child pause for a while, whatever it is you’re currently doing. If you notice them or yourself getting tired, there’s no need to push it. Children with ADHD need some rest to be able to re-focus, and stressed-out parents do, too. So take a break for a while (but following tip #1, let them know how long it will last!) and play a game with your child or have an ice cream while enjoying nature.

5. Remove Distractions

Boy with ADHD doing homework while tiny people remove distractions (phone).

“Getting Distracted” is the middle name of almost any child, and when you combine it with ADHD, the usual result is that not much gets done. In order to help your child finish their homework or chores, remove the most common distractions – their phone, toys, laptop, or TV. It will help them focus and motivate them to finish the task in order to get back to their toys or games.

Before removing the distractions, make sure that you explain to them why that’s important and how it will help them, otherwise they might see it as punishment.

6. Spend More Time in Nature

It has been proven time and time again that green time is highly beneficial for children with ADHD. For one, they have plenty of space to spend their energy in. Maybe even more importantly, all that nature has a calming effect on children the same way it has on us adults, perhaps even more so on children who struggle with ADHD. You should try taking them to the park or a nearby woodland as often as you can, but it’s especially important when they’re upset and acting impulsively.

7. Ask for Help

Girl smiling and holding illustration of two hands gripping one another.

One major thing that parents of children with ADHD struggle with is understanding that asking for help does not make you an inadequate parent! You’ve got a lot on your plate, so having a friend, a family member, or even a coach help you out does not make you a failure. It simply means you love your child enough to understand that getting some help will benefit them. Have you recently caught yourself constantly waking up anxious? Or maybe not even wanting to get out of bed in the morning? These may be the consequences of some extreme stress you’re under. So even if it’s not just about your child, but about your own state of mind and happiness – ask for help. Do everything to make things easier on yourself.

 

Just Remember…

Parenting is never easy, and with an ADHD child, it’s even more challenging. But with enough education, trial and error, and openness to others, it can become easier. Keep in mind that you can’t pour from an empty cup: make sure to take care of yourself. Self-care is contagious – if your child sees you’re happy and satisfied, they’ll want to take good care of themselves, too!

 

Sibling Rivalry: How Can Parents Deal with It?

Sibling rivalry is a tale as old as time itself. Just remember one of the oldest stories from the Bible – Cain was jealous that God would accept Abel’s sacrifice, but not his! Nowadays, luckily, sibling conflicts are resolved in a much calmer way, but they can still cause problems, for both siblings and their parents.

The first lesson is: even if you had perfect children, you wouldn’t get out of it without some tension and rivalry – and here’s why.

The Causes of Sibling Rivalry

Perhaps the biggest reason siblings see each other as rivals is because they are in a constant fight for your attention. And since people aren’t exact machines, we aren’t able to dedicate exactly the same amount of attention to each child, much as we might want to. No matter how similar the children may be – even if they’re twins! – there will always be differences between them that require us to treat them if only a bit differently. We’re often unaware of this, but children tend to notice it.

Gender and age differences alone more often than not cause parents to treat their children in very different ways. Dads might be more gentle with their daughters than their sons, but sons may be granted more freedom and a later curfew. The tricky thing is, no daughter will focus on the extra attention, nor son on the extra permission: they’ll tend to focus on the negatives and see themselves as less loved and less worthy.

Also, the closer the siblings are in age, the more reason they’ll have to fight. They’ll want to play with same toys, have the same relationship with you, play the same video games… But on the other hand, if there’s a wider age difference, the older one may get angry if the younger one makes them feel embarrassed in front of their friends. It seems like there’s no escape!

Is There No Way Out?

So far, it seems like whatever you do, fights are inevitable! That is true to some extent, and we’ll talk later on about the positive sides of sibling rivalry. However, certain things are in your control and can be prevented.

Kids in Spiderman and Captain America costumes smiling.

Even Spiderman and Captain America found a way to overcome their issues.

Try to treat them the same when it comes to granting permission

New parents, given their inexperience and natural anxiety, often overprotect their first child. When the second one comes along, you feel more confident and trust yourself more, so you’ll probably end up granting that child more latitude. But as understandable as this is, think of how it’s affecting the older child. They’ll probably end up thinking, “They don’t love me and care as much” or “They don’t really trust me”. What you can do is adapt your responses to meet the situation. Now that your younger one has a curfew until 10, give the older one a slightly longer one – 11 or 12. Treating them the same even though they’re four years apart is not exactly equal, so as hard as it is to see them grow up – let them know they’ve earned your confidence.

Let them solve it on their own

If their fight is about something else – whose toy it is, whose turn it is to walk the dog, etc. – give them time to come up with a solution among themselves. However, if you notice that’s not going anywhere, offer mediation, but without taking sides. Try to look at it objectively. Ask them to give you the arguments for why they each think the other one should be walking the dog. You can even have them write their arguments down. Let them present their reasons one by one, and once you have all the facts, ask them if it’s now clear to them who should be doing the task. If they’re still unwilling to find a solution, you can offer one, but not without providing them with an explanation why.

Skip the labels

Does your family have the smart one? The athletic one? The artistic one? If it does, try not to call them that. Of course you’re allowed to think of them that way, but the minute you say, “Oh, my Josh is the smart one”, the other child will, without a doubt, be thinking, “That must mean I’m the dumb one”. You should be nurturing their strengths – by all means! – but in such a way that they don’t feel that being a “geek” or a “football player” is all they can ever be. We talked about the self-fulfilling prophecy before – the way you talk about your children could become who they are. Using a language free of labels works wonders in giving them more options.

Accept that you will be treating them differently…

…which doesn’t have to be a negative thing. If you, say, have a gifted child, treating both of them the same could lead to the gifted one not reaching their full potential. In the end, they might be resentful of both you and their sibling – “If only Mary weren’t so dumb, I could have been at MIT right now!” Instead, nurture their strengths. If you see they’re gifted, enroll them in different programs that could help them develop even further.

As for their sibling, inspire them to try out different things as well, and make sure to be open about everything. Explain that just because John is a straight A student and making apps at 17, doesn’t mean that you love Mary any less. They’re both equally valuable, and the important thing is to have each follow their passion and do whatever makes them happy. In short, give the gifted child what they need, but don’t concentrate all of your love and pride on them only.

Can Sibling Rivalry be Beneficial?

Absolutely! Children’s first conflicts happen between them and their siblings. In the warm, nurturing, safe atmosphere of their own home, they’ll have plenty of chances to figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to disagreements with others. If handled well, they’ll learn the values of negotiation and teamwork.

Another important thing conflict will teach them is resilience. If you’re always stepping in to protect the younger one and keep them from any hardships, they’ll be left without the skills necessary to stand up for themselves. They’ll always be expecting others to swoop in and save them. It’s much better if they get to practice this with their brother/sister first, even if it ends in tears from time to time, than for them to be left helpless later on.

Just remember that treating two very different individuals differently is completely normal and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Do your best to be just and to catch yourself in showing signs of favoritism, and there’ll be no reason to worry about sibling rivalry too much.

Mother’s Guilt: What It is and How You Can Overcome It

We’ve all felt guilty about one thing or another sometime in our lives. But perhaps the most haunting type of guilt is mother’s guilt. There aren’t many mothers who’ve never felt guilty about their parenting, even if it’s for just a second. But when does it become an issue?

Let’s start by defining the term “mother’s guilt”. It’s the guilt that arises in mothers who feel they aren’t “good enough” parents. There are various reasons they might be thinking this: punishing a child often, not letting them do what the other kids are doing (this can often happen with teenagers), and perhaps the most common one today (that we will be focusing on) – not spending enough time with them. Have you ever ordered a pizza instead of making them the dinner you promised, because you got held up at work? Or have you left them to deal with their homework themselves so you can answer a couple of emails, and lost track of time? If yes, it might have made you feel guilty.

And while not being sure about what you’re doing from time to time is perfectly normal, being caught up in guilt constantly, up to the point it messes with your everyday tasks – that’s a sign of an issue that you should talk about with someone.

But while talking to others about it may be beneficial for you, what will help you make a change and start feeling better long-term are the following:

1. Focus on the Good

There’s a fault in most human brains: we tend to focus on the bad and completely ignore the good. I challenge you to take a pen and paper right now and write down at least three things you think you’re doing well as a mom! It can be something as small as giving everyone a goodbye kiss when you leave for work in the morning, or the fact that you treated your kids to ice cream that one time last week. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and don’t flag everything that’s good as unimportant. You might worry that your kids will hold your flaws against you, but they’re just as likely to cherish the memories you make with them.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to Social Media Moms

How often have you seen someone’s bad photo on Instagram? Or a bad photo of their kids with the caption “I’m a terrible mom”? Everyone wants to look good on social media, so everyone chooses the best parts of their lives to display to others. Comparing your reality to their highlights makes no sense! Every mom has problems, even if they aren’t up to showing it online.

So the next time you see a mom who looks like they have it all figured out, take a closer look at your friends and cousins. Take a look at your own parents, too! Do any of them have it all under control 100% of the time, feeling perfectly proud of themselves?

And if you need to unfollow those moms or delete your Instagram account to make yourself feel better, go for it. Your mental health and self-esteem should be much more important than being able to look at pretty photos 24/7.

3. Ask for and Accept Help

Venting to friends may be a great way to feel better, but while it helps temporarily, it doesn’t necessarily change what you’re feeling guilty about. But asking for help does. If you’re worried that you’re not helping your child enough with their studies, and you’re afraid they might be falling behind, there’s no shame in letting an online tutor help you out.

Tutoring sessions all happen online, so it won’t be extra hard on you, nor on your child. Nobel tutors will help your child master the subject that’s troubling them, and they won’t even have to leave their room! That means no driving around for you, and no extra tasks on your to-do list. You don’t have to do everything alone. In today’s busy world, you have the choice to either let others help, or to take everything upon yourself until you go crazy from all the stress.

You can also opt for Academic Coaching where Nobel’s coaches focus on the child’s motivation, anxiety, and any other psychological barriers that might be impeding academic success.

4. Talk to Your Kids about It

The most common source of all misunderstandings are assumptions. (link to our article about communication). You might think that your kids are holding your lack of time for them against you, when they might really be proud of you for working so hard. But you’ll never know for sure until you ask them! Ask about their feelings and whether they have some ideas about how you can spend more time together. Make a plan and, just as important, share your feelings, too! They need to have you as an example that sharing feelings is a wonderful thing that can only lead to more good things.

Now, if they tell you they’re mad at you, sad, or disappointed, don’t despair. All feelings are normal, negative ones included. Try to talk to them more about it and see how you can change something. And if you think their negative feelings are something they might have trouble dealing with, our coaches can help – not only them, but you, too.

Try to bear in mind that this conversation will bring many emotional benefits to them as well. If they see their parents asking for help, your kids will be more likely to take care of themselves and ask for help for themselves, which will ultimately make them happier and healthier.

Word to the Wise

Overcoming mother’s guilt is not an easy thing to do, but the first step is always the hardest. The important thing is to let yourself know you have the right to live your own life, and that it doesn’t mean you love your kids any less than you should. You taking good care of yourself while finding alternative ways to help your kids is the best possible solution for the struggles of this modern age.

 

10 Easy Ways to Be Mindful while Doing Everyday Tasks

Being mindful has many benefits, but it sounds complicated and demanding. Also, some people think that practicing mindfulness requires meditation or yoga, for example. But mindfulness doesn’t have to include much time or yoga mats. What if we say there are plenty of easy ways to practice mindfulness in your everyday life? And by doing so, you can de-stress and do your best. So, no more excuses – let’s start!

1. Drink more water.

Our bodies dehydrate overnight, so start the day with a glass of water at breakfast. Pay attention to how that gulp is going through your body. Also, try not to think about anything else. To stay energetic, don’t forget to drink lots of water all day. It doesn’t sound hard, does it?

2. Make your bed in the morning.

While making a fresh cup of coffee to start your day, make sure to make your bed. Slow down your breathing as you smooth your sheets and tuck in corners. This way, making bed is not a chore, but a mindful practice. Further, you will feel as if you have already completed a task and started your day productively. Starting the day with a habit will help you develop other useful habits. It has also been shown that, since you spend a large portion of your life in your bedroom, the way it looks can severely affect your mood, so making the bed equals better mood and less stress throughout the day!

3. Enjoy your meal.

Avoid multitasking while eating your lunch – take at least 15 minutes to focus completely on enjoying your meal, allowing it to re-energize you. Also, chew your food slowly. While eating, enjoy the texture and the taste. This is shown to boost your mood and register more satisfaction, which further curbs overeating.

4. Organize things.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re at work or home, being in chaos can cause stress and anxiety. Picking things and organizing them is a pretty simple way to reduce that stress. Also, while doing so pay attention to every bit and piece of objects and to each placement of the object. To practice mindfulness while organizing, you are called to turn your attention to what’s happening right now: what you are thinking, what you are feeling, and what your senses are telling you.

5. Stretch whenever you can.

Nowadays, we spend most of our time at the desk, working, studying or just surfing the internet. To say that that amount of sitting is bad for our health would be an understatement. Be aware of your body and take a rest from sitting. Get up for at least a few minutes every hour and walk around your room or office, or use that time to stretch. You will see that it not only helps your body but your mind as well!

6. Turn off your devices.

Mobile phone ringing and beeping every now and then can cause anxiety. Also, we usually constantly check emails and social networks on our devices. It distracts us from our primary activities and people around us. Therefore, every once in a while turn off your devices. This way you’ll be more productive and refresh yourself.

7. Pay attention to your breathing.

Are you nervous before some big date? Take three slow and deep breaths from your belly before entering that room. Even if you’re not nervous, stop thinking about other stuff for a few seconds and just pay attention to your breathing. Try to feel how your stomach and chests move, how fast and deep is your breathing…

8. Walk mindfully.

You don’t have to sit and cross your legs to practice mindfulness. As you walk to the store or to work practice mindfulness. Focus on your breathing and each step you take. This way you’ll clear your mind of clutter, decrease stress, restore your sense of focus, and increases overall well-being.

9. Pause between actions.

Your to-do list is pretty long, right? Also, there are many things that you haven’t included there. But it is good to pause between your actions. Take a moment and be proud that you’ve done something. Let yourself to rest a bit. And don’t think about other stuff that is waiting to be done.

10. Do your routine activities mindfully.

Everything you do can be a way of practicing mindfulness, especially those activities that are not demanding. Try to pay more attention as you’re brushing your teeth before bed, for example. Try to be more aware – activate all of your senses. Maybe you’ll find those activities more interesting than you thought.

Mindfulness can easily be integrated into your daily routine. As we can conclude from above, there are so many tasks that we take for granted, but they are all primed for more mindfulness. However, nothing can be done in one day. Try practicing these tips for a few days and they will become even easier. Try practicing them for a few weeks and they will become habits!

References:

[1] Heaversedge, J., & Halliwell, E. (2012). The mindful manifesto: How doing less and noticing more can help us thrive in a stressed-out world. Hay House, Inc.