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52 weeks of Shabbat Project

What is Shabbat?

Shabbat is the day of rest. In the Torah/Old Testament, God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day. Thus the seventh day becomes the day of rest, Shabbat. In Judaism, Shabbat is observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. Different sects of Judaism and different individuals have their own rules to follow.

The most strict version of Shabbat rules stay the same in my understanding:

– no work (reading is allowed but not writing, cannot sign contracts)

– cannot start a fire (thus no cooking, no driving)

– no electricity (thus no phones, tv, internet, etc, you can leave the lights on just don’t touch the switch)

– spiritual time (going to synagogue for service, personal scripture reading time)

– rest (naps and walks are popular Shabbat activities)

– community time (big Shabbat meals with family and friends, cooking is done in advance and dishes are usually kept warm in the oven or heating plate)

In recent years, more Christians start to observe Shabbat in their own form. Their Shabbat usually happens on Sunday and still consists of spiritual time, family time, rest, a break from technology.

Interesting fact since sunset time changes through the year, Shabbat starts a lot earlier in winter due to daylight saving time compared to in summer.

The sabbatical is of course related to the word, Shabbat.

Why do I want to observe Shabbat?

As a highly sensitive person (HSP), I realized last year the exhaustion from overstimulation is very real. 2020 had never ending news and I was drained after each week.

Elaine Aron, who is the pioneer of researching HSP, suggests hsp taking at least 2 hours each day and one full day each week to rest (no chores, no technology). The time is used to let our brain process information, get general rest, and replenish for the new day and week. Honestly, I suck at staying away from my phone at the end of the day. I still need to implement my rest somehow, so weekly Shabbat seems to be a good solution.

I want a pause in my week, a time I can just be in the present without worrying about keeping up with the world(I am aware that is a privilege), a time I can reflect and rest, a time I can be with my family fully, a time I firmly choose to stay away from technology and its endless stimulation.

Last year I have tried out a smaller version of Shabbat. Just by not doing my daily reading for a day, I felt much more rejuvenated after the weekend and more productive during the week.

This year I want to test out if a more full-fledged Shabbat can make me more rested and peaceful.

How will I observe Shabbat?

Most likely I will observe my Shabbat on Sunday, starting from the half day. I want to work on increasing it to a full day. I want to use Shabbat as an incentive for me to clean more on Saturday as part of Shabbat prepping.

I will still use technology to read for fun but try my best to stay away from the internet. I will allow myself to cook and journal. I am going to avoid chores such as cleaning and grocery. I will encourage myself to meditate longer, to nap more, to take more walks.

Weekly Update

I will try my best to document what happened each week on my Shabbat. Following my journey by revisiting this post periodically.

Jan. 9th, 2021

My 1st Shabbat happened on a Saturday afternoon. I used hours looking through my cookbooks for easy recipes to cook for the next few weeks. I did not rush myself and fully enjoyed the experience. I then talked to my partner and we took hour-long naps.

100 day of meditation- what I learned

1. Detach from expectation

Maybe yesterday I had a great meditation day, but I would not expect the same today. Everyday is different. My mood and energy fluctuate a lot every day and that is okay. Stop the expectation game.  give yourself more chance to mingle with reality. In the end, any kind of meditation day is okay.

2. Have a go to meditation when you absolutely do not feel like meditating

For me it is a 5 minute box breathing. No matter how tired or uninspired I am, I can always do a 5 minute box breathing. Then sometimes magic happens like what the ‘2 minute rule’ states. I planned to only do the box breathing, ended up doing unguided meditation for 15 minutes after that.

3. Figure out your own meditation time

Just because every meditation teacher says you need to meditate upon waking up, does not mean you need to do it. Of course give it a try, but ultimately give yourself the liberty to find out what works for you. A little hint, is when you have your brain fog the most. You know that feeling, when you are tired, a little more irritated than usual, you know you need to take care of something but you are just sitting on the sofa. For me this brain frog always happen in the late afternoon. That is when I meditate and it helps me to recoup some energy and freshness to go into the night.

4. Try exploring different kinds of meditations, then mix and match.

There are 3 big types of meditations: mindfulness meditation, concentrative mediation and expressive meditation. ‘The Transformation’ by James Gordon is a great read on this topic.

If I need to release a lot of emotions, I always turn to expressive meditation first (shaking and dancing) then I might transition into an unguided mindfulness meditation.

Recently I started to do a 5 minute concentrative meditation first, before I do my unguided meditation. It helps me to quiet my mind and better enter the mindful place.

It is a lot of fun for me to figure out what mix & match I need today to bring me back to balance.

5. You can be your own emotional first responder

With meditation, I learn to be my own emotional first responder. I never dreamed it could happen. When sh*t hits the fan, I always cry myself into exhaustion and/or ask for emotional support from my friends and partner. Now I always have a safe place (meditation) and a safe person (myself or my higher self or my inner wise guide) to turn to when I am upset. The good news is that this safe place and safe person are always with me. Knowing I can face my emotions alone in a safe setting gives me so much strength and comfort.

6. My emotions are valid but they do not have to control me or guide my life.

Being with my (strong) emotions in the safe setting of meditation for me is a way to honor my emotions, to tell them yes I see you, yes you are valid, yes you can feel that way. After this validation process, usually the emotions start to fade and my logic start to emerge again. Then I am in a more balanced state to decide what to say or what not to say, what to do or what not to do. 

7. Transcending the good day/bad day binary thinking

Figuring our how to meditate everyday has unexpectedly help me to transcend the good day/bad day binary thinking. Now on a bad stretch of the day, I still encourage myself ‘do not give up on today just yet’. Maybe all I need is a little nap or mediation, then I am all rejuvenated again to face the next stretch. Maybe there is no inherently bad days, maybe I just need to figure out how to bring myself back to balance from moment to moment.

8. 100 day project works

For me it feels like going to a specific playground. I go there everyday and naturally I discover how it is different today. I think about playing there a lot so I naturally receive new ideas on what to explore next. 

三个思维模型:乐观幸福韧性

面对变局,面对未知,我们应该怎么面对呢?分享3个从积极心理学里,学到的思维模型:乐观,幸福,韧性。

乐观/Optimism

乐观的思维,主要体现在人如何认知问题上。认为问题是暂时的 temporary,局部的 local,我们可以去影响改变的,即为乐观。

我天生是一个比较悲观的人,今年常常问自己:这件事情是永久的吗,这件事情我真的完全不可改变吗,这件事情真的会影响到我所有的生活吗。

把乐观具像化,减少内耗,保存精力。

幸福/Happiness

这个是积极心理学之父Martin Seligman的模型 PERMA

Positive Emotion 正向情绪,包括快乐,感动,对自然的敬畏等等

Engagement 对当下所做的事情的沉浸

Relationship 人际关系

Meaning 意义

Accomplishment 成就

对于世界未知变动感到不安的时候,我主要依靠意义和人际关系。而我的正向情绪和沉浸度都会下降。这个时候我就用forest/番茄时钟,保持短时间的沉浸度。正向情绪的保底措施,是冥想健身和写gratitude journal。

不同时间段的挑战都不一样,会导致各个变量的起伏。适时复盘调整,才能拥有更平衡持久的幸福。

韧性/Resilience

Biology 生理

Self-Awareness 自我觉察

Self-Regulation 自我调节约束

Mental Agility 认知灵活,可以从不同方面看问题

Optimism 乐观

Self-Efficacy/Mastery 自我成就

Connection 联结(与人,与神,与自然)

Positive Institution 好的机构

8个变量里完全受我们控制的是self-awareness, self-regulation, mental agility, self-efficacy。这几个变量,冥想/mindfulness都可以帮助我们练习。

Biology和Optimism,都有一定的先天决定的程度,但是后天是可以改变的。

Connection和Positive Institution都是有他人,外界的影响了。

控制我们可以控制的四项,尽量cultivate其他的变量,尽人事听天命。

好今天的mental model就分享到这里,下次分享intrinsic motivation内在驱动和self efficacy自我成就。

如何养育HSP小孩 – HSP part 2

先声明一下,我本人还没有小孩,但是我有参考一些博客和书籍来写这篇文章。这些建议,也适用于reparent自己,帮助hsp的自己成长起来。

  1. Overstimulation/Sensory Sensitivity

这两个特点联系比较紧密,我就放在一起讲了。

避免过度忙碌

Hsp小孩需要安静的环境,也需要不用脑的时间。对于他们来说,排的太满的时间表,不是一件好事情,他们还需要很多睡眠。放到国内的情况来说,尽量不要周末都排满补习班,写完学校作业也尽量不要让他们再写别的习题了。

不用脑的时候,可以安排一些简单的身体锻炼,简单的家务。让他们的脑子休息,进行自由联想,回想并且产生对世界和自我的认知。

有节制地享受

他们有可能写完作业以后,需要做自己想做的事情。与其跟他们说不能玩,还不如帮助他们有节制地享受他们喜爱的事情。这一点强调是因为,HSP有时候会对某个事情感兴趣,几个小时扑在上面,在自己意识到之前就精力迅速下降。小孩子可能需要家长,来帮忙把控这个探索未知世界以及保持精力的平衡度,尽量避免出现被过度刺激的情况。

长时间过渡

HSP小孩在不同的活动之间,需要比较长的过渡时间。比如,早起睡前,都可以给他们留更多的时间,来给他们慢慢过渡。HSP妈妈可以跟HSP小孩,约定好早上给彼此留慢慢苏醒的时间。

提前储存精力

如果有繁忙的考试周来临之前,先提前帮助他们存储好更多down time带来的精力,保证他们忙起来不会精力耗尽。

  1. Emotional Reactivity/ Empathy

接受情绪

首先要接受hsp的特性,接受他们的所有的情绪,也帮助他们自我接受。其实比情绪更难受的,是对情绪的批判judgement。让他们感受到自己的情绪被看到,被接受,是正常的。

管理情绪

如果小孩现在是情绪上头的状态,首先,让他们稳定下来。散步洗澡呼吸,不管怎么样先稳定下来。其次,让他们知道,情绪都是正常的,情绪不是你整个人,情绪是暂时的,情绪是会过去的。你有能力,把注意力放在更有帮助的情绪和想法上。

这里插播一个很好的自我慈悲的四部曲。第一,承认当下的痛苦。第二,正常化validate自己的情绪。家长可以告诉小孩,我以前什么时候也有这样的情绪,或者说当然别人遇到这个情况也会有这样的情绪的。第三,把手放在胸前,或者给自己一个拥抱,通过身体告诉自己现在是安全的。第四,重复一些自我鼓励的话,一切都会过去,我有能力选择自己的情绪等等。

情绪复盘

接下来小孩子比较冷静之后,帮他们复盘。复盘小技巧PIES,physical实际上发生了什么(比如我这次数学考了70分),intellectual我是怎么认知这个事情的(我数学不好就是很笨),emotional简单几个词描述情绪(失望,害怕,嫉妒别人)spiritual我实际上想要什么(我想要数学变得更好,可是比较数学我更喜欢文科)这个复盘不一定需要小孩说出来,有时候写更容易。

了解了小孩想什么之后,指出可能出现的思维陷阱(过于黑白二元对立/认为自己知道别人在想什么/灾难性放大缺点等等)。一次考试七十,不等于数学就不好了,以前也有考的好的时候。数学好不好,也不是考试一个角度决定的。一门课一次没考好,不等于一个小孩笨,你还有很多长处和优点。

指出陷阱之后,可以帮助他们思考如何用他们的优点来处理眼前的问题。而不是简单的,你要更努力,你要更上进,你要下死功夫。比如我自己,就不太擅长坚持到底把事情做完。这个时候如果有人跟我讲,你要坚持下去,我也感受不到。但是我的优点之一是love of learning,我可以说服自己,完成一件事最后20%,可能会意想不到的收获,学到更多。这个就是strength based parenting讲的主题,推荐一下strength switch这本书。

hsp更有可能出现,情绪和逻辑不能同时出现的时候,因为我们过载了。这个情绪复盘,就是一个把情绪和逻辑重新连接起来的过程。

感知身体

一般情绪上头以前,我们会有身体的感知,比如肩背僵硬,比如头疼,比如呼吸急促等等。复盘还有一点,就是帮小孩回忆,过载以前有没有什么身体信号。下一次有这些身体信号的时候,先深呼吸,先出去走走,(上一篇文章就是讲这个的)预先缓和下来,避免情绪过载。、

我非常推荐身体上的调节,因为有时候情绪和想法不能一时之间改变。但是我们总是能做深呼吸,总是能拉伸一下,这给到一个我们可以改变,我们是可以掌控这个状况的认知。这个认知符合积极的三个要素:问题是是短暂的,局部的,可以被我们调整解决的。

强调长处

hsp是好的感受更好,坏的感受也更坏。所以家长可以做的就是强调他们的优点长处,他们能吸收到更多的养分。

  1. Depth of Processing

如何规范小孩

我听的播客里反复强调了,不要以强硬手段管理hsp。给他们需要的足够的讯息,告诉他们你可行具体的期待,非常清楚地沟通你需要他们做什么,他们一般都会做的很好。也许是因为hsp小孩想很多,你跟他们说不要这样做,他们会想为什么不能呢,为什么别人可以我不可以,我几岁才可以。与其让他们想,不如先就解释清楚。hsp小孩,是最适合用成人化方式沟通的。

新事物可能都要更长时间适应

hsp对于新地方,陌生人,新的计划等等都需要更长的时间来思考,来适应。给他们留足这些思考的时间,需要的话带他们预先去看要去的地方或者,预习要面对的事情。还有要,管理自己的期待,比如不要期待hsp小孩和hsp妈妈会更任何人打成一片。

帮小孩打破必须做好的自我期待

这也是我新学到的一点,hsp很希望把事情做好,最好第一次就做好。在我自己身上的体现是,我不愿意去尝试没有把握的事情。我对于上手不快的新事物,没有耐心甚至害怕自己永远学不会。小孩要成长,必然要尝试没有把握的事情。这里有三点建议,一个是帮助他们调整对自己的期待(上手慢一点也是正常的,没关系)。二是帮他们找到低压力低后果的情况练习(比如给自己烧菜vs给客人烧菜,给自己烧菜就是很好的练习场景)。三是哪怕他们没做好也接受他们,鼓励他们,帮助他们头脑风暴如何用优点下次做的更好。

  1. 一些大方向建议

hsp妈妈一定要保证自己的安静时间,哪怕是每一个小时花五分钟呼吸,看看外面的树木。先照顾好自己,才能照顾好他人。

因为hsp小孩的特质,他们会非常清楚家庭在发生什么,可能的话对他们诚实一些。但是家长不要对hsp小孩诉苦,因为hsp小孩有讨好人的倾向又非常擅长不做情绪,有时候我们会成为家长的情绪垃圾桶。

家长要建立自己的可以倾诉的朋友,也要帮助小孩建立这样的朋友,hsp小孩会更容易理解hsp小孩。

对于成年hsp来说,坏的童年对我们是会有很大的影响的。但是人是可以有post traumatic growth的(灾难后的成长),如果你是hsp觉得童年没有获得相应的支持,推荐一下cptsd这本书。

再强调一次,注重hsp个人的优点,强调他们的长处,扬长自然能避短。

Reference:

The Strength Switch

Women in depth #88 Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child https://youtu.be/oUIUucbWhZs

Women in depth #84 The Highly Sensitive Mother https://youtu.be/qJ3qhEV9MJQ