If you heard the recent episode on Parental Burnout, you'll know that our identities can become really confusing when we become parents, especially for women. On one hand, society tells us that we have to work hard and do well so we can Achieve The Dream. And on the other hand, we're told that a Good Mother sacrifices everything for her child - including her career. So what is a parent to do?
This episode brings together a couple of strands of my life that have been existing in parallel for a few months now. A friend of mine introduced me to meditation as a tool that I might find useful to explore when I was struggling with some personal issues. Not only did I find it interesting, but I also found elements of it that helped me to make sense of the situation I was in in a way that I had not been able to do until that point.
Like a lot of people, I had the common perception that meditation consists of sitting quietly on the floor cross-legged with thumb and pointing finger touching, saying ‘ommmm’ but when I looked into the research on mindfulness stress reduction that perception went away pretty fast. It had been shown in the scientific literature to be enormously helpful to people not just in reducing stress but also in reducing the severity of physical symptoms in the body that accompany stress.
But I was still having a hard time reconciling the thousands of scientific research papers I’ve read over the years on how children’s brains develop and some of these new ideas I was learning related mindfulness. And so that is kind of how I discovered Dr. Chris Niebauer and his book No Self, No Problem. After reading it I was able to reconcile those two strands - the psychological research and mindfulness - and I want to share that with you. Along the way, we'll gain an understanding of the mind that may help us to overcome some of the challenges associated with Parental Burnout - so even if you're not officially (clinically) suffering from burnout, this episode could still help you to better reconcile the different aspects of your life and identity.
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Kabat-Zinn, J. (2011). Some reflections on the origins of MBSR, skillful means, and the trouble with maps. Contemporaty Buddhism 12(1), 281-306.