Stay Positive

As we all navigate through our "new normal", changes continue as we struggle to stay present and positive. This past week brought a whole new meaning to that for me as a parent to a teenager. Quarantine has meant different changes for each, but this past week created quite a struggle to practice what I preach. 
 
My son's childhood friend committed suicide. An Instagram post stuck out as he scrolled on a lazy Sunday, as most teens are doing early afternoon. His face was awe struck as he reached out for me, like he did when he was little. I had no idea in that moment what a new reality I faced as a mom. A conversation that I had with countless students 20 years ago when I taught high school but not as a mom! I wanted to wish it all away, after all, had we not been discussing the mental state of our children with this quarantine; no school, no sports, no family, no friends....how are they supposed to survive without each other or their outlets?
 
I had a choice. I could show my anger and feelings toward the injustices that I have felt throughout these past few months. Or, I could teach my son a path that is not always easy but good for the soul. Positivity! The very thing that can shade a rainy day; make hopelessness seem non-existent, I could teach him to find the good.
 
This, as you can imagine, is easier said than done. It has been a little over a week since we heard the news, but he and his friends are coordinating a fundraiser soccer tournament in his friend's name. They want to raise money for the Suicide Foundation. We have had open conversations about the little beauties in life that sometimes we don't take the time to see or feel, like birds and smiles. We have discussed that a nod or a handshake could be the difference between someone feeling hopeless or not. We are currently talking about being the light for someone, even if we don't know it.
 
Hug your children! Be a positive light for anyone! Humans are designed to feel and think. Be mindful when you pass someone by, you have no idea what weight they may be carrying. You could be the very smile that helps them to recognize that the sun will shine tomorrow.
 
                                                                                                            --Jessica Ryan
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