Parental Anxiety (June 2022 Newsletter)

I appreciate how easy it is for us to feel triggered into experiencing worries.

This is especially the case when it comes to worrying about people we deeply care for, the attachments that are deepest and most meaningful for us (like ones we experience with our children and partners).

As the saying goes, whatever you care about the most can also be your weakest link when it comes to experiencing triggers, anxiety, and stress.

Appreciate that evolution favored vigilant mothers, watchful for dangers which could harm their children, endowing them with a sensitivity for anxiety.

Our brain is wired to help us to survive, and it does so by prioritizing the focus of our attention on future threats and worst-case scenarios (based on what we’ve already experienced or heard about in the media).

I feel that it is worthwhile to appreciate this human tendency for our attention to prioritize concerns about what can go “wrong,” especially in relation to our loved ones.

Many parents of loved ones with special needs are additionally mindful (worries about) of their loved ones’ unique challenges in negotiating a neurotypical world.

The tendency to worry needs a compassionate, kind response from our Selves.

Research suggests that learning to be with your physical experience of anxiety, while responding to it with kindness and acceptance, paradoxically makes this experience more likely to shift.

I always feel as if I am standing at cross roads. To my left there is a giant “worries” neon sign, trying to grab my attention and a glimpse of familiar, well-trodden path. The sign to the right points to “hope,” or “growth.” It feels a little more effortful and unfamiliar, uncertain…

I get to choose, many times a day, what I want to get inspired by and who I want to “work for,” Worry or Growth.

Kindness towards both makes it easier to ground myself in a perspective beyond the pull of worries, that ultimately will inspire me to choose the behaviors that will lead to more growth.

Being inspired by growth, goals, or that we what we would love to see manifest is likely to push us closer to best case scenarios; and research proves that there is a self-fulfilling prophecy to positive expectations.

What would you, personally, like to inspire your behavior today?

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