As comedian Jeff Foxworthy likes to say, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”
Actually, new research out of Michigan State University shows that the mental state of both mothers and fathers has a significant impact on their children’s behavior and development.
Of course, most parents probably don’t need a study to show them that their state of mind and stress levels impact their children and family life in general. That’s why it’s a good idea to take stock of the stressors in our lives from time to time and, in particular, the choices we make that can increase our stress.
Here are five common culprits worth reviewing:
Continuously Reaching for Digital Devices
A report by the American Psychological Association found a link between constantly checking electronic devices and stress. Shocking, right?
Curbing one’s pull to these distractions can reduce stress and provide our children what they most crave—our time and attention.
Bring homemade cupcakes to the bake sale? Sure! Run that charity event? No problem! Meet that client after work? My pleasure! Organize the class party? Of course!
Oh, how we love to oblige others, don’t we? Surely we have noble intentions. Perhaps we can’t bear the thought of disappointing others. Saying yes to every (or simply to many) requests of our time can quickly overwhelm one and lead to stress.
It’s helpful to remember that when we say yes to something, we are saying no to other things. Being clear on our priorities and a good steward of our time can reduce the stress of overcommitting.
According to Entrepreneur.com, a University of London study found that multitasking can lower your IQ and damage cognitive functions. With never ending to-do lists and pressures from everywhere, it is tempting to try to do more than one thing at a time.
However, the brain overload leads directly to stress and burnout. This is when we’re more likely to snap at our children for interrupting us or simply lose our temper out of frustration.
Do one thing at a time, or better yet, reconsider whether all of those to-do’s really need to be done in the first place.
Getting Inadequate Sleep
In her book, “Thrive,” Arianna Huffington says, “By sleeping more we, in fact, become more competent and in control of our lives.”
The classic brag of how few hours of sleep high achievers get sends the message that less is more. We all know that our bodies need to rest and that stress from exhaustion directly impact our families. Make sleep a priority.
Holding Onto Expectations
Tony Robbins says if you “trade your expectation for appreciation…the world changes instantly.”
Stress can come when we expect things of others or of circumstances and reality doesn’t meet out expectations. If instead of expecting, we have gratitude for what is, our entire outlook is altered.
Let go of your expectations and embrace appreciating.