Preparing for the Empty Nest

At some point in your life as a parent, you’ll be faced with the fact that your child has grown up and wants to move out. That’s the plan, isn’t it? You became a parent not because you had this vision of always having a child at home to raise, right? Hopefully, part of your vision was seeing your child flourish and grow into an independent adult living on their own.empty nest

So if this is the vision, why is empty nest syndrome such an issue?

More importantly, how can you avoid suffering from it? How can you plan ahead so that you can happily make the transition?

To start, it’s important to recognize what empty nest syndrome is. Both men and women can suffer from it and Psychology Today defines it as “feelings of depression, sadness, and/or grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children come of age and leave their childhood homes.”

Looking at the life of a typical parent, it’s understandable that you might have these feelings. More than likely, being a parent has been a full-time job for two decades or more. This makes it hard to avoid feeling like being Mom or Dad is a major part of your identity. You may feel like you’re losing that part of yourself as your baby heads out the door. If you’re experiencing these feelings, this is a perfect opportunity to take some time for yourself and reassess the age old question:

“Who are you?”

Be willing to embrace whatever you’re feeling. You may feel sadness or grief and that’s okay. You may also feel joy and a sense of freedom. That’s okay, too. You may feel a complete rainbow of emotions during this transition. Journaling can help. Short sessions of deep breathing or meditation can also help. I also encourage you to continue tapping into your Internal Guidance System (IGS) to help process your thoughts and feelings.

If you were a stay-at-home parent, the change can be more stressful and startling than it would be for a parent who worked outside the home. You may have devoted a larger percentage of your day to day activities to caring for your children. You may have even put aside your career or hobbies in order to be there to chauffeur, chaperone, and support your child physically and emotionally.

If possible, you can set yourself up for a happier transition long before the actual expected departure date.

Start by recognizing that you’re more than your child’s parent. Start consciously adding other people into your life: choose some people who have similar interests, but aren’t the parents of your child’s friends. It’s important to make make the effort to find other adults who don’t know your child at all.

Even though you might not think you have it, carve out a block of time that is for you without your child. Use it to be with other adults whether you take a class, get back to your favorite hobby, read, explore, exercise your body, or volunteer in your community.

Carve out another block of time that’s for you and your spouse to be together as a couple. Have a date night or catch a matinee. Go for walks together. If it feels like the only thing you seem to have in common is your child, then it’s a good idea to spend the time to get to know each other again. Rediscover the man or woman you fell in love with. This is your chance to dream about the perfect vacations you can take alone together.

Place focus on your health. Move your body. Eat healthy foods that you can enjoy. Laying a healthy groundwork now will make it harder to fall prey to bad habits when your child is out of the house.

If you follow these simple steps now, you’ll have an easier transition when the time comes and your child moves out on their own. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel sadness or miss them. You raised a pretty awesome person, so it’s natural to miss them. By allowing yourself to have a life without your child, you’ve also given them time to explore life as an individual. Ironically, this separateness can be one of the greatest gifts you can give them and be what brings them back to visit, voluntarily and lovingly.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

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Traveling with Children

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or are new to the rigors and adventures that traveling brings, traveling with children is a very different experience then traveling solo or with other adults. That isn’t to say that it should be avoided. Taking your children on trips can be great for the entire family. To ensure that the trip is as enjoyable as possible for everyone concerned, it’s a good idea to keep a few things in mind.

Schedule play dates

Traveling gives you the opportunity to teach your children about other cultures, nature, and to visit a variety of museums and educational attractions. That’s all fine and can give your children an advantage when they get back to school, but it can also be exhausting or even boring when overdone.

Remember that your children are still young and that this is also a time for fun.

Allowing for scheduled breaks from traveling, toting luggage, and learning will go a long way towards your children’s enjoyment of the adventure.

Consider having a rest day now and then, especially if you’re traveling for extended periods. Not only is this a good chance for the children to release some pent up energy, it can be a healthy break for everyone.

When planning your itinerary, seek out some places that give the children time for their own version of R&R. Whether they love amusement parks, playing at the beach, climbing trees, cooking, the arts or any other specific outdoor activities, you can incorporate some of their favorite pastimes into the schedule.

You may discover some fun activities for them that are also different and new. Sometimes these fun adventures become the highlight of a trip, especially when it’s new for the entire family.

Gather family input

Traveling is a lot more fun when you get to have a say in where you’re going and what you’ll see. Any time you leave home, you’re facing change, which can be scary. New sights, sounds, and smells bombard you from all directions. Different foods challenge even the most adventurous eaters. Learning different customs and dealing with different forms of currency or different languages can be daunting and confusing.

Consider discussing your ideas for a trip with the entire family. Allow each member to have time to talk about what they’d like to experience most. Don’t be surprised if this conversation takes place over several family meetings as the idea starts to sink in. Let your children know it’s okay to express their concerns as well as what excites them about the upcoming adventure.

If your family has children whose ages vary widely, don’t be surprised to hear very different suggestions. They may seem like they’re incompatible, but with a little creativity, you’ll probably be able to incorporate a little something for everyone.

Pack a few extras, but not too much

Allow your children to bring something that’s comforting to them. For a young child, that might be a favorite toy to play or sleep with. Older kids might want their electronics in order to keep in touch with friends.

You’ll want your children to have appropriate clothing and shoes for whatever you have planned. Some children will need your guidance as to what’s appropriate, especially if you’re traveling abroad.

Also keep in mind that most places in the world carry just about everything you’ll need, so it’s okay to pack the minimum amount of things. When you do this, it keeps your luggage lighter, making traveling a lot more fun and leaves room for some souvenirs.

Encourage your children to create memories along the way. This may be in the form of taking photographs, collecting postcards, or writing in a journal. Think about bringing a blank journal for each child so they can write things down or slip in something to trigger a memory later.

Be willing to shift gears

So you’ve settled on a plan. You have your tickets, your itinerary, your bags are packed, and you’re on your way. All is going well and the family seems to be having a good time.

Then suddenly, it isn’t going so well.

Things happen, especially when you’re traveling. Be open to the idea that you might have to shift your schedule a bit. Perhaps you tried to get too many things into the day and people are feeling burned out. Maybe there’s more togetherness than you’re used to and there’s a need for some elbow room. It could be that your days are starting too early or ending too late and the children are short on sleep. Are your children overstimulated with all the new and different things surrounding them?

When you hit a bump in the road, it’s the perfect time to revaluate and see if you need to modify the plan. You might need to add a day of rest and forego seeing a museum or cultural event. Or you might just want to juggle the itinerary. Sometimes the spontaneous rest days that take advantage of what’s right there in front of you will be the most memorable of the entire trip.

Set your intention to have fun.

Your mood and energy can go a long way to setting the tone for the entire family. You’ll have a much better chance of achieving the goal of having a fun-filled day if you wake up with that intention rather than dreading any hiccups that may occur.

Traveling with your children can be a wonderful adventure. Let yourself experience it and be fully present with your family. Just as you want your children to connect with the adventure and with you, be sure to connect with them as well.

Keeping these tips in mind you can create a lifetime of memories. Hopefully you’ll be able to establish a pattern of fun traveling together as a family — even if things don’t always go exactly as planned.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friends

Let’s face facts: sometimes you just don’t like some of your child’s friends. You’re only human after all and there are going to be people you just don’t resonate with well.

While that’s definitely okay, it can be challenging when your son or daughter’s BFF grates on your nerves. Chances are, you can handle an irritating friend even if you don’t understand the chemistry. You may not particularly enjoy having them around, but you love your children, so you try to be patient and deal.hold onto the jumprope

Sometimes it isn’t that the friend in question is irritating. They may just be so different that you’re uncomfortable.

As much as you like to think that you’re open-minded and accepting, there may be cases where someone’s so different from your experience that it’s a challenge for you to warm up to them.

These differences may be cultural, religious, or social. Depending on your background, it may be a challenge to accept or figure out how to communicate with a person from a different country or culture. It may feel like you don’t like this person because you don’t understand them or you have a fear that they might pull your child away from you and your own comfort zone

But what if it’s more than a personality issue? What if you’re concerned that a new friend is a bad influence on your child or even dangerous? Do you leave it alone or do you interfere?

Unless your child’s life is in immediate danger because of a friendship, it might be a good idea to take a little time before taking any action. As hard as it is to accept that your studious daughter who’s never gotten into trouble in her life has fallen for the bad boy in town, you sometimes have to accept that opposites attract.

Forbidding relationships, whether they’re friendships or romances, rarely work out the way you hope they do. More often than not, your fight against the union strengthens their resolve to be together rather than draw them apart. Instead of fighting it, you might want to step back and consider whether or not you’re making an honest, objective assessment of the troublesome person. Or could it be that there’s something else going on that’s influencing your feelings?

For example, if the new friend reminds you of someone from your past that history could unfavorably color your views. If the person from your past was a bad apple you may project that onto your child’s friend, no matter how wonderful the friend truly is.

That’s not to say that your instincts are incorrect. It could be that you’re picking up on subtle (or not so subtle) clues that are setting off alarm bells.

One of the best ways to know if your reaction to this person is accurate or if you’re projecting things from your past is to check in with your Internal Guidance System (IGS). As challenging as the relationship may be, your IGS will help you to see it for what it is, including how it may be a benefit to your son or daughter. You may find that by tapping into your IGS, you clearly see the person behind the different clothes, long hair, or foreign appearance, and see what your child sees — a wonderful human being.

As much as opposites do attract, it’s also true that people generally gravitate towards others with whom they have something in common. While it may seem like two incompatible statements on the surface, it really means that you can find important things in common with someone who seems quite different in other ways.

Your child deserves your trust in choosing their friends. They may befriend people you don’t care for. And as much as you’d prefer to love each and every one of their friends, it’s actually healthy for them to have a wide variety of people in their life.

It speaks highly of your child when they can see beyond the things that separate people and see the uniqueness in others even if they do pick their bad apples now and then. As hard as it may be for you to step back and watch that happen, it’s about their life and their unique path. In the end, they may learn some of their most important life lessons from the very people you wanted to keep them from.

For more, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Overcome Emotional Manipulation Using the Law of Attraction

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You are bombarded every day with messages that are intended to persuade you to take specific actions. These messages may come from your family members or employers, but many more come from advertisers who are intent on manipulating your emotions. 

Fortunately, you can learn to use the Law of Attraction to trump their best efforts and make decisions that are best for you.

Advertisers generally do not have any malicious intent. They merely want to convince you to buy whatever it is they are selling.

Sometimes this is just a product that they want you to spend your money and time on. Other people are selling ideas that they want you to believe or buy into.

If you ever watch television, listen to the radio, or read the newspaper, then you know what I’m talking about. There are advertisements designed to tug at your heartstrings, encouraging you to buy a greeting card for someone special or to put on a specific type of aromatic coffee so you can have a family bonding experience.

Infomercials demonstrate gizmos that solve a problem you didn’t know you had – they want you to believe you can’t live without the gizmo in question. You learn about ways to make money, classes to keep your family safe, tests to take to make sure you have not contracted the latest virus; the list goes on and on.

Rather than allowing your emotions be swept to and fro like a badminton birdie, you can learn to trust your Internal Guidance System so you make the best decisions for yourself. Taking a few minutes every day to send out positive affirmations can also work wonders to keep you healthy, happy, and independent — no matter how hard the advertisers work at their job.

Awareness is the first step to making changes in your life. First, you need to become aware of what you are feeling. Pay attention to how you feel when you are watching commercials. Advertisers spend a lot of time and money learning about human psychology. They are trying to get a reaction and generally have pretty good methods on how to get the reaction necessary.

Most people merely react to their feelings without making a conscious choice. Often they are not even aware of why they are reacting. They aren’t aware of the feelings or the manipulation. By being aware of the feeling, you then have the power to choose how to act.

There is nothing wrong with being reminded to thank a parent or teacher for something they have done for you, but do it because you want to. Do it in a way that you want to, not merely because a commercial brought a tear to your eye or a lump to your throat.

Once you develop the habit of being aware of your feelings, you will be able to see and overcome the efforts to manipulate your behavior. Now you are in the driver’s seat and you can start to think about what you want and you can consciously create the life of your dreams.

For more information about the Universal Law of Attraction, please visit www.SharonBallantine.com.

Applying the Law of Attraction to Retrain Your Brain

ImageEveryone understands the concept of training your body for sports and activities, but it’s easy to forget that you can also train our brains to get it into peak performance. If you don’t physically exercise, your body will not retain its tone. Similarly, if you don’t use your mental “muscle,” then it will not operate at its best either.  

No matter what kind of athletic ability people possess, anyone can change their fitness level and skill set by changing their exercise routine.

 A runner with years of practice who is fantastic on the track may not do well at cross-country running. They will need to adapt their workout routine if they decide to become a marathoner, or a tri-athlete.

You have also trained your brain to think and respond in specific ways. That training has taken place over your entire lifetime — training you have received from your parents, your teachers, your friends, and your various jobs.

Just as the runner can modify their exercise routine, you can also modify your thinking and retrain your brain using Law of Attraction tools.

You won’t have to join a gym to retrain your brain, but you will need to make a commitment and put in some effort. If you do, you will begin to see changes in your life, and so will others.

Don’t be surprised if people begin to ask what you are doing differently. They will notice changes are occurring in the way you present yourself and in events that are happening in your life.

Affirmations are one tool that many people are familiar with. Positive affirmations are like barbells; simple tools on the surface, but they have a powerful impact on your life when used properly.

Barbells give the best results with small weights lifted repeatedly over time. Lifting a barbell once a day or once in a while will not yield results. Trying to lift a barbell that is too heavy will not give you the strength you are looking for because you will either get frustrated or even injure yourself.

Selecting the correct weight, one that you can lift multiple times per session without getting overly fatigued, is crucial to successfully using barbells for physical fitness.

Think of affirmations in the same way. You will need to repeat your affirmations many times throughout the day, every day.

Consider the “weight” of your affirmation. Can you “lift” it with confidence or is it too heavy? Affirmations can grow as you do, so start with small phrases that build you up as your confidence and abilities increase.

The former couch potato used to have to drag themselves off the sofa to go for a run, but now with practice and determination, they are running marathons. Just as a physical body will adjust to exercise, your brain will adjust to your mental retraining. With repetition, the affirmations will become easier to say.  Your confidence and manifestation skills will grow and you will be truly running your life.

 

For more, please visit SharonBallantine.com

Coaching and Mentoring Our Children to Use Their Internal Guidance System

Children are very aware of their feelings. They may not know how to articulate what they are feeling to us, but they definitely know how they feel. Being aware of how they feel is an important part of learning to use their Internal Guidance System (IGS), which will help them to live their highest path as children and as adults.

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If we can teach our children at a very early age how to listen to their IGS, then they will learn to trust that inner wisdom and be the independent teens and adults that we wish them to be.

When children are very young, most haven’t learned to hide their feelings yet.

While there are times that, in the moment, this may not seem like a good thing, being aware of their feelings and learning to trust in them is a key to their future happiness.

Conventional wisdom has us teach our children to conform. This starts up a contradiction inside them.

They feel one way, but are told to behave in another way. When this happens often enough, they begin to doubt their feelings.

We want to encourage our children to trust their feelings so they can then use their Internal Guidance System as a tool throughout their lives. We can help our children develop their IGS “muscle” by reminding them to check in with their feelings.

When they are faced with a decision and they do not know which choice to make, ask them to consider how they are feeling with both options. Does this choice make them feel happy or sad? Do they feel lighter at the idea of it or heavier?

Of course, the words you use will vary depending on the age of your children and their vocabulary level. You can even use a chart that has pictures of different facial expressions to help them indicate if they feel good about a particular choice or not.

You can also help your children to determine how to proceed by exploring ideas that come about from the initial choice. You help them navigate the stream of emotions, always steering them towards the ones that most excite them, just as you would paddle a canoe with the river’s current rather than paddling upstream.

By coaching and mentoring them early to navigate using their Internal Guidance System when they encounter other people who would steer them wrong, they have already grown confident in their IGS and ability to make their own decisions for their lives.

Our children will not always make choices that we agree with, or even approve of, but by allowing them the room to make mistakes, we are helping them to fine-tune their IGS. Of course we will do everything we can to keep our children safe, but beyond that we are here to guide, support, and believe in their abilities. 

We are not here to dictate what path they are on. We are all blessed with knowing our best and highest path and by teaching our children to trust in their Internal Guidance System, we will have the joy of watching them grow and follow the path that is right for them.

Let the Law of Attraction Be Your V.I.C.E.

The Law of Attraction has become an increasingly popular view on life since the release of the movie The Secret. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common myths associated with the law thanks to this popular movie and this is why so many people insist that the Law doesn’t work. However, you will benefit the most by deliberately tapping into the laws of the Universe as opposed to assuming they don’t exist.

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The Laws need to be practiced in a very specific way to reap the full benefits. 

This does not pertain to a wicked or immoral type of behavior.To remember what must actually be done to have the Law of Attraction work for you, simply remember it is your V.I.C.E.

Instead, it is a clever acronym designed to help you remember the basic foundations of the Law of Attraction:

  • Visualize.
  • Intend.
  • Confidence.
  • Energy.

Visualize. In order to achieve your desired outcome, you must visualize it happening. Daydreaming is actually quite good for you and every aspect of your life. Visualizing helps you to be positive. It helps you to further your intention to do something, so if you want that trip to London or that raise in your paycheck, you have to focus and think about it. 

Intend. Intention is the key to success. By strongly intending to do something, the part of your brain controlling action kicks into gear. This prompts you to do something that will help you meet your strong intentions. This part of the Law of Attraction has been proven by scientists in a number of different studies.

Confidence. You cannot be hesitant when it comes to the Law of Attraction. You must be confident that what you are focusing on will come true. You cannot trick this law or yourself — if you are not truly confident, then it will affect the outcome of events. Always be 100% confident that things will turn out the way you want them to.

Energy. Positive energy will attract positive results. Negative energy will attract negative results. Obviously you want the positive results. For this reason, you must maintain a positive outlook on life. Never expect the worst outcome, only the best.  Being positive can only assist you in helping to manifest what you really want. 

If you want the Law of Attraction to work for you, just remember that the Law of Attraction is your V.I.C.E.  If you can remember that simple acronym, you can be successfully working with the Law of Attraction in no time. 

How the Law of Attraction May Affect Your Children’s Academic Standing

Parents wish to see their children succeed in all aspects of their lives. The Law of Attraction teaches that strong focus, determination, and a sunny outlook may help you to succeed, but it can be hard to decipher what kind of effect the Law of Attraction might have on your children. Image

How do you find out? Communication is always necessary, but you can see a positive influence just by examining how well they flourish in school. A few areas to take note of are:

Better Grades

By focusing on doing well in their studies, children will receive better grades. You have taught them to visualize what they want from life and how to focus and manifest it for themselves.

So long as you have also taught them the importance of good grades, they will be able to apply the Law of Attraction towards their schooling.

Better grades will give your child confidence. Knowing that you have given them good counsel will also give you a sense of pride or joy over their accomplishment. 

Stronger Friendships

Applying the Law of Attraction to the school environment may help your children to develop stronger friendships. You know that as an adult, this law has helped you to develop a variety of strong relationships.

Friendships are the only major relationships outside the family that your children develop at a young age. These friendships can help your child feel accepted and loved. It will also let them know that they are not alone amongst their peers.

Less Stress

School is stressful. If you think back to your own school days, you will realize that this is the truth. There is much to be learned. Between getting an education, gaining independence, and learning how to interact with others, the stress can really build up.

The Law of Attraction can be used to easily lower a child’s stress level. Think about it. Receiving better grades lowers the stress concerning education. Developing stronger friendships lowers the stress that learning how to interact may bring. Less stress creates happier children.

If your children are taught to think and remain positive throughout their time in school, you will see the Law of Attraction at work. Coaching and mentoring children on how to make use of the Law of Attraction are key to raising healthy, happy children. Parents who wish to see how this law is working in their children’s lives need only look to their schooling for a strong example.

The Law of Attraction and Attracting Positivity

According to the law of attraction, we are all made up of energy. Our thoughts are able to direct the course of that energy.  Sometimes it is positive and other times it is negative. One of these thought types can become dominant in each of us.  

It is not set in stone, however.  A person with predominately positive thoughts can transition to one with predominately negative thoughts and vice-versa with practice and by being deliberate in redirecting thoughts. Image

Those people with predominately good thoughts produce positive energy. This positive energy is able to attract positive things to their lives because whatever we emit is what we will attract.

For example, if you ask for a promotion believing that you will receive it, you will get the promotion.

If you are ill, yet believe you will be better when you awake in the morning, you will awake to feeling better.

Examples could be shown for any aspect of your life, despite any common misconceptions and beliefs.

Not all people naturally think positively, but everyone has equal chances of living a positive life.

Negative things can and will happen in all our lives. Many people feel downtrodden and depressed when these things happen. Bad events tend to generally affect us more. One negative thought can easily spiral into more and more until that is all we have left. It eventually becomes a conglomeration of negativity that some feel unable to escape from. Few are aware of the effects this can have. But this can all be turned around.

If you assume you will only get sicker instead of getting better, you will only get sicker. If you believe you will be turned down for a promotion, you will be. Nothing positive can come to people with negative thoughts. This is because their energy is predominately negative, which attracts negative energy instead of positive.

It all boils down to the most basic rule of the law of attraction. Like forces attract one another. Therefore, positivity will attract positive or “good” things into your life. Negativity thus attracts the exact, undesirable opposite. Once you understand how positivity and negativity can affect your life, you will be able to take more control over it. 

Managing Negativity with the Law of Attraction

Negative energy can cause high levels of stress. The Law of Attraction states that positive energy attracts a positive outcome, but we shouldn’t forget the second part of this equation – negative energy. Image

There will always be negative energy and it will always attract an unwanted outcome.  

People with an excess amount of negative energy in their lives will never truly succeed, nor will they ever be happy until they make a new choice.

It is not until you rid yourself of this negative energy that you will be able to fully move ahead.

Negative energy can bring about all types of negative outcomes. These may be small, such as receiving a bill in the mail instead of a check or missing out on a sale you wanted to make.

They could also be large, important things, such as  succumbing to a dire illness, being denied a home loan, or not being able to keep a job.

You may have noticed that people who carry a sour outlook on life never seem to catch a break. This is because they have been feeling sorry for themselves, believing that nothing good can ever happen to them, and generally keeping a negative outlook on life which holds them in this place. If these downtrodden people only changed their outlook on life, they could then turn their lives around completely.

Let’s look at a few quick examples:  What you believe is what you create.

  • If a person believes that they will not be qualified for a home loan, they will not be. If they change their thoughts so that they believe they will be qualified, they will be.
  • If a person looks at an envelope and believes a bill is inside, a bill will be. If they instead think it is a check, they will receive a check.

Yet if negative energy already exists in your life, how are you to change your mind?

The task may sound difficult or even impossible. Yet, in reality, it is so incredibly simple there is no reason to put it off. In order to eliminate the negativity in your life, all you have to do is think positively by focusing on things that bring you pleasure and focusing on your desires, eagerly anticipating them.

While it may require a bit of self-discipline and certainly practice, if you have not been living your life in a positive manner thus far, it is definitely possible to turn your life around.  When you feel yourself going into a negative spiral, do something you enjoy, eat something you like, or simply listen to some upbeat music. You’ll be amazed at how much more positive you feel!