A for accomplishment

My legs are aching and my family think it is so funny every time I sit down, as it is down very slowly with a grimace on the face!
You see, a few days ago I walked up to the top of our local mountain – Mt Lofty (people who have ‘real’ mountains would laugh and call it a hill). I have been wanting to do it for a long time and decided on the spur of the moment that ‘today was the day.’

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It was a beautiful day and I had a few teenage kids with me, who were kind enough to wait for the ‘old lady’ as I sucked in air trying to keep up with their cracking pace. The last 800 metres seemed to go forever! Coming down was fun, but surprisingly tough on the legs too!
At the end, I was surprised how good it felt to know I had done it and even the sore muscles since have strangely been a nice reminder of my accomplishment.

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PERMA is an acronym that I have discussed before – each letter represents what is needed for one to flourish.

Positive Emotion
Engagement
Relationships
Meaning
Accomplishment
I think in my life I had forgotten about the A for accomplishment. I know that I do not like being out of my comfort zone and because of that, I wonder if I do not accomplish as many things, or take what I would term ‘adventure risks’?

Today may I encourage you and your kids to try something new or do something that you challenge you have been thinking about for awhile. The feeling of accomplishment at the end is a good thing for the mind and body.

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Healthy living has lots of good points!

I have always been a supporter of fitness and general healthy living in kids and adults. My goal for my children is not for them to be elite sports people, (although if that is what needed to be pursued then I would support them in it) but rather to enjoy the sports, the games, the fitness and to build a life-long desire to exercise. I know healthy living helps us to flourish.

Photo credit: howtobehealthier.org

Photo credit: howtobehealthier.org

Recently I was reading information that once again confirmed why it is so important for our kids to be active and to have it as a natural part of life.

“…physical health (regular activity, healthy weight, good nutrition) and core fitness capabilities (coordination, balance, cardio/respiratory fitness, strength and flexibility) are essential areas that all primary school aged kids need to develop.  It is better done when they’re still young – before they move up to secondary and have to cope with issues associated with adolescence or greater peer pressure. … Primary school (age 6 – 12) are critical physical and emotional developmental years.  Children are starting to develop greater self-responsibility, and it is important that they also understand the importance of looking after themselves. ”

As parents, we need to get out there with our kids and encourage them with activity and  their food choices. Kids model their behaviour on those they admire and respect.  Although it may not always feel like it, we as parents are the number 1 role-models and we need to ‘practice what we preach’. Maybe try taking a walk, try having family conversations about the food being eaten and why it is healthy or unhealthy.

Photo Credit: washingtonparent.com

Photo Credit: washingtonparent.com

 

As time goes on researchers are finding more links between fitness and learning.
“..There is very strong empirical evidence that links fitness with optimum leaning.  For example, exercise increases the production of cells in the hippocampus area of the brain, which is also the area responsible for both learning and also memory…
Of most note, fitness does not impact as much on initial leaning, but it has helped retention and memory recall far more significantly.  This might explain why fit kids achieve better than obese kids during examinations…
Kids who avoid junk food have more consistent energy and concentration levels during the day.”

Kids who are fit:

* supply their brains with more oxygen, allowing clearer thinking and better concentration levels
* have better core strength, so find sitting at a desk or studying easier
* have been shown to fatigue less, both later in the day and later in the school term
* are more alert, focussed and cognitively more capable, on a consistent basis.

Then, there is the psychological advantages of being fit:

*fitness helps self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as driving self-worth upwards
*fit kids tend to have better self-worth, leading to a better body image
*regular exercise increases positive neuro-chemicals like endorphins, which make kids feel happier and more confident, and also acts as ‘natural’ anit-depressants

Photo Credit: funintelligentraining.com

Photo Credit: funintelligenttraining.com

I really enjoyed this reminder that as a parent I am in an important position to help my kids, encourage them and role model for them. This information I got from the ASG Scholastic News, and they had sourced some of it from Rob de Castellas program SmartStart for Kids  and clinical psychologist Ian Wallace.

Maybe try getting that basketball out and playing with them, try getting the bike out or simply try a quick walk with the kids. I know time is often the issue, but I am trying to think in small amounts of time – it does not have to be a 3 hour walk, just a quick 10 minutes – start small!

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I went fishing!

Fishing has never been high on my list of things to do. Somehow I have a child who loves it! It amuses me when I see in my children a passion for something that seems random to the family culture. (Although his Grandfather was a keen fisherman in his youth.)

On this particular day it eventuated quite spontaneously to go fishing with the lovely visiting family next door.

There were 5 children and 3 adults. The day was very cloudy, balmy, incredibly still and occasionally light rain would fall. The water was clear and we could see the fish teasing us in the water. We had one knowledgeable adult amongst us who patiently got the children set up, rescued the fish off the hooks and was such a calming coordinator of the expedition. There were enough small fish caught to keep the kids happy, not to mention the crabs and a lot of re-baiting as we feed many other fish as well.

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What amazed me was the peacefulness of the day, but it was not there straight away. There was the high excitement at the beginning and then we all settled into the moment. I could feel my body slowly relaxing and it was like layers of stress peeled off.  I could see the kids  finding a space in this new world. As I sat back and surveyed, there was such stillness amongst the activity. Sometimes the kids would be by themselves just watching the water and their line, sometimes there would be voices asking for help or sometimes shrieks when a fish was hooked. But each person was just being, by themselves and yet we were so together.

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It seems that we are living in a time where there is an epidemic of  burnout. Not just for adults but also for children. The term ‘ill-being’ can be used as compared to ‘well-being.’  It can be difficult for adults to find the time to look after themselves. Just finding the time to get the required sleep, healthy food, fun, enjoyment and down time seems to have become a challenge. And, as adults we need to be teaching kids how important these elements of life are.

There is so much vying for our attention that it is easy to ‘focus on the superficialities  rather than what has meaning in our lives. A result of this is people may be more withdrawn, less empathic and isolated. We are becoming more and more distracted in this age of distraction. We need to take a moment and think.’ (Marsha Snyder MD Positive Health: Creating a healthy flourishing life)

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PERMA is an acronym that I have mentioned before. It is what Dr Seligman sites as being needed to lead a flourishing life.
Positive Emotion – Engagement – Relationships – Meaning – Achievement

We didn’t take any fish home (the up side of that was there was no cleaning of fish), but we did take home adults and children who were more relaxed, connected and thankful.

So, bring on the fishing I say!