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Why Parents Need a Little Self-Compassion

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_parents_need_a_little_self_compassion

greatergood.berkeley.edu

Why Parents Need a Little Self-Compassion
"I don't have any time for self-care. I know I need it, but I feel like I'm a bad mother if I take time for myself," said Michelle, a participant in my Self-Compassion for Parents workshop. "I simply don't have time to practice!"

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Self-compassion

Self-compassion is treating yourself with the same kindness and consideration that you would offer to someone else.

Self-compassion helps you cope with tough situations and helps you to be more supportive and caring in your relationships.

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Why parents need self-compassion

Parents' frame of mind impacts their children. Parents should not blame themselves when their children struggle.

Since parents lead by example, treating themselves with compassion and without judgment can help their children to do the same.

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Make time for mindfulness

Many parents stop meditating once they have children. But new research suggests that even brief interventions can be helpful.

  • Take two breaths of kindness wherever you are.
  • Find moments of newness while engaged in your daily tasks of living.
  • Bring awareness and gratitude to the everyday things you take for granted.

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Writing benefits from the capacities that mindfulness cultivates: being in the moment, even when remembering the past or imagining the future; not judging others and oneself while still exercising discriminating wisdom; holding multiple perspectives; being open to the new; and practicing kindness, compassion, and patience. 

Altering the brain

Altering the brain

In 2005, studies began to point out that meditation can change the structure of your brain by thickening the cortex. The cortex controls your attention and emotions.

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Mindfulness meditation

It typically refers to a practice for training your attention. It is an awareness that comes through paying attention in the moment, but non-judgmentally.

It involves sitting down with closed eyes and focussing on feeling your breath go in and out. When your attention starts to wander, you take note and bring your attention back to your breath.

Reduced amygdala activity

Meditation shows reduced activity in the amygdala, our brain’s threat detector. When the amygdala perceives a threat, it sets off the fight-flight-freeze response.

In a study, after practicing mindfulness for 20 minutes per day over just one week, participants showed reduced amygdala reactivity only while they were engaged in mindfulness, suggesting they need regular practice.