Is Your Child More Anxious and Worried Since the Election?

During the election season, many of our children experienced a tremendous amount of stress and worry about who would win the Presidency.  It became especially apparent to me the night of the election. My daughters had invited a bunch of friends over to watch the election results.  As it became more clear from the news that Donald Trump might win, my younger daughter and her friends, who are all about 14 years old, looked at me with tears in their eyes and asked, “Allison, are we going to die?”

I was certainly not happy that Donald Trump might become President, but I wondered why they were reacting so acutely to the news.  “Why do you think that?” I asked. One after the other, they gave me their reasons why.  One child said, “My mom said if Donald Trump wins we will all be doomed.” Another girl said, “My dad said Donald Trump is incompetent and can’t run this country.” My daughter said, “Mom, I heard you ask dad ‘Do you want Donald Trump’s finger on the button?” I realized at that moment that a key reason they were so upset was because of the conversations many of us were having in front of our children about Donald Trump becoming President.  Interestingly, some of my friends who voted for Donald Trump also admitted to having had very little filter when they were having conversations about Hilary Clinton in front of their children.

As I looked at the fearful faces of these young girls, all I could do was imagine how worried and anxiety-ridden I would be if I were a 14-year-old child hearing from my parents that the world was not safe if a particular person became President. With much less life experience, our children view these comments as Continue reading…

A Survival Guide For Uncertain Times Week #3: Give up Positive Thinking

American optimism and positive economic sentiment in the United States of America as a national government hope metaphor as a wiper clearing the gray dark wet clouds with 3D illustration elements.

It is the end of week three of Donald Trump’s presidential term, and this week my Survival Guide will address the pitfalls of positive thinking. I have spoken to many people who didn’t vote for Donald Trump and are now struggling with his daily tweets, executive orders and Cabinet appointments. I find that many of the people I spoke to are either completely negative about Trump’s Presidency or are trying to stay positive and failing miserably.

When you are completely comfortable with uncertainty, a positive outlook comes naturally. You are not rattled by new events or tweets and can sustain faith that life will work out one way or another. It doesn’t mean you are not concerned or active in your community, you just tend not to worry so much about the future. Most people, though, have some degree of fear of the unknown, and turn either to negative or to positive thinking to help themselves feel certain, while deep down they are really afraid. The problem is that the certainty we seek doesn’t exist. The more we try to lock into any perspective, the more pain and chaos we feel.

A person feeling negativity towards the Trump administration will feel pain most of the time because they are always projecting that whatever is occurring today cannot get better or that bad things are sure to happen in the future. The person Continue reading…

A Survival Guide for Uncertain Times Week 2: Communicate

Ponte che collega le persone

“I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.” –Mother Teresa

A few weeks ago, I attended the New York City Women’s March. When I got home, I received a call from a friend who voted for Donald Trump.  He felt the Women’s March was divisive and portrayed those who had voted for Donald Trump as horrible people. He said he was not a horrible person simply because he voted for Donald Trump over Hilary Clinton. He told me he had seen on the news signs from the march that proclaimed, “He is not my president,” and “Dump Trump.” He heard a clip from Madonna in Washington, DC that he found violent and upsetting. I tried to express to him how wonderful the March was for me and how the people at these marches care about important issues facing the world today. But my friend could only focus on the negatives he has seen on the news.

As I lay awake in bed that night, I felt overwhelmed that my relationship with this dear old friend had become so argumentative. The next day I called him back. The first thing I said was, “Donald Trump is President of the United States.  I don’t want to discuss the election and I just want to focus on what is happening today.  Let’s talk facts.”

As the discussion continued, the things my friend said to me sounded like a string of Fox News sound bites. I probably sounded to him like a tape of MSNBC sound bites!  Again, we were getting nowhere.  My friend and I took a pause. We each Continue reading…

Ugh, Another Snowy Day

Border collie young dog play in winter“A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears. Michel de Montaigne

I stayed up late one night last week watching the weather to try to better understand how much snow we would get in NYC by morning. All of the forecasters spoke in that serious and ominous tone. I found myself feeling dread about the morning commute and negative about the day to come. My mind was far from being in the moment and I could not enjoy my warm bed and cozy cover. I was already living out the next day with projections of discomfort and cancellations, and had a restless sleep. When I woke up the next day, I was exhausted and both of my children were disappointed that there was not a snow day. My younger one resisted getting out of bed and ate breakfast at a snail’s pace. My teenager lost control of her mood and was quite difficult to manage. I started to get upset that they would both be late for school.

Then, all of a sudden, in the middle of it all I was able to see my resistance to the moment and the day. I realized that my lack of acceptance of the moment was the source of my stress and doom and gloom scenario. I took a deep breath and accepted everyone being late. I took a deep breath and put my snowshoes on when it was time to leave. I walked my younger daughter to school and we laughed about the deep puddles and discussed whether it should have been a snow day. Sure, we were a bit wet and uncomfortable, but we also were happy and talkative. After dropping her off, I walked back home and felt appreciation that my feet were not wet and I admired everyone’s tenacity around me as they all walked a little slower to their destinations. Interestingly, when I stopped resisting the experience and projecting negativity, I felt grateful and interested in what was happening around me.

How often do we dread future events in our lives? We lock hard into how we believe that future event will be and suffer greatly before we even get there. We also leave the moment and miss the life that is before us.

Let’s try to remember that Maybe whatever we are worrying about will end up okay, Maybe it will get better or Maybe we will find a way to accept what is happening and still find the joy of living! This way we can accept the moment with more ease and still have hope for warmer and sunnier days.