Decrease Stress, Enhance Joy, and Increase Success, Today!
Updated: Jul 25, 2022
Welcome to your resource hub for our webinar and self-paced learning course! Take some time to discover transformative information, tangible strategies, and valuable resources to help you reduce stress and enhance joy. This is the most important topic right now for early childhood educators because, well, TIMES are STRESSFUL!
In this blog, you will find much of the information that has transformed our work and personal lives immeasurably. It is not your everyday stress seminar. It will be worth your time!
You can choose to get this valuable information by:
Reading the article
Watching the videos (three videos containing this blog's information and more during our top-rated presentation or head over to our Youtube Channel)
Checking out additional videos to help you gain joy and decrease stress
Accessing the wonderful resources to expand your learning. Make sure to share with others who care for young children and subscribe to never miss a blog!
If you would like to learn more on how to decrease your stress and enhance your joy, join us for our upcoming Live Webinar or self-paced learning course on this topic!
Video 1: The life-changing seminar
Almost 10 years ago, I started working for Early Childhood Family Education in Minnesota, and I had an opportunity to attend a “Decrease Stress” training during Thanksgiving week. The keynote speaker was Amit Sood, who has transformed many lives through the Mayo Clinic Stress-Free Living Program, written numerous books, and developed a successful attention and interpretation therapy method. However, I had been to a lot of trainings on stress at this point! Was it worth my time? I can tell you – that one-hour training (and the subsequent extensive “Transform” trainings with Sood) absolutely changed my life! The strategies I have learned are derived from the latest in Neuroscience, Eastern and Western medicine, and social science research. I can tell you 100%, that it will be worth your time to invest in discovering this information as well!
You truly have the power to transform your world and reduce your stress right now, no matter your current situation. In this blog, I will share how to apply strategies in different home and work scenarios for those in the early childhood profession. No matter what, you will walk away today with a method you can use right away! What I love the most about all of this is that it is not about changing you. What are the odds you will be a different person tomorrow? No. You are you. This is about working with who you are to find peace and calm no matter how you are wired.
So, here I am. It's Thanksgiving week. Dr. Sood's eye-opening seminar had helped me understand why our stress can be increased simply by the way we think. When we are thinking, we readily switch between two different brain modes. When you can recognize which brain mode you are operating under, you can flip to the one that is most useful for you. This helps you reclaim minutes that would have been lost by our brain's natural desire to revisit negative events in our past, ruminate, plan, problem-solve, and judge.
Learn to recognize when you are in your "default".
The first mode of thinking is known as our "Default network". Like this hamster – when we are in the default our thoughts constantly go around and around, sometimes incessantly. This mode is activated when you are "at rest", or find yourself within a pause and are "mind-wandering". Due to our brain's negativity bias, when in the Default mode, our thoughts easily center on hurts from the past, such as the need to improve something, or other general ruminating and worrying. Scientists have found we can spend an average of 60-80% in this state, especially when dealing with intense stress.
Unfortunately, our minds find it is easiest to focus on and remember something we don't like, and we are generally most likely to focus on repetitive negative thoughts. While there are times we need to evaluate and improve things, is it ¾ of our day?! Of course not! This is a place to visit when it is helpful and needed not to be stuck in on autopilot. Thankfully, as humans, we can also train our brain to intentionally move out of our Default mode when desired. However, we must first recognize this tendency, and then develop the skills necessary to switch out of it.
We can all find less stress and more joy if we can move to ….
The “Focused Mode.” This mode is when you have your attention focused right here, right now. It's usually externally focused (“Look at the colors of that sunset!”) or enjoying something novel and interesting ("I am so thankful this old friend just stopped by!") It is easy to get here when you are experiencing something that naturally gets your positive attention. But, mundane life, or the regular day to day can leave us finding less and less of this wonderful place.
You know you are in your “Focused Mode” when you are feeling with gratitude, compassion, appreciation, or joy. It is a place to relish. It brings us more peaceful, novel, and enjoyable moments… even when the world around us is full of stress. There are ways to get into this mode and build a brain pathway to find it easier to get there. This blog (more like a short book) starts the journey...
So, I learned this insightful bit and, four days later... it's Thanksgiving morning...
I am getting ready for Thanksgiving. My sister-in-law is hosting about 30 of our family, and she has asked about ten of us to bring two things to the potluck. For me it was a squash soufflé, which I absolutely love making, and a Caesar salad. I prepared the squash and then started to make the salad. As I am washing the lettuce, I start to think,
“You know, usually when you go to a potluck, the host just asks you to bring one thing. And in this case, she asked everybody to bring two things. Not only did we need to bring two things, but she told me exactly what to bring. I don't even like Caesar salad. I have so many wonderful salad recipes, why couldn't I choose which salad I wanted to make? ... And you know what? My aunt, she was only asked to bring one thing. Then, she did a ‘reply all’ to everybody saying she didn't even want to bring that one thing, she wanted to bring bread from the bread store. Why is my cousin who has four young children under five making berry pies from scratch? I'm making two things, everyone else is making TWO THINGS! But my aunt, who's retired, can only bring one pre-made thing?!”
Do you feel it? Does my growing tension translate? And the irony of it all... IT IS Thanksgiving, remember?! Do you suspect I woke up on Thanksgiving wanting to sit and spend many minutes ruminating about the fact that I had to bring two things to the potluck? No, of course not. But here I was, and it was happening. Why? Well, it's our Default, remember? When our mind has space to wander, it will most likely enter into this negative space. This is the place our human brains naturally go to. It just happens. And, it likely occurs without you even noticing.
I caught myself and because of Sood's training, I knew what to do about it. I needed to consciously switch my thinking into the “Focused Mode”. But how?
First, I shifted my focus externally in the moment. I felt the water from my lettuce-washing rolling over my hands. I took a deep breath and looked out the window at the trees and I could already feel my temperature cooling. I thought about my sister-in-law, the one hosting the potluck. And thought,