Three ideas to keep in mind…*
A little bit of mindfulness can go a long way, and as a grandparent you have a choice to learn how to do exactly that and take stock of what is really important.
FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
Positive thinking can be a challenge because our brains are wired to focus on negativity. By being in the moment and acknowledging good things as they are happening, we become more optimistic, resilient and conﬁdent. We actually can change our brains and our lives, and those of our grandchildren
…but it takes regular practice and commitment.
Discuss the phrase “every cloud has a silver lining.” Explain there’s a brighter side to diﬃcult situations and there are ways to solve, learn, or accept them. For example, if your grandchildren are upset when they don’t get picked for a team or the school play, validate their disappointment. At the same time, reframe the situation and point out a positive outcome: now they will have more time for other special activities or friends.
Place a half-full glass of water in front of your grandchildren and talk about the idea of half full versus half empty. This is a great exercise for older children.
Practice being cheerful and hopeful in life. At the dinner table, take turns naming three highlights of the day, focusing on the “roses” in life.
“Try pausing right before and after a new action.
Such pauses take a brief moment, yet they have the eﬀect of decompressing time and centering you.”
When you and your grandchildren get frustrated or overly emotional, use “PAM” to calm down and help everyone make better behavior choices. This acronym
Practice this technique over and over. PAM really works.
“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you CAN do is calm yourself; the storm will pass.”
In the mindfulness tradition, the repetition of a positive mantra builds compassion and reduces anxiety, stress, and anger. The following “metta”—or loving-kindness—meditations are especially calming:
Get into a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Notice your breath. Check in with your inner feelings and repeat the words: “May I have inner peace. May I be emotionally strong. May I live with ease.” Or make up a diﬀerent mantra that will soothe you.
If you are concerned about someone other than yourself, the following mantra can be chanted: “May she be healthy. May she be safe. May she be free of stress.” Again, substitute whatever wording works best for your particular situation.
*For more moments — check out Pam Siegel & Leslie Zinberg’s new book, Grandparenting, Renew, Relieve, Rejoice