speaking your truth

Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox: EMOTIONAL LITERACY & SELF-REGULATION

Welcome back to my series on how we can support our kids by using some simple therapeutic
strategies at home. My name is Kim Hamilton and I’m a therapist at Louisville Mindfulness Center. I
specialize in working with kids, teens, and parents to create family harmony. I love to support
parents by offering them tools for their parenting toolbox to handle the stress and uncertainty
that comes along with parenting.

Last time I talked about Attunement and discussed three ways of noticing when they need a
deeper level of attention, therefore strengthening our relationships with them and helping
them to better understand themselves and their feelings. We can do this by 1) paying attention,
2) reflecting, and 3) validating. If you missed it or want a refresher, you can check it out here.

Today I’ll share two more tools: emotional literacy and self-regulation.

EMOTIONAL LITERACY

Let’s start with Emotional Literacy. We can help our kids by helping them to understand their own feelings and how their body physically responds to those emotions. We’ve all experienced “butterflies” in our stomachs when we get nervous, but what about that stomach ache or headache; or that pressure in our chest or inability to catch a breath? What do they mean? When they can learn to tune in to their emotions, to become aware of them, and notice them, they will not only get better at managing their emotions but also at being able to predict them.

SELF-REGULATION

But what do we do when it is already happening?

When we are in the moment of strong emotion, it is difficult to regulate that feeling. Think about when your child is having a tantrum or has asked you 20 times for the same thing. It is easy to feel overwhelmed with emotions, which often lead to behaviors we may regret later. The same is true for kids when they are fighting with a friend or anxious about a big test.

By learning to self-regulate in those moments, we can be in control of how we react. Pausing and breathing intentionally is key to this.

One breathing technique I like is box breathing – breath in for four second, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, and then hold for four seconds again.

You can also use grounding techniques like 5-4-3-2-1. Name five things you can see, four things you can hear, three things you can touch, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. You can also go for a
walk, jump up and down, listen to music, or do anything else that helps.

Model this self-regulation to your kids and explain to them what you are doing. This will show them how they can also cope in the midst of difficult feelings.

I invite you to experiment with emotional literacy and self-regulation and see how it goes! Feel free to email me and let me know: Kim@LouisvilleMindfulnessCenter.com.

If you liked what you read and feel I could be of assistance to you and your family, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE!

 Kim Hamilton, MAMFT specializes in working with kids, teens, and parents to bring emotional regulation and harmony to families and households. She works from a non-judgemental, solution-focused, non-pathologizing perspective that creates win-win scenarios within relationships. Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Kim to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for your family.

Find out more on Kim’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!

 

 

*This blog was inspired by the Washington Post article: “Five skills parents can learn so they can help their children cope”

Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox: ATTUNEMENT

Parenting is hard. Period. But it is especially difficult and disheartening when your child is struggling and you don’t know how to best help them. Kids are experiencing unprecedented amounts of mental health issues due to the coronavirus pandemic, but we as parents can support them by using some simple therapeutic strategies at home. This will be the first in a series teaching you various healthy coping skills to implement with your children.

Hi! I’m Kim Hamilton. I’m a new therapist at Louisville Mindfulness Center. I specialize in working with kids, teens, and parents to create family harmony. I love to support parents by offering them tools for their parenting toolbox to handle the stress and uncertainty that comes along with parenting.

ATTUNEMENT

Let’s start with attuning. Our lives are busy chauffeuring kids to activities, helping with homework, making dinner, and still trying to fit in our own needs. It is easy to get caught up in the stress of it all and not pay attention to what is actually going on in our kids’ minds and lives. By noticing when they need a deeper level of attention, we strengthen our relationships with them and help them to better understand themselves and their feelings. So how exactly do we do attune?

Pay Attention

The first tool for your toolbox is to simply pay attention! Has their mood changed or has there been a shift to their normal routine? Take notice and dig deeper. They are most likely going to say they are fine and nothing is wrong, but don’t let the conversation stop there. Share with them what you are noticing and even offer a guess at what might be wrong in order to get the conversation started.

Reflect

Reflective listening is another tool that is great to use, not only with your kids but in all your relationships. Begin by listening closely to what they have to say. Then, repeat back to them what you heard them say in a paraphrased way. Lastly, ask your child if your understanding is correct and if you missed anything. For example, if they are arguing with a friend, ask them to explain to you what is going on. You can repeat back to them what you heard by saying, “What I heard you say is…Is that correct? Did I miss anything?” This will allow your child to process their emotions, consider how their actions contributed to the situation, and decide how to move forward.

Validate

Lastly, and possibly, most importantly, is validation. Your child may tell you something that you don’t like and is upsetting, and it is important for you as the parent not to react immediately. Just listen. Then validate their perspective instead of dismissing their feelings or trying to change their mind. As parents, we want to fix everything for our children. When we do this, when we fix things or give them the answer, they don’t experience the struggle that comes with the learning process. It’s ok for our kids to struggle a bit. Growth doesn’t happen without some discomfort. Validating doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but by acknowledging their pain, the struggle becomes easier for them and leads to behavior change.

I invite you to experiment with these steps to attune with your children. I’d love to know how it goes! Feel free to email me and let me know: Kim@LouisvilleMindfulnessCenter.com.

If you liked what you read and feel I could be of assistance to you and your family, feel free to schedule a free 10-minute consult with me at your convenience online HERE!

 

Kim Hamilton, MAMFT specializes in working with kids, teens, and parents to bring emotional regulation and harmony to families and households. She works from a non-judgemental, solution-focused, non-pathologizing perspective that creates win-win scenarios within relationships. Megan Bayles Bartley is excited for Kim to join the team and knows she will be a wonderful resource for your family.

Find out more on Kim’s bio page on the Louisville Mindfulness Center website!

 

 

*This blog was inspired by the Washington Post article: “Five skills parents can learn so they can help their children cope”

Join Us As We Meditate For Louisville, KY!! Sept. 11-21, 2022

Louisville Mindfulness Center has been asked to partner with the Louisville Resonant City Peace Project as they assist the Global Peaceful Cities Project study the effects of 3500+ people joining forces to spread peace throughout Louisville during a two-week span of time. The intention is to decrease Louisville’s crime and violence rate by 25%. Previous cities have seen a 25+% reduction in crime and violence during the two weeks of meditation.

Are you interested in participating? Go to PeacefulCities.org to sign up to receive a daily email with a 20-minute guided meditation. This is a wonderful way to join as you’ll have a different member of the Louisville community devoted to peace leading you through that day’s meditation. Our fearless leader, Megan Bayles Bartley, will be leading one of the meditations… perhaps you can listen for her!

Join Megan and friends at the Kickoff Celebration on September 8th at 6:30pm – 740 Old Harrods Creek Rd.

Louisvile, Peace, Peaceful, Cities

Shifting Our Shit, Shifting Shit, Shit, Shifting, Podcast, Megan, Bartley, Rob, Giltner

Introducing Our NEW Podcast!!!

Shifting Our Shit, Shifting Shit, Shit, Shifting, Podcast, Megan, Bartley, Rob, Giltner

 

After years of making guest appearances on podcasts and lots of encouragement from friends and clients to do my own, I have teamed up with one of Louisville Mindfulness Center’s very own therapist extraordinaire (and experienced podcaster), Rob Giltner. We talk candidly about our work with mindfulness and mental and emotional well-being. We also share plenty of our own personal stories so we can shift our shit right along with you!

Why stay Stuck With Sh!t when we can Shift Our Sh!t?!

UPDATE: We are now on SPOTIFY! (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN)  and APPLE Podcasts (CLICK HERE TO LISTEN). You will soon be able to find it wherever you normally get your podcasts AND we plan to release the video of our recordings as well! Sign up below to stay updated on new releases!

And thank you. Thank you all for all your encouragement. We couldn’t make this happen without you! <3 – Megan

A Gift For You!

A Gift For You! 

We had a wonderful time during our Open House as Louisville Mindfulness Center celebrated its 5th anniversary!  We enjoyed catching up with friends and family from near and far with a few fun blasts from the past to boot! 

Again, we want to thank all of our supporters, whether you were able to make the event or not!! We are definitely feeling the love!

AND…. we want to spread that love even more! We are extending our half-price offer on our online courses through the month of July in honor of our anniversary! 

The two key online courses we currently have are “The Art of Saying No” and “Dealing With Difficult People”.

Whether you’re new to setting mindful boundaries, needing a quick yet comprehensive refresher on your boundary-setting skills, or you’re wanting to take your self-care practice to the next level, these wonderful, bite-sized videos are written and presented by Megan Bayles Bartley herself! For those of you who have spent time with Megan, you know she’s bursting with inspiration and empowerment to help you live your best life! You don’t want to miss out!

Plus, these courses are cheaper than ONE therapy session! Who can say “No” to that?! 

Check them out here: https://mindfulness-center.com/awaken-autopilot/

Setting Boundaries = Regain Your Time and Energy

Many of us put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be our best, most helpful, kind, and caring selves. People like us. They want to spend time with us. What a wonderful feeling! Yet sometimes we may just want and NEED time to ourselves.

When we let our boundaries slide or we feel guilty for saying no, we start to feel burnt out, exhausted, or even apathetic. Question: Are you ready to feel less stressed and anxious? Have you tried things in the past that have worked but need a refresher? Or does it feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work?

Our new self-paced, online courses are a wonderful way to learn and set boundaries that WORK! After twenty-plus years of refining our techniques, we are making our methods more accessible to more people so anybody can live their most optimal life.

Let’s face it, none of us need more to DO. So what if we could THINK a bit differently and that could make all the difference? Our courses help you see new perspectives and shift your thinking just enough that you are able to begin to rewire your brain. Sign. Me. Up!

Here are some questions to ask yourself if it’s time to refresh your skills and abilities on setting excellent boundaries and “The Art of Saying No”:

  • Are you needing to refocus your time and attention less on others and more on yourself?
  • Do you get pulled into helping others when you wish you could say “No”?
  • Do you feel guilty when others need help and you can’t or don’t want to help?
  • Are others encouraging you to set boundaries and reduce the amount you offer your time to others?
  • Are you ready to reclaim your time, your energy, and perhaps even your identity?
  • Are you ready to FEEL MORE ALIVE and excited about life?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, we have a tried and true solution for you.

Ultimately, we want you to feel lighter, freer, and more empowered.  Let us show you how!

CLICK HERE to find out more about our affordable self-paced online course options. 

 

seek happiness

Old Ideas About How to Seek Happiness

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

“If there are things that are causing you to suffer, you have to know how to let go of them.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh

As many of you know, I love the theme of letting go. Sometimes we hold on a little too tightly to expectations we have for ourselves or thoughts of what we “think” we need to be happy, fulfilled and successful. Old habits die hard and it can be difficult to let go of an idea that you have about yourself or your life that no longer rings true.

For example, I was doing a values assessment recently and the things I thought would come up, like creativity and curiosity, these really core ideals I connect my sense of identity to, didn’t. What surfaced were things I already have in my life, that not everybody has. Things like freedom, safety, and security.

And it reminded me that, while as a culture we are always striving for more, perhaps during this time of uncertainty, we should seek happiness from what we already have. To make time to be grateful for what is right in front of us in this moment. Things that many of us take for granted everyday, like freedom, safety and security can bring us so much peace if we allow them to.

So often we wait for happiness.

We tell ourselves that we’ll be happy when “x” happens. We’ll relax when we reach a certain goal, or breathe a sigh of relief as we accomplish a milestone in life, but the truth is, we have everything we need to be happy and at peace right here in this moment, if only for a moment.

So, repeat after me:

“I have everything I need.” 

In times of doubt, stress, you name it, this is a mantra that has brought me calmness, reassurance and gratitude.

I hope it does the same for you.

the art of living

The Art of Living

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

“All the art of living lies in the fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” -Havelock Ellis

All relationships have a tension or delicate balance between aspects that we like and dislike or things that work well and are a challenge.

So too, do we tend to have multiple feelings or emotions of an event, say, the loss of a loved one. We are sad they are gone, yet relieved they are no longer suffering.

This plays into my “yes, and” philosophy of living life, that I gleamed from my days of improv comedy.

Yes, I love you, And sometimes I find you difficult to be around. 

When we limit ourselves to dichotomous thinking, we miss the Rainbow of Options. Getting stuck in black/white, right/wrong, good/bad thinking sets us and others up for failure rather than success.

If we choose “right” then others are “wrong.” When our “right” doesn’t work out, we feel like we have failed.

If instead we look at the whole rainbow of options we could choose, we are limitless.

95% of the options may be things you would never actually do, but at least they are there for you if you need them.

This Rainbow of Options gives you more flexibility rather than keeping you rigid and binary. Much of mental illness can be due to rigidity while mental well-being can lie in the ability for have flexibility of thinking.

Think: Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset!

ground yourself

How to Physically Ground Yourself In the Present Moment

Anyone else DONE?! Over it? Fried? Frazzled?! We sure are! The holidays have come and are almost gone, leaving many of us reeling from too much “stuff,” too many “people,” and too many “things” to do. This is especially true if you are a Highly Sensitive Person or an Empath…

How can we best take care of ourselves when we’re in this space?

Perhaps getting grounded and centered in the present moment!

Here are a few physical activities we can do to direct our mind back to the here and now:

1. Savor a food or drink

While most of us rush through our meals to get back to a task or event, try to savor your next bite to eat. You can do this by taking small bites or sips. Pretend you are trying your food or beverage for the first time, letting yourself fully taste every flavor. Think about the temperature, texture, smell, and presentation of your food as well.

2. Take a short walk

What do you see? Focus on the texture, movement, and color of each item. Challenge yourself to think of specific colors, such as crimson, burgundy, indigo, or turquoise, instead of simply red or blue. How fast is that squirrel darting from the tree? Can you see your reflection in the puddle of water on the sidewalk? Are the trees bare or still full of leaves, do they move with the wind or simply stay still?

3. Hold a Piece of Ice

What does it feel like at first? How long does it take to start melting? How does the sensation change when the ice begins to melt?

4. Savor a Scent?

What are some of your favorite smells? Maybe you enjoy the wafts of a baked good rising in the oven, coffee brewing, onion or garlic cooking on the stove, laundry fresh from the dryer, or a candle. Whatever it is, inhale the fragrance slowly and deeply.  What are its qualities?

5. Listen to your surroundings

Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. Do you hear birds? Dogs barking? The hum of your computer, or the dryer running? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Put on some music. Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.

6. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 method

You can rely on your 5 senses to bring you back to reality anytime you are starting to “spin out.” Counting backward from 5, use your senses to list the things you notice around you. 5 things you hear, four things you see, three things you can touch nearby, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste.

Make an effort to notice the little things you might not always pay attention to, and remember which of them brings you joy. Then you can incorporate these little rituals into your day to help keep you centered.

choose happiness

Choose Happiness

Written by Megan Bayles Bartley, MAMFT, LMFT

It’s not always easy or even possible to “choose happiness.”

With that said, when you surround yourself with people, environments, activities, and animals that you love it helps “lighten” your mood and “lift your spirits” so happiness doesn’t feel so far away.

Lately, I’m finding that that bringing Lemon Drop into the office seems to be just what people need to brighten their days. For me, his presence helps me get out of my own head and remember the carefree life of a dog.

After all, if you pay close attention, your dog will share with you the most important things in life: a good meal, playfulness, rest, curiosity, companionship, and the wonders of the great outdoors. When all else fails, taking the time to slow down and enjoy these daily rituals with them can help pave the way to happiness even in the darkest of times.

Remember, Dog spelled backward is God. Just sayin….

What are some ways you help yourself feel “lighter” emotionally?

How can you incorporate them more into your day?