Yoga Mail

By Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen

A chanced encounter with a family of five in Sri Lanka a couple of months ago set me thinking; what is the fundamental basis for a family to motivate each other in the pursuit of health, happiness, positivity and success?

A little background of the family; they are in the Land of Serendipity to seek answers for leading a much happier, fulfilling, organic life, away from the current stresses that often faze us. From Australia, they feel the way to do it is to visit a place where life is not so consumed with “outside” influences.

We live in a world where everything is constantly evolving and changing. These changes are happening at a rapid speed. Most of the time we get lost in the midst of it all. When that happens, our lives get affected considerably, making it hard to focus, regroup and recharge, let alone be motivated.

As a mother of two, I can totally relate to this epidemic. I constantly have to juggle between being a mom and a friend, setting boundaries and motivating the kids to lead healthy and successful lives.

The time I had with myself to address this led me to a few pointers, which I know will help to be a source of motivation in leading a healthier, happier and successful life.

Ask the Question - Why?

In everything we do, ask the question WHY.

In this instance, why is motivating the family to lead healthier and more successful life important? I’m sure we all have the answers, but different ones. For some, perhaps family history in certain ailments is a huge motivator. For others perhaps it’s knowing that leading a healthy lifestyle could easily translate to a successful one. After all, it has always been said that a healthy body leads to a healthy mind; and the opposite is also true.

As parents, we know that in order to relay anything to the kids is to do it ourselves first. When you’re being a healthier, happier and successful parent, chances are your kids will follow suit. Emotions are contagious, if you are unhappy chances are your kids will be too. So make sure you are happy, successful in your own way and motivated most of the time.

I have always believed that doing chores builds character in my children. It is still an ongoing journey for me. I might sound petty, but telling kids to contribute in every little way is actually preparing them for what is to come in life.

Doing chores is not just that, it teaches kids to be gritty and responsible. Kids will also learn the value of hard work and the art of working together as a team. Collaboration happens a lot these days – at work, in sports – and what better way than to let it start from home?

Praising is a fantastic way to build self-esteem in children. However, if done incorrectly, it can also have a reverse effect. Children might feel the pressure to always score the highest or always want to be the best without immersing themselves in the whole process. What they should be praised on are their efforts throughout the journey of whatever projects they are embarking on.

Empower kids and do away with parental dictatorship. Children do better when they are part of the decision-making or even have a say in the process.

My family loves rituals; we create our own. The evening walks after dinner, the little chats we have in the afternoons after school, making food together, and sometimes just watching a good movie or just curling up on the sofa on a random day. These are the things that build “bonding” in families.

Building meaningful relationships is essential to growth and psychological wellbeing. Make sure the family takes part in get-togethers, play dates, lunches or breakfast meet-ups.

The internet and many gadgets available these days are definitely magnificent inventions, however, they are also known as the catalyst for many problems – less focus, anxiety, hyperactivity and other social problems. Use gadgets to your advantage, not the other way around.

What We (Parents) Can Do

In conclusion, have chats from time to time with the children on ways to be healthier, happier and more successful. Reiterate to them the importance of having a good amount of sleep. Tell them what could happen if their bodies don’t get proper rest. Food is fuel for the body; teach them the benefits of certain foods and the dangers of others, if taken excessively.

Come up with rules that work for your own family; children actually thrive on rules; use it to your advantage, parents.

Create the importance of working out a couple of times a week. It does not mean joining an expensive club or calling in a personal trainer; a run in the park, a half-hour kick-ball session or cycling around the neighborhood is sufficient. The bottom line is to keep the body moving and sweating a little.

Teach kids about grooming, and I do not mean the primping-for-hours-in-front-of-the-mirror sort. Grooming in this context simply means being tip-top in hygiene matters; taking care of your cleanliness, body scents, hair and nails could totally change the way you feel and see yourself. If you look presentable, you feel good about yourself and of course, when you feel good, you just want to give the best in whatever you do.

Parents, you have to walk the talk. Whatever you tell the children, you have to do the same. Kids usually learn by example; so you have to eat healthily, think positively and behave amicably – if that is what you desire your kids to be.