I recently traveled through Costa Rica, a small Central American country where peace of mind is a natural commodity. Visiting felt like a breath of fresh air with the slow pace of living and ecological mindfulness. The country has no need for a military presence and family life is a top priority.
High unemployment in the US continues to contribute to the economic downturn. And multi-generational households increase as millennials, along with grandparents, move in with their parents to alleviate financial stress. And lots of sandwiched boomers who have lost retirement funds are worried about the future.
As you face your challenges head-on, try to delay immediate gratification for future gain. And at the same time bring family values to the foreground:
Don't forget where you came from. Dig deep to find your roots and understand who you are and what you want. Figure out how to care for your family and still nurture yourself. Set concrete and specific long-range goals about what you want to accomplish. And identify short-term objectives as you work toward achieving them, step by step.
Make family a priority. Love them and let them know on a regular basis. See parenting as one of your most important responsibilities. Appreciate the transitions your family is going through and find out information about how to manage change. Talk to others whose opinions you respect and who have gone through similar experiences. It's a chance to get realistic feedback and concrete advice.
History is prologue. You can prepare for what lies ahead. As you look back, think about how you've dealt with major changes before. And what has worked in the past? Take what you've learned from those experiences and apply them to what's going on in your life now. A positive attitude can motivate you to stay on track and ultimately reach your goals.
Find something to believe in. Is it strong faith, a spiritual path, confidence in you? Look at the ways you can continue to build on your assets. Evaluate your character strengths and how they benefit you in other circumstances. Are you fiercely curious or determined to find a solution no matter what? Discover community resources to help you deal with parents growing older and kids growing up.
Be a positive role model. Give your family reason to feel close to you and to identify with your values. Be authentic, nurturing and encouraging. When you are facing a difficult time recognize the importance of support. And don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Getting an objective opinion from a family therapist or life coach can provide you with insight and direction.
Whether you're hit in the face with a crisis or transitioning into the next chapter of your life, expect a cascade of feelings - anxiety, the desire to hold on, sadness, fear and eventually a sense of freedom. The emotional roller coaster is normal. If you find the courage, you can't help but grow from the experiences.
© Her Mentor Center, 2013
Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D. is a consultant in family dynamics. Whether you're coping with marital stress, acting out teens, aging parents, boomerang millennials or difficult in-laws, she has practical solutions. Log on to her website at http://www.HerMentorCenter.com and sign up for a free ezine 'Stepping Stones,' and complimentary eBooks, “Reaching Your Goals” and “Taking Control of Stress.”