When I was a single mum I really noticed when my stress, bad moods, and sh*tty moods kicked in, then my daughter was worse than ever. We were in a vicious circle triggering one another but now through learning many amazing techniques I am able to stay calm for longer than ever and friends who have known me for years comment on how grounded I am. I really want to share with mums that there is a better way so my next interview with Adacelis Pérez is one I have been really looking forward too.
Hi Ada, welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum (or dad) should have to do everything herself, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! We love that you have upgraded your life by learning how to communicate effectively and then sharing that with others.
You struggled with constant worry and depression and had the added challenge of being a single mum (something I have first-hand experience with) how did you overcome this to come to a calmer state?
Overcoming depression and anxiety took a long time, the long unending ups and downs lasted years, I was going through the motions as in an “auto-pilot” mode, simply surviving, feeling that something was lacking. The sense of lack manifested in sadness and constant stress. Many parents can identify with this state of affairs especially single parents who struggle to balance their personal and professional lives. With time, I was able to find comfort in silence and in the practice of contemplation. I began to ask questions and guidance came through prayers, acts of service, and especially through meditation. With time, the weight on my shoulders began to feel lighter and I began to sense more clarity in my every day, more calmness and more joy.
I overcame my anxious modes by being more present, slowing down, and seeking a stronger connection with the divine in my surroundings and also within myself. There isn’t a short list of steps that brought me to a more peaceful state of being but without a doubt, as I mention in my book, self-exploring and curiosity were the stepping stones to finding inner peace, which in turn lead to a more peaceful, loving and joyful experience as a mother.
In today’s busy world things do get overwhelming but how do stress and anxiety differ?
Indeed, although the symptoms may be similar, stress and anxiety are not the same. In the United States, anxiety is mostly defined as an internal and prolonged reaction of a person to a stressful situation. In other words, by constantly worrying about a situation one can be entering a state of anxiety. Constant negative thoughts or worry can lead to an internal dialogue, or thought pattern that has a physical reaction. When symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to function then it is considered an anxiety disorder.
Stress in the other hand happens when you are triggered by a current challenge, for example a situation at home or at work that regularly makes you feel tense. With that being said, constant stress can lead to a state of anxiety. When you are constantly worrying about the future or dwelling in circumstances from your past, you are experiencing anxiety. There is a wide spectrum of anxiety disorders, and some can be effectively treated with medication, cognitive therapy or a combination of both. Many physicians will also recommend regular exercise and meditation to more effectively treat anxiety.
Can you share with us how we can identify anxiety triggers that affect our daily routines?
You can identify anxiety triggers when you are aware of your feelings, and your emotions. I encourage my clients to first observe the feelings and the thoughts as they arise. With practice one can be better able to notice those circumstances that makes us feel sad, annoyed, frustrated, or angry. Taking time to experience stillness will help those suffering from anxiety to more easily identify feelings that cause discomfort. It is not an easy endeavor at first, but with practice and a regular mindfulness routine my clients have found that they can more easily track the source of their anxiety.
What coping strategies do you advise for those who feel anxious or depressed?
I’m a big fan of stillness and active contemplation to help us move beyond the state of anxiety or depression. When we become more comfortable with silence we are able to choose positive thoughts. It might be hard at first but with practice, we can get there quickly. However, we often get distracted by the Internet, social media, or texts. It is harder to listen to the wise voice inside when we are constantly focusing on the outside world and on messages that come from outer sources. Finding moments of silence when you can look inside will lead to more calmness. I also encourage my clients to keep a regular practice of meditation, yoga or regular exercise, a good amount of sleep and a healthy diet that is low in sugar and caffeine.
It is imperative for our children and ourselves to connect at a deeper level, can you share any ideas that can help to build that bond?
Indeed, Jade. I feel our connection to our children has always been there, as our nature as parents is one of pure love. Often we stray from the natural state of connectedness to our children as we get entangled with the stressors of daily life. We might even get attached to the image of the teacher, and we assume that we must know everything in the eyes of our children. When we are in this frame of mind, either feeling stressed-out or acting like a disciplinarian, we miss the wisdom that children bring to our lives.
In my book, I recognize that as mothers we don’t know it all, but when we show up as a humble parent who is willing to guide and also be guided by our children, then a sense of safety arises in them. When that happens both the parent and the child can bask in a state of flow. A true and deep connection can flourish when our children know they are loved unconditionally by their parents.
You champion that mindful communication techniques can transform relationships with our kids, can you give us an example of this in action?
The concept of mindful communication allows us to slow down and be more present in our daily interaction with our children. Because communicating effectively requires more than just using the right words in a conversation, we can be better communicators when we are aware of our own emotions, and our body language. As I talk about in my book, it takes practice and it takes a sincere willingness to adopt a new habit and an expanded way of expressing ourselves as parents. Mindful communication can lead us to show up as a whole parent –not as a perfect parent –one who is in touch with our own feelings and emotions. This approach can help us get to a point where we don’t react from a place of anger, or frustration but instead we engage our children in a harmonious way.
If you would like to buy Ada’s book Anxious Mom, Anxious Child: A Mother’s Journey from Anxiety to Serenity you can get it here For more inspiration you can visit her website www.breathemommybreathe.com
If you would like other books to support your parenting journey please explore below: