If you’re feeling empty nest panic, these free affirmations will give you the ultimate solution to overcome anxiety and loneliness once the kids are gone.
This is part 2 of a five part series! First, read yesterday’s post:
Missing Your Kid? Watch This Powerful Video
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I listened to her story and realized it could have been me. She shared her mom’s struggle to let go with details as clear as the sky on that summer day.
“My mom just shut down after all of us left home. She called me non-stop to check on me. She had no life outside us kids.”
Continuing, she describing the distance that grew between the two of them. “I felt bad not returning her calls and texts, because I felt sorry for her. But she lost a lot of my respect, too.”
Keep reading for a video tutorial to create your affirmations carrying case…
EMPTY NEST PANIC
Because we’ve been doing this parenting gig for a while, panic sets in as the time draws near for our kids leave to leave home.
According to Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., here are a few common reasons why:
- the kids have been the primary focus of your life
- other parents on the bleachers were your only friends
- the kids were a distraction from things going wrong with your marriage
- your kids’ neediness has become your identity
I must plead guilty to every one of the no-no’s on Ms. Hartwell-Walker’s list. The fact is, parenting now is nothing like it use to be. The world has become a more dangerous place and most parents I know are well aware of it.
After all, we know what could happen, and have become pretty good stalkers. The safety tripwire is triggered, setting off bells and panic whistles.
As a result of my strong worry-gene, I realized I needed a new strategy once my kids left home. Besides keeping me from thinking of worst-case scenarios, I used this simple tool when panic came pounding at the door of my emotions.
Over several weeks, I tested statements on my friends and myself until I found 30 affirmations that worked like vitamins. Next, I chose one each day and carried it with me to keep my thoughts healthy and my focus positive.
THE ULTIMATE SOLUTION
These days, my son has a standard response whenever I send him out the door with the words “Be safe!”
“Wow, mom. It’s a good thing you remembered to say that, or I might have walked into traffic.”
His sarcasm hits the mark every time. My focus on shielding him only makes me hyper-aware of danger. Beside the fact that he’s now big enough to protect me, I don’t want him to remember me as a worrier.
Instead, I want to focus on the fun he’s having (yes, even cliff diving last summer), and the great decisions he’s made (he decided to go last and watch everyone else’s mistakes).
THE POWER OF AFFIRMATIONS
Recent research at Carnegie Mellon takes the power of positive focus to the next level. New studies show that “self-affirmations actually buffer stress and improved problem-solving performance.”
You see, affirmations not only help us see the glass as half full, but also have practical use. Self-affirmations first make us more receptive to our mistakes and then help us re-write the script of our lives with a positive ending.
WHAT THEY’RE NOT
If you are restraining a scoff by now, chances are good your idea of affirmation is outdated. These days, self-help gurus and even popular religious leaders tout affirmations as a magic formula to health and wealth.
Saying, “I am a millionaire”, doesn’t make it true. (Unless a rich relative is holding out on me…) It’s very important we choose affirmations wisely in order to capitalize on their power.
After all, telling yourself something you know to be a lie doesn’t increase the likelihood it will happen. In fact, this approach leaves you more discouraged and disillusioned than you were when you started.
WHAT THEY ARE
Don’t make the mistake of choosing a statement that focuses on results (I will be a swimsuit model). Let’s face it, results are often out of your control, or wildly unrealistic (ya think?).
Instead, focus on a positive belief you can control and take with you into various situations throughout the day. Here are some affirmations you’ll find in the THOUGHT VITAMINS.
“I can be content in this moment.“
(Even if I’m not a swimsuit model.)
“I am worth investing in.“
(Yes, I will take 15 minutes to do yoga today.)
“I am just right.“
(Even with cellulite , I can still accept myself.)
Do you see the difference? In the end, affirmations are powerful because they help us make tiny choices, over and over, that result in greater joy. As a result of positive emotions, we are more likely to make changes that create a life we are proud of.
FOCUS ON NOW
The palpable panic you feel when you wave goodbye to your kid is often rooted both in thoughts of loss and thoughts of anticipation.
- What if I didn’t tell them “I love you” enough?
- What if they forget where their classes are?
- What if I never hear their voice again?
In the end, replaying the past will lead to regret, just as foretelling the future causes anxiety. Neither are productive emotions. (My knowledge comes from vast experience.)
Instead, using affirmations helps us live and find happiness in this moment. Otherwise, we will look back on today with regret and begin the cycle all over again.
“Science has proven that affirmations-when done correctly-are one of the most effective tools for quickly becoming the person you need to be to achieve everything you want in your life.”The Miracle Morning for Writers, p, 21, Hal Elrod and Steve Scott
THE BEST GIFT
Back to the conversation with my friend. As we walked forward, I turned a timid gaze on her and asked what I’d been most afraid to know.
“Are you close with your mom now?”
She answered with a chuckle. “Oh yeah, things are fine now. Once I started giving her grandkids, she was back to normal.”
A trickle of relief matched the sweat beads on my nose. As it turns out, there are no guarantees on this journey called parenting- even when we give it our all.
Because whether or not my kids’ futures look like I want them to, I’ve gained a valuable tool to refocus and rediscover peace whenever I need it. Affirmations are the best gift I could give myself. Someday, I hope my kids feel the same.
Come back for tomorrow’s post,
How to Find a Mentor You’ll Love for the First Time in Years
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