top of page
Image by AbsolutVision

Tip Sheets

Updated: December 1st, 2022

Tip Sheets

Reducing Family Stress

As we ease our way out of the current pandemic, old and new stresses will appear. In all families, the stress that each individual experiences, always impacts other family members.  The most important tips to keep in mind are:

  • try to be understanding and accepting of each other's struggles;

  • try to not be judgmental

  • offer support.

Effective communication in families is the key to positive growth and change. 

A Safe Internal Space

Imagine how helpful it will be, when faced with growing stress and anxiety, to be able to take a deep, slow breath and drop into a safe, relaxed and calm space inside you. In this space, connected to your 'observing self', you are able to consider experiences from a variety of perspectives, consider alternative ways of responding, and make choices that are best for you and for those closest to you. Such a space exists within each of us and it can become stronger and more accessible.

Effective Parenting Strategies

We are all creatures of habit, in how we think, feel and interact. In parenting, and in family systems in general, we fall into patterns of interacting - including patterns that have become reinforcing of a problem. The solution is to engage in practices that can stand against the problem and shift the pattern - then, parents become the source of strength and positive change. Watch for opportunities to praise and reinforce attitudes and behaviours that you want to see more often - and you will!

Managing Anxiety & Depression

Creating a strong and accessible 'safe space' inside us, provides a solid foundation on which we can build a more effective system for responding to anxiety, depression and illness in general. Accepting that emotions will come and go - worries, fears, frustrations, disappointments, anger and sadness for example - allows us to not 'get stuck' in them. We know that they will pass, as long as we let them.

Effective Parenting Strategies

All parents want to have more open communication with their children – particularly when they are having a hard time and, how parents respond, when the young person does share their experiences, will determine whether they will come back to share more. Below, are some of the key components to build more open and efficient communication.

Accept (without judgment) what the young person brings to you – it is their experience and perspective. Accepting without judgment is one of the most difficult things to do as a parent because it involves “active listening” – listening without interruption, without offering “solutions”. Once the young person has shared an experience, then comes “validation”, which shows you get what they are feeling. Parental instinct is often to try and take pain away by sharing things like: “you have no reason to be so sad, you have everything you need” or “look at all the children in the word who don’t have what you have”. Such statements are usually experienced as both judgmental and invalidating – this decreases the chances that they will share with you again.

Validate experience – “I can see this is a real struggle for you.” Or “I am sorry that this is so hard for you right now.” Or “I can see you are really worried right now.”

When you validate the experience that someone shares with you, this increases the chances that they will continue to share more – often parents do not need to “solve” anything, just listen and validate.

Support by offering help – “How can I help? Would you like to talk more or do something together?”

No one can get through hard times alone – we need to know that others we care about understand and are there for us. When young people know that parents will listen and support them, they are more likely to share.

Hope – reinforce that there is always a solution to every problem and that they are not alone. “We will get through this together.”

Reminders that any problem can be resolved and that they are not alone in their struggle, reinforces hope.

Non-Verbal Communication – remind yourself that we all communicate through facial expressions, tone of voice, as well as the words we choose.

*These are things to aim for – when situations arise, we do the best we can! No one is perfect!

Mind Body Spirit

Developing an Internal Safe Quiet Space

During difficult times, when emotions threaten to overwhelm us, negative thoughts get louder, our breathing becomes quick and shallow, our muscles tense up, and the negative thoughts and emotions get stronger…leading to feeling like we are losing control.
Now…imagine how different this experience will be, when you are able to drop down into a safe, quiet and relaxed space inside you. A space protected from overwhelming emotions and negative thoughts…what relief will that bring. Identifying a safe space inside involves your memories and imagination – you may have one or more memories of places you have been that could form the foundation of a safe space – or, you can create one or more safe spaces from your imagination (could be on a beach, in a garden, in the forest, on a mountain, or anywhere). Building this space inside you can be a very positive, ongoing experience, as you add things that you could see, hear, feel and sense.
When you create such a quiet, peaceful place inside you – this can eventually become you private “control centre” and the best place to make important decisions or choices in your life.
If you wish to begin developing your own safe space, below is a brief guide:

•    Find a comfortable position sitting or laying
•    Focus on your breathing and slowing it down, taking each breath in deeply through your nose, filling your lungs like balloons and letting each breath out, as slowly as you can
•    Bring your attention to each cool breath in….and each warm breath out
•    Notice your body relaxing more and more with each breath and your mind becoming more calm
•    Notice when memories of relaxed and calm places come to mind or have your imagination create one
•    Your body continues the deep, slow breathing, as you begin to add details to this space – what you can see, hear, feel and sense, when you are there
•    Take your time – begin with just a few minutes at a time
•    Every time you drop into this space, it becomes stronger and more accessible – and its always with you!

bottom of page