Feeling Anxious?

What is Anxiety?

“Well, it causes physical symptoms to set off in your body – panic attacks, your heart might begin to beat a little faster, sweaty palms, feeling light headed and dizzy, spaced out, can’t sleep for worrying. Thoughts going round and round in your head, jelly legs and the feeling of a brick in your stomach. Anxiety sufferers will be very familiar with those symptoms. ”
Source: My Remedy, The Integrated Natural Medicine Clinic

Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States, affecting nearly 18 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

“People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience excessive anxiety and worry, often about health, family, money, or work. This worrying goes on every day, possibly all day. It disrupts social activities and interferes with work, school, or family.

GAD is diagnosed in adults when they experience at least three of the symptoms below on more days than not for at least six months; only one symptom is required in children.

Symptoms of GAD include the following:
•restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
•being easily fatigued
•difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
•irritability
•muscle tension
•sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)”
Source: Anxiety and Depression Association of America

How this GIF Image work?

Dr. Christina Hibbert, a clinical psychologist, author of the “8 Keys to Mental Health Through Exercise,” posted about this GIF on Twitter:

“It works because it forces us to slow down our breath. When it comes to anxiety, one major problem is the tendency to breathe in shorter, shallow breaths, versus deep breathing. Deep breathing, which this image promotes, requires us to slow down, extend our inhale and exhale, and bring more oxygen to our brain and body. This can help calm and relax us … When we slow down, breathe deeply, and really focus on the breath, like this image helps us to do, we find we are refreshed and ready to go back to whatever life is handing us with a renewed energy and peace. Finally, when we’re anxious, we are usually thinking about anything but the present moment. Breathing with this image forces us to focus on what’s happening right now — the breath — and that takes us out of our head and our worries.”

Video based on GIF Image posted by “WearingAStupidManSuit on Imgur”

BREATHE, and BREATHE again! Relax… relax… relax…

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from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2Zx2Bp6

Name: A Dance Short

Young people endure the brutality of the job market in dance short Name, by Priyanka Chavda, Laura Roe and Bart Bazaz.

Laura Roe, is a freelance Assistant Director and contemporary dance teacher from the Midlands.
Priyanka Chavda is a development producer, from Leicestershire. Passionate about storytelling, she aims to develop and produce films with a unique narrative at its centre.
Bartholomew Bazaz is a Midlands based DOP, having worked his way up as a Camera Assistant, with experience Focus Pulling on music videos, commercials and narrative short films.

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Why I Created Live the Hero


People ask me why I created Live the Hero, and like any other human being I’m tempted to give some larger-than-life, grandiose answer like, “I was struck by sudden divine inspiration” or “I had a spiritual awakening!”

The truth, however, is plain and simple. I created it because I was unhappy (more on that in a bit). I want Live the Hero to be accessible to anyone who is looking for a way to see life as an adventure rather than a slog through a “miserable world.”

I believe the world is ripe for a positive revolution of the human condition. I also believe more and more people, every day, feel the same way.

Our technology, if used properly, can make a close-knit village of our planet. We just need to believe we can design our individual lives to live with purpose.

I want to help people find the meaning that will lead them, directly or indirectly, to the happiness we all crave. Live the Hero is my attempt to provide a blueprint to help you create your best “designer life.”

Origin Story

In the beginning, I created Live the Hero for me. I was not enjoying life, and finally got tired of feeling that way.

So I started delving into all the wisdom I’d turned my back on when I left college to “get a job in the real world.” I’d been told that all the high ideals of the humanities weren’t applicable to life.

I spent years delving back into the wisdom found in psychology, literature, philosophy, neuroscience, mythology, and pop culture. I pulled out what I thought had the most practical application to help my troubled mind and soul.

The result of my efforts was Live the Hero, a combination of concepts I think can stand up to the stresses of daily life. I offer it as an alternative to the meager “advice” many of us are given when we reach adulthood: little more than a pat on the back and a “good luck out there, kid!”

I believe America’s obsession with the “rugged individual” has made us all default to an attitude of self-isolation. We’re all supposed to be pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps, with no help from others. But what we’re really doing is setting each generation up for failure, eroding ourselves internally and breaking ties to other people.

We make a big mistake sending people out into the world without a framework for creating a life of meaning and purpose. I believe this mistake is behind much of the suffering across the globe today.

I want Live the Hero to be a way for people to build up individual resilience and strong communal ties. I want it to be a structure to make life fulfilling.

An Evolving Concept

Live the Hero is still an evolving concept. It was born from a combination of ideas drawn from the diverse sources I mentioned above. And once it started working for me, I wondered if it could help others with finding their own meaning and happiness.

Sure, I’ve laid a good foundation using the knowledge gained from formal and informal education, as well as decades of observation of the human condition. I’ve tested the underlying concepts of Live the Hero on myself for some time, and it’s helped reshape my perceptions of life for the better.

Now, I want to be sure Live the Hero can help others as well. That’s what this website is for: to build a community, start a conversation, and crowdsource the next stage of Live the Hero’s development.

As time goes on, I’ll continue to outline the concepts of Live the Hero here on my blog. As I do that, I need your help.

So tell me: What do you want Live the Hero to do for you? If you could create a life philosophy that would help you find fulfillment, purpose, and happiness, what would it include? Please leave a comment on this post with your thoughts.

We can build this together, to create a practical philosophy of life we can all use. What I’d like to build is a “guidebook” of sorts. It won’t be the “one and only” instruction manual for life. There is no one answer to the meaning of existence. But I’d like to offer up an option, in the hopes that it helps someone else thrive.

So, I’ll keep proposing my ideas, and together we can put them to the test. Deal?

Let’s challenge each other. Let’s become better together.

This post was previously published on LiveTheHero.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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3 Areas You Should Focus on to Become a Great Leader

Having listened to all of our stakeholders and being fully aware of the situation, spring is a good time to conduct a quarterly review to see exactly where we are in order. This helps us have a clear starting point to re-adjust our goals for the coming year.

One of the main problems tends to be that we look back at the things we haven’t done and where we didn’t get the results we intended. Because of this, we get ourselves in a state of anxiety which is hardly a resourceful state for setting positive goals.

A better approach is to be nice to ourselves. Have a look back over the last three months and check all the things you have achieved. Give yourself a treat for all of the things you planned to achieve and did. They may be something as simple as maintaining a to-do list or smiling more.

Afterwards, think of all the things you achieved which weren’t planned and congratulate yourself on your flexibility and creativity; for the person with the greatest flexibility of behaviour controls the outcomes.

For those results that weren’t as you intended, remind yourself that we all make the correct choice at the time we make it. We don’t deliberately make the wrong choices and whatever the outcome, there’s always a positive intention. There’s no failure, only feedback, and we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.

“Be good to yourself. Listen to your body, to your heart. We’re very hard on ourselves, and we’re always feeling like we’re not doing enough. It’s a terribly hard job.” – Marcia Wallace

Look to yourself

It is vital, especially for sole proprietors or owner/managers, to manage themselves in order to be fit, healthy, and relatively happy. Evidence points to a clear relationship between our moods and assorted aspects of job performance such as decision-making, creativity, teamwork, negotiation and leadership.

While success may put us in a good mood, an organisation that sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, stands a better chance in these difficult times.

Depressed individuals will always see the glass as half-empty and even rapidly emptying. This attitude saps energy and leaves those affected feeling worthless, helpless, and hopeless. In its worst case, depression can impair the ability to communicate and it’s not hard to see the organisational parallels.

Below are three elements within all of us that need to be taken care of:

1. Your mind

The key to a healthy mind is variety, so take an interest in other people, things, events and current affairs. Adopting an open and curious mindset allows us to see future possibilities and hence be more empowered.

2. Your body

A healthy body requires a solid routine. Ensure you eat and drink healthy products (especially water) and get plenty of rest and exercise. Knowing our own limitations and taking action to stay within them ensures we operate at our best.

3. Your spirit

Much has been written about feeding or maintaining the spirit but I believe there is one simple rule. Believe in something that is true to you and spend time each day with your true beliefs. Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm and is as needful to the imagination as friends are to our character.

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton

Beyond individual performance, there are broader issues at stake. None of us are islands, happy in our own little depressed world. Moods, good or bad, are infectious and some people or positions can have a greater ripple effect than others. If a shy apprentice has a gloomy outlook, few may notice. But if people like the owner/manager are wandering around looking like the end of the world is coming, that can directly affect team spirit.

Water bearer or well poisoner

So what can the organisation do? Firstly, as individuals, we must show a positive and upbeat demeanor. That’s not easy and faking it will easily be spotted as the deception will be transparent. This isn’t unauthentic, but merely an attempt to empower ourselves.

Congruent leadership offers the means to put into words what it is you are experiencing with the person in order so your behaviour is consistent with your own values and beliefs such that you always appear to be what you desire to be.

Your mood as a leader then is highly contagious. Even though leaders or opinion formers aren’t always in leadership positions, they’re at the centre of informal networks. They have charisma and magnetism, possess strong opinions, and express them forcefully. Therefore, they have considerable social power and can have a direct effect on morale by being a water bearer or well poisoner. Which are you today?

What resonated most with you about this article and leadership? Share your thoughts below!

source https://addicted2success.com/success-advice/3-areas-you-should-focus-on-to-become-a-great-leader/

Living in a Neighborhood Built for Special Needs


Developers are calling it a first in the United States, and possibly the world.

A development named Luna Azul (Blue Moon) in Phoenix, AZ is under construction and is the first neighborhood built specifically for adults with developmental disabilities.

That’s right, an entire neighborhood of brand-new homes just for those of us with developmental disabilities. The cool thing about this is that the residents will own their own homes, giving them much needed stability to a group that often knows anything but stability.

As someone on the autism spectrum, I can tell you how much stability means to me and if it means that much to me, I know it means that much to the rest of us.

Luna Azul is a true community with activities for the residents and is situated around a courtyard so that residents can get to know one another and develop friendships and relationships with their neighbors who are like them. They can live their life not worrying about what the neighbors will think when they get a bit quirky or deal with problems that many of us with developmental disabilities deal with such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Personally, I think having a neighborhood full of people who are similar to me would be awesome and it would make me feel much more comfortable. There are times that I can’t sleep and I want to go out back and build a fire in my firepit, but don’t because it’s 2 am and I don’t want to disturb my neighbors and have them wonder what’s wrong with me.

Six of the homes in the community of 1,100-1,900 square foot homes are already under contract and the homes are priced in the 300,000-500,000 range. The homes are also located near many urban amenities, near plenty of public transportation and is gated to help the residents feel more secure in their safe environment.

If the person with the disability doesn’t feel comfortable holding the title to the home, a parent can hold the title or it can be put into a special needs trust. The residents are allowed to choose other developmentally disabled roommates and can charge rent to those roommates in order to defray their housing cost.

Though the neighborhood was built for and is geared towards the developmental disability community, but anyone who wants to live in a fully inclusive neighborhood where differences are expected and welcomed can purchase a home.

Hopefully we’ll soon see this experiment become a huge success and there will be similar communities popping up all around the country.

 

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People Visit Museums – They Don’t Live In Them

Growing up I had a friend whose family had a formal living room. I’m not sure why they had a formal living room since they got just about as much use out of it as the crawl space under the stairs, which always seemed prone to flooding. But having a formal living room was a big deal … I guess in case the President or K.C. and the Sunshine Band stopped by to visit.

And while the President and Mr. Sunshine Band would have been welcome to sit on the plastic couch cover, ordinary human beings were not. It remained a place set aside for some ultra-special event that everybody believed might one day occur, and for which no one wanted to find themselves unprepared. And so it languished in all its Teak-paneled and shag-carpeted glory, its uncomfortable looking orange couch and lacquered end tables gathering dust.

Not that it looked like a great place, either to play or relax, but I always harbored a secret desire to sneak into that living room and start moving the macraméed owl wall hangings and the vases filled with big glass balls around. I knew such hijinks in the forbidden room could possibly induce strokes to the people in charge, but dang, it felt necessary.

I suspect the need to have a perfectly preserved room (even if it looked like a touching/creepy homage to the Partridge Family) stemmed from the desire of working-class folks to have nice things. Many of the folks in that generation had come of age in the aftermath of the Depression, World War II, and then the cultural pre-pubescence of the 1950s. Having nice things for certain social classes in this generation was still a relatively new phenomenon. Like domestic police, the impulse to “preserve and protect” seemed a natural response to the rapidly shifting political and cultural forces reshaping the American landscape.

“Get out of the living room!” and “You better not spill anything on the good furniture!” became the new suburban rallying cries. Some rooms were for ‘everyday’ use, while some rooms were for…well, not.

I preferred the family rooms of my youth to the living rooms—the former designed to be used, dirtied, broken, and restored; the latter, encased in harvest gold-amber and later excavated by post-apocalyptic anthropologists looking to explain the domestic habits of the late twentieth-century bourgeoisie.

Unfortunately, not only were the aesthetics of this time ecclesiastically enshrined in church buildings [Seriously? Burnt orange upholstery on the pews?], but so were the attitudes about church buildings as special places to be protected against all human encroachment, preserved for some special purpose at a distant point on the horizon of time.

Look, I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be places in a church that are set apart as holy space. The sanctuary probably shouldn’t double as the gym for the Day Care during the week. The baptistry probably shouldn’t house hidden jacuzzi nozzles for staff parties. We probably shouldn’t eat our Cap’n Crunch out of the offering plates. Fine.

Let me be clear, I’m thinking less about the use of particular rooms in the church than about the church building itself. In many people’s minds, the church building has become the plastic-wrapped living room that should be safeguarded against the invasion of sticky-fingered people bent on messing it up.

But what if the church building was recast as a family room, to be used, dirtied, broken, and restored?

What if we turned loose of the idea that churches are antiques to be collected, rather than tools to be used to accomplish some purpose?

What if we took a chance and let the community use our space, as a gift to those with whom we live and work, instead of defaulting to suspicion of motives or fear of what might happen?

Declining mainline denominations have these huge legacy buildings, sucking up more and more of our resources. What if we said, “We’re going to think about this building as a launching pad, rather than a saddle?”

We’re going to make mistakes. Things mess up. Somebody’s inevitably going to spill something on the plastic couch covers; somebody’s going to move the owl hangings and leave beer can rings on the lacquered end table.

So, fix it…or learn to love beer can rings.

People visit museums; they don’t live in them.

 

A version of this post was previously published at [D]mergent and is republished here with permission from the author.

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The post People Visit Museums – They Don’t Live In Them appeared first on The Good Men Project.

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David Pittman: One and the World

The Bristlecone Project is an awareness campaign of 1in6.org. Photographs and text by David Lisak, Ph.D.

In 2006 David took the first step in a long and painful journey back from the abyss of addiction and self-destruction. He promised his dying father that he would get clean. And he did. But as he cleaned his body and soul he began to confront the sexual abuse that his addiction had for so long obscured. Abuse perpetrated by a church youth minister when David was 12 to 15 years old.

Those three years of abuse destroyed the foundation of love and faith that had been built by his family. For 25 years David kept the abuse secret, and lost himself in a fog of drugs and alcohol. He was by turns destitute, at times incarcerated.

The promise to his dying father was the catalyst. And the bedrock of his mother’s love and devotion was the foundation on which David rebuilt his life. Therapy, 12-step meetings, and soul-deep determination were the bricks and mortar.

Today, David and his wife Linda help fellow survivors through Together We Heal, a non-profit they created that provides cost-free counseling for survivors who cannot afford it, and educates the community through public speaking.

“To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” – Dr. Seuss

Originally posted on 1in6.org

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Why Women Should Be Allowed to Evolve and Grow from Their Mistakes too


It seems almost daily on my timeline I witness a single man complaining about the dating decisions of single women. It basically adds up to why are women making the same bad decisions men do in choosing partners and navigating relationships.

Little girls are groomed from the time we are little to think about our future partner. A nameless, faceless and not guaranteed ghost who looms over all of our decisions. We are given toys that encourage us to “play house” in preparation for being a wife to someone someday. We get baby dolls, tea sets, plastic kitchenware and stoves. We pretend our future wedding and dream of the fairy tale in every movie, teen show and romantic comedy.

Some mothers even mold their daughters into “someone who can care for a home”. Our afternoons after school filled with cooking, doing laundry, cleaning and being prepared to take care of everyone else.

The expectation is this boot camp will churn out ready-made wives who will choose the proper partner, get married, bore children and find fulfillment.

There is a belief that women are smarter about choosing a partner and make all the right decisions even if they emerge from the same broken homes, neglect, abuse and even poverty as their male counterparts.

Boys are socialized to someday take care of a family, if he chooses. He is given the financial pressure of taken care of himself and eventually a family. And, expected to make all the right decisions to secure his future.

But, boys are expected to make dating mistakes and given time to arrive at the decision to become the mature, husband type at a certain age before he faces real pressure or scrutiny of his decision-making.

Some bachelors are forever given a pass to never have to “settle down” because that’s just “who they are”.

I think this way of thinking is dismissive of the complexity of both men and women.

Not everyone processes their experiences the same way nor receives the same type or guidance and support as a young adolescent or teen. We are disrespectful to their journey when we assume that everyone will arrive at the same conclusion or moral maturity at the same time.

There is a still a Scarlet A waiting in the wings for every woman that society deems “too” something. Yet, no one ever wonders why she is. Just as no one wonders why the boy is. No one thinks, what happened?

We are also becoming a society where household chores are everyone’s responsibility. People are waiting longer and longer to marry. Women can be equally financial responsible for themselves or a family. How do girls and boys benefit from these gender beliefs and roles but to shame them or leave them helpless if they haven’t met a partner?

Some people want to judge the relationship and sexual past of the other without getting real about their own. Some people want the other person to always have been responsible, loyal and preparing for them even before knowing they exist, while they were being reckless and putting themselves at risk.

But, it feels like an expected privilege that a man shouldn’t have to deal with the relationship past of a woman. And, a woman should always be preparing for her relationship future even when there is no guarantee she will have a husband.

Maybe a man may choose a woman whose sexual appetite doesn’t match his own because she suppressed hers while he overindulged.

Or, she is resentful because she ignored her desires in preparation for him to make her feel complete and now she finds herself wanting more than what she was sold.

Should we be more thoughtful in why we have these expectations and why are we training people to deny, control and suppress? Could we benefit from some equanimity and compassion? And, could we ask more questions about what someone may have been through that they are using sexual expression to deal with.

 

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9+ Ways to Be a Better Dad According to Science

Dads matter.

You probably already knew that, and so did I.

But don’t take it from me. Because the science on the subject is clear as day.

Children with good, loving, actively involved fathers have better outcomes in life.

They:

  • Have healthier relationships
  • Make more money & have more career success
  • Have less psychological problems
  • And often have higher IQs than their peers

That’s not to denigrate single mothers! Or lesbian couples! And it doesn’t doom kids who grow up without a father for one reason or another.

But if you’re alive and well, you owe it to your kids to be the best possible father you can be.

The question is: How exactly can you be a better dad?

Here are 9 ways you can start being a better dad right now, today:

  1. Start as soon as possible
  2. Just be around
  3. Call, write, text & email more
  4. Get involved at school
  5. Turn your health & fitness around
  6. Play rough
  7. Break stereotypes
  8. Work on your marriage/relationship
  9. Do the dirty work of discipline

Now let’s dive into the science and research behind these tips, and what kind of an impact they can really make.

(For each of these, I’ll also give you one idea you can use TODAY to get started.)

1. Start right now (as in, today)

The more you’re involved in your kid’s life from an early age, the better.

Seriously, there’s no time to waste!

So even though you can’t breastfeed or if you’re not the world’s greatest diaper changer, don’t miss out on key chances when your son or daughter is a baby to start forming that deep bond.

The research is pretty clear that the newborn-father bond is really important down the road for your child, with benefits like:

  • Faster brain development
  • Less depression later in life
  • More academic success
  • Healthier adult relationships

And that’s just for them.

The research also suggests that dads who actively form their own relationship with their newborn baby, including having alone time without their partner around, have less stress and more confidence about their parenting skills.

It’s super awesome that you’re doing research on how to be a better dad.

Time to get to work… like, now!

What you can do today:

Get some alone time with your child or baby.

Take them out of the house and give your partner a much-needed break, and give yourself some quality bonding time.

If it’s not feasible to get alone time, consider helping out or taking over a duty you wouldn’t normally do like:

  • Rocking baby back to sleep in the middle of the night
  • Preparing the bottles & feeding
  • Changing diapers
  • Doing school pick up or drop off
  • Helping with homework

You get the idea!

Just do anything you can today to get more one-on-one time or even just involvement with your kids, no matter how young or old.

Science says it’s a good idea.

2. Just be around

More than 1 in 4 kids in America grow up without their father in the home.

(It’s not clear if that includes lesbian couples, deceased fathers, or divorced dads who are still present and active in their child’s life.)

But what is clear is that there are way too many American dads who are simply not showing up.

(The number of single-father households with an absent mother is noticeably less, though growing.)

We talked above about the benefits for kids when they have an active, engaged father. But the opposite, or what can happen when dad is absent or not engaged, is equally horrible:

  • lower self-esteem
  • behavioral problems throughout life
  • poor academic performance
  • more likely to be involved in youth crime
  • higher frequency of drug and alcohol abuse

And the list goes on and on.

Just showing up at all and doing your best can be a great first step toward preventing a lot of this.

If you’re here, you’re probably already doing this, so congrats!

You’re already ahead of the curve.

What you can do today:

You’re really already doing it.

If you’re alive and in your child’s life enough to be doing research on how you can be a better dad, you’re doing better than a lot of men out there.

Keep up the good work.

3. Call, write, text, email, and video chat when you can’t be there

It’s been pretty extensively studied that men don’t communicate as much as women do.

We:

  • Talk less in general (12,000 spoke words a day vs 25,000 for women!)
  • Have trouble identifying and verbalizing our feelings
  • And prefer to communicate practical information (as opposed to talking just to bond)

I’m horribly guilty of this!

I go for very long stretches of time without speaking at all to some of my bestfriends in the world who live far away.

But that’s not a game you want to play when your relationship with your children is on the line.

The truth is, sometimes you just can’t be there.

Whether you’re traveling for work, or have strict visitation schedules after a contentious divorce, time apart from your children will be inevitable at some point.

Don’t let your “manliness” be an excuse to let the relationship and bond you share wither away.

For younger kids, they need to hear your voice and see your face frequently to strengthen their bond with you and practice their recognition of social cues.

For older kids and teenagers, it’s important to have regular conversations (real conversations!) as they learn to communicate their feelings. Not enough talking with parents can be followed by social isolation and shyness.

So stay in touch, however you can, whenever you can.

It really makes a difference.

What you can do today:

Get used to and comfortable with the idea of talking just to bond.

If you’re no good at conversation, don’t worry, there are plenty of tips all over the place that you can brush up on.

The easiest thing that most experts recommend is to ask more open-ended questions.

Try it tonight if you have older kids. Ask an open-ended question that isn’t logistical in nature:

Ask them about the details of something they’re interested in, and actually care about the answer!

One personal tip that I’ve found helps with younger kids, when you find that all you do is ask them questions (or tell them what to do), is to offer up more information from your end of the conversation.

My 3-year-old gets a kick out of it when I tell her everything I did that day.

4. Get more involved in what’s going on at school

Sometimes school can feel like this far-away, nebulous thing.

You:

  • Drop your kids off in the morning
  • Go about your business
  • Pick them up
  • Get a quick, cursory update about what happened
  • And then move on to other things!

A lot of parents don’t have much of an idea what’s going on until their kid is in disciplinary or academic trouble.

The research is pretty clear that when dads are involved in homework and school, kids typically do far better in academics.

So start making sure you go to parent-teacher conferences.

Help at the bake sale.

Volunteer at school functions.

Do anything you can to get involved early with your child’s education!

Just being present in that area of their life can have a huge positive ripple effect into their adulthood.

What you can do today:

Help with homework tonight!

Remember, it’s not your job to do your kids’ homework for them. Studies say if you start needing to offer more and more help, it could cause kids to be less autonomous and persistent at tasks.

But you can be:

  • motivator (encourage them to do it)
  • organizer (help them set up a good, quiet place to study)
  • distraction police (enforce the rules and shut off the TV!)

You probably also know your child’s learning style better than almost anyone else and can be a good bridge for them into topics they’re having trouble with.

The other benefit is that you’ll get an early indication of if your kid is struggling and needs extra help, and you can work with the school to make that happen before it becomes a problem.

5. Start taking your health and fitness seriously. Today!

I know, I know.

It’s really hard to eat right and exercise when you’re:

  • Raising kids
  • Working
  • Taking care of the house
  • And making time for other family and friends

But studies show that dad’s physical fitness and activity levels are most indicative of how active his children will be.

(It’s more highly-correlated than it is for mom.)

Just to be clear: You don’t need six pack abs to be a great dad.

But you absolutely SHOULD set a good example when it comes to eating right, staying active, and taking your health seriously.

Plan nutritious dinners for the family, do outside activities together, and live a positive example of overall wellness.

But a quick warning: If you actively and directly talk to your kids about weight and weight loss, you put them at risk for a lifetime of feeling unhappy and uncomfortable in their own bodies.

Keep that in mind, too.

When I finally got serious about this, I literally started with the most basic, free weightlifting routine I could find on the Internet and committed to going to the gym just 3 times per week.

(Here is the actual one I started with, from a great site called Nerd Fitness.)

A few years and several different programs later (quick plug for my favorite workout and nutrition program for dads), I have more energy and confidence than ever, and I have to believe that will alone will make me a better dad.

If not for you, do this for them.

What you can do today:

Forget working out for just one second.

Start by going to the damn doctor.

Did you know that a majority of men will only go to the doctor if they think something is seriously wrong?

Yeah, remember when I gave you all that credit for just “being around?”

Well, you won’t be around if you die young because you were too proud and macho to go see your doctor.

Schedule a check-up today and have those mysterious aches and pains taken care of.

6. Rough ’em up (playfully). It’s more important than you think.

There’s nothing quite like picking your kid up, throwing them over your shoulder, spinning them around, wrestling, etc.

The laughs that follow (from you and them) are some of the best things in life.

This is a classic dad-move, and if you already do lots of this, keep it up.

(If not, now is a good time to start.)

Researchers say dads roughhousing with their kids (yes, the girls, too) is obviously fun and great bonding time, but it could also be crucial for development.

Some of the benefits of roughhousing with your kids are:

  • Boosts in memory, learning, and language development
  • Strengthens emotional intelligence in kids
  • Helps develop morals and ethics in children

And plus, it’s just seriously fun and strengthens the bond between the two of you like almost nothing else in the world can.

What you can do today:

Bodyslam your kid.

OK, OK, not hard.

But toss ’em onto a bed. Wrestle them to the ground. Play tug of war.

Get a little bit rough with them every now and then. (Just be safe and careful about it)

It’s so much better for them than you could have possibly known!

7. Watch out for gender bias in your parenting style

It can be really easy to fall into the traps of how we think we’re “supposed” to treat boys and girls.

Because it’s not just coming from our brains. It’s coming from all around us at all times!

(My 3-year-old already INSISTS girls have to like pink and boys have to like blue, no matter how many times we tell her that’s not true.)

Just be aware of some of the stereotypes and make sure you’re consciously giving each of your kids all you have to give.

Want to know how to be a better dad to a son?

Don’t forget to talk to him. Really talk, like openly, about emotions. And not just the good ones.

Studies show fathers are far more likely to talk openly with their daughters about vulnerable emotions and topics.

Bonding over baseball and his first beer are great. But make sure you’re having those important talks, too.

Want to know how to be a better dad to a daughter?

Don’t forget to have some rough-and-tumble playtime with her, too (see above), and encourage achievement.

Tell her you’re proud of her.

Fathers have been observed to be less likely, on average, to do these things with their girls.

What you can do today:

The researchers in the link above studied the way dads interacted with their kids using a little microphone clipped onto their belt that would record occasional bursts of sound throughout the day.

You don’t have to go that far, but start paying attention to how you’re behaving with your son or daughter (if you have both, how do you do things differently?)

Think about if you’re missing out on certain experiences and bonding moments with your kids because you’re too rigidly adhering to those gender norms.

8. Put your marriage or partnership first as much as possible

This sounds counterintuitive.

You should actually put less energy and focus on your kids? And somehow that’s better for them?

Absolutely. Just hear me out.

In an article exploring “deadbeat dads” in the New York Times, David Brooks writes:

The key weakness is not the father’s bond to the child; it’s the parents’ bond with each other.

He goes on to explain that researchers have uncovered a common pattern:

  • Couple gets married
  • Couple has a child
  • Couple falls out of love for a variety of reasons
  • Couple splits up
  • New man enters the picture and biological dad is resigned to a role as “occasional best friend”

It’s a heartbreaking tale, but a common one even in fathers who desperately want to be there for their kids.

Parents who are happy and fulfilled in their marriage have a tendency to pass that joy on to their kids.

In an article on Psychology Today, it’s said that “a parent’s happiness allows children to feel happy and to trust that parent to meet their emotional needs.”

Let’s not get this twisted: Children of divorce do just fine in the long run.

But I think most of us would rather not put them through that. And all the research points to the fact that staying in an unhappy and contentious relationship would be about one of the worst things you can do for them.

What you can do today:

Plan a date night.

It sounds simple, but research says that doing something as basic and obvious as going out together even once a month gives parents a better chance of staying together.

Yes, life is hectic and it’s hard to get a babysitter.

Don’t let that be an excuse to let your relationship with your partner wither away.

Being a better husband will likely make you a better dad.

9. Don’t always be their best friend

Simply put?

You have to discipline your kids.

Don’t always leave it up to mom to be the bad guy (statistics show that more often than not, mom is the one setting rules, boundaries, and limits around the house).

In an article in the Telegraph, counselor Janey Downshire says:

[Discipline from dad] helps the child start to find his brake pedal, and also, to be able to ultimately self-police, develop a conscience in the long term and have that moral compass.

How about spanking? The research shows that, although moms are more likely to set and enforce rules, dads are more likely overall to resort to physical punishment like spanking.

Well, if you’re here for the actual, hard science, it’s pretty clear.

Spanking leads to a higher likelihood of issues with depression and anger in children over the long term.

What you can do today:

Let’s face it. On any given day, your child will probably do something:

  • Rude
  • Dangerous
  • Mean
  • Bratty
  • Or something else

Today is a good day to be the one to step in and correct that behavior.

Not by hitting them!

But by calmly and clearly explaining your expectations and enforcing consequences when those aren’t met.

Some good consequences for kids other than spanking include:

  • Taking away privileges
  • Ignoring them until they adjust their behavior
  • Not protecting them from the natural consequences of their actions

BONUS: How to be a better dad after divorce

So regarding #8 on the list (put your marriage or partnership first).

Sometimes, even after you give it everything you’ve got, things just don’t work out.

I don’t need to quote you the statistics on that.

But your job as dad doesn’t go away even if the relationship fails. In fact, it might become even more important.

How can you be a better dad after going through a divorce?

My one tip according to science is to take care of yourself.

You know how we talked about love and fulfillment in marriage flowing out to the kids?

It’s the same for single dads. If you’re happy and content in your new life as a solo father, that only gives you more positive energy to put into your parenting.

The science agrees. Taking time to rediscover yourself and find happiness is super important. And when the relationship wasn’t a good one in the first place, you’ll often end up better off as a stronger, happier person.

What you can do today:

Do one thing for yourself that you enjoy, especially something you didn’t make enough time for when you were part of a couple.

Whether that’s:

  • Exercise
  • Building something
  • Playing sports
  • Or just playing video games

Take some much-needed you-time. It’ll give you the energy and morale boost you need to keep being an amazing dad.

Wrapping Up

Being a great dad is far from an easy job.

Each and every day comes with new challenges. And they only get harder and harder over the years.

When the rest of life gets in the way (work, stress, marital problems), that only compounds the difficulty.

But the biggest and most important thing you can do to be a better dad is to show up and try.

That’s really what it comes down to.

I hope the rest of the tips on this list help, and they should! After all, they’re backed by some pretty great science and social research.

But if you do your best every day and learn from your mistakes when you screw up, you’ll be well on your way to being an amazing father.

Previously Published on Dad Fixes Everything

 ID: 1277518456

The post 9+ Ways to Be a Better Dad According to Science appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2UHGBV7

We Don’t Talk Enough About Money and Therapy Part 2

We Don't Talk Enough About Money and Therapy

In my last post I spoke about how therapists and clients don’t talk often enough about money and therapy, particularly within the therapy and how money is a dynamic between the client and therapist. It’s something that too often goes unspoken, but can be a fruitful place to talk about anger and shame…along with some other feelings.

With this post, I want to talk about how money–especially if we don’t talk about it–can play a damaging role in our lives and can affect our relationships.

Talking about Money and Therapy

Money, the lack of it and the abundance of it, is a fruitful place for feelings to hide. Particularly when we begin to explore family of origin issues and how money played a role in our families when we were growing up.

Money, for many families, is a container. We’ve all heard the stereotype of the parent who showed their love by buying gifts instead of saying “I love you”. It’s such a weighty issue because most of us, kids or not, love getting things. We like when someone spends money on us. But if it’s not giving us all we want and need, it can be very difficult to say that to the giver.

We don’t want the things to disappear, but we want more than just the things.

And when we want more from the person who just gave us a lot, we’re often told we’re being greedy. We’re being ungrateful. “Don’t you understand that mom/dad can’t show up to every soccer game? Don’t you understand that they need to work—and they need to work because of you you ungrateful little kid!”

Using money in the place of expressing feelings encourages the other person to bottle up their emotions. It can lead to people being judged by what salary they make and what they can buy.

Grief can get lost in money very easily.

Guilt can be contained in money.

Money can be used to ward off someone’s anger.

And if we let money do that, we avoid the feeling, and while we may “get away” with not experiencing the negative feeling in the moment, we may rob others of the chance to express their feelings as well. We may give the message that their feelings don’t matter because…money should make up for it.

Our History with Money Can Affect Our Present Relationships

We need to examine how we use money in our lives, with friends, family, and otherwise.

Lacking money, as a child or an adult, can be a cause of great shame. Sometimes worse than our own shame is remembering the shame of our parents if they weren’t able to take us on a big vacation or buy us the thing we told them every other kid had.

We may not have known it at time (although, we probably were pretty aware of something), but I’ve heard many clients talk about the guilt they carry as adults because of a childhood memory where they pointed out their parents not being able to afford to buy them something. They spend their time now blaming themselves, but we can reverse this shame/guilt filtering if we are able to move through the idea of money as the measure of our self-worth.

But to do so, we’ll need to talk about it.

We’ll need to discuss how it feels to spend money for therapy. Which is probably taking money away from somewhere else.

To talk about how giving money (to a friend, to charity, to a cause) may be a wonderful act, but may also be doing the emotional heavy lifting while allowing you to avoid feeling guilty for what you have or for not doing more for that cause or charity.

Gender, race, class, age—you name the ism and money is a part of it.

And I think it deserves to be explored.

Originally appeared on Counseling for Men.

Photo by Pixabay.

The post We Don’t Talk Enough About Money and Therapy Part 2 appeared first on The Good Men Project.

from The Good Men Project http://bit.ly/2IJCHtk