A Relentless Life
My wife and I grew up camping and have continued that tradition with our family and friends. We prefer tents, but others like campers, or RVs. There’s not a wrong way to camp, but there are many great reasons to go.
1. Camping changes your focus.
When you are camping, your focus is your family. Not your cell phone, emails, or the next big streaming series.
This frees up time for you and your loved ones to explore the world. You will entertain each other with games that require motion (hiking, tag, swimming) or interaction. Some of our best talks with our kids have been while hiking or sitting in front of a campfire.
2. Camping gives you a new environment.
A new environment, especially being in nature, helps the focus shift. Rules relax and schedules slow down. This may mean it’s okay to let the kids stay up a little bit. It could mean having the second S’mores is not that big a deal. The change of environment also allows for us to learn and reinforce lessons about life. In a smaller space, like a tent, we must keep it cleaner/neater. Because we are in a separate environment, we listen to each other a little differently. We can use this more relaxed time to reinforce lessons from home.
Being in nature, we discover she does not play favorites. Leaving your shoes in the floor at the house is just messy. Leaving your shoes outside the tent in a rainstorm creates a natural consequence of wet shoes. No amount of sweetness and politeness will convince mother nature not to smack you down.
3. Camping is an adventure.
The novelty of being outside for days at a time excites the child and explorer in all of us. If everyone has a reason to go and starts with a positive attitude, the trip can create great bonds. Many times, just being outside and breathing in fresh air can change our attitude. Just give it a few hours.
4. Camping slows the pace.
Because of the change of focus and new environment, families end up spending more quality time during a weekend of camping than many do in a month. The short-term camping experience makes things like a meal outside or game more enjoyable. Remember to relax and give everyone a little breathing room.
The outdoors gives us all room to grow.
5. Camping is a shared hardship.
You won’t have every creature comfort when you go camping – and that’s ok. Our family’s goal is to pack as little as possible when we camp, so we have fewer things to worry about or keep track of. Every camping trip brings the challenge of something being forgotten, something being broken, and learning to deal with each other in tight spaces and in times where there’s nothing else to do. Your kids (and you) learn to improvise and make up new games or activities to share. Boredom breeds creativity.
“Do you remember that time that….”
Think of the stories that you tell when your extended family gathers. There are stories of wonderful summers, incredible ski trips, and great holidays. In my family, most of the stories are about times that were difficult. Times we persevered and pushed through together. These shared hardships bind us together in ways that are unique to our family. These stories become part of the fabric of our history that our children will share with their own families.
People have been living outside for all of creation. Make a list, grab a tent, and go outside. Happy camping.
By most people’s estimation, last year was an unusual year. Distance learning and Zoom meetings were not a “normal part” of most people’s lives just 18 months ago. Most people got a moment to evaluate what they were doing and how important certain meetings and relationships are. This was a time to prioritize ourselves and how we make things happen.
These are the things that I felt that I learned from the situations created by last year:
1) You can’t prepare for an emergency that is happening now. If you remember the toilet paper shortage of 2020, you realize that several thousand people realized all at once, that they had not stockpiled enough supplies for an event that occurs for most people on a pretty regular basis. So if you are not in crisis now, begin budgeting to buy a few more items than you need to run the household. This can be as small as a couple cans and an extra package of toilet paper. Don’t wait until everyone else realizes the need. This also includes training and skills. You don’t learn to pilot a plane when it is crashing. It is possible but hard. You may have learned to cook, or food prep, or harvest food during this pandemic but it would have been easier with a head start.
2) Fitness is important to many and you have to rely on yourself to maintain it. Gyms were closed. Instructors all relied on digital platforms to get information out but there was a different accountability when you could not just meet your friend at the gym or for a run. Home gyms became a serious thing. Some people got serious about fitness and realized that it had strong links to health especially as applied to COVID.
3) Family matters. This is not just the people you are genetically linked to but the people that you choose to be in your closest circle. Family time in the form of walks, hikes, family game night and front porch time became more regular. Is this still happening in your family? Can you sit down for a meal a day to communicate and break bread with the people in your household? Do you talk to the people you love on a regular basis? When there is trouble, they are the ones that stand with you. Actively create those bonds. Don’t leave them to chance.
4) Have an emergency fund: Start now. Save your stimulus check for when you need funds to buy food for the house, the refrigerator goes out or the car breaks down. The stimulus help and other funding will come months after you need them. Start setting aside money to help for the “rainy day.” Crises happen regularly. They are only emergencies if you aren’t prepared for them. Money is a great way to be prepared.
Mostly what I learned was that having the wisdom to prepare for a long term event and the discipline to do it pays off. You must rely on yourself and a close knit group of people to help you through these times. Do you have these people in your life? We work on helping people make these connections and build these skills to prepare them for what life can throw at them. If you want to take steps to being more capable, contact us, because helping people and building them up is what we do.
1. Stick to a routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
2. Get Dressed. Pajamas are great occasionally but getting dressed and “ready” is good for your mind.
3. Get out at least once a day, for at least thirty minutes. Backyard, around the block? Move and get some fresh air.
4. Reach out to others. What a great opportunity to talk to/text people you have been missing in your life.
5. Stay hydrated and eat well. Junk food is junk. As much as you can, practice self-care with nourishing food and fresh water.
6. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Stress affects us all differently. Show some grace and be kind to one another.
7. Lower expectations. This is not an ideal situation; we will need to be flexible and patient. But we can do this.
8. Notice the good in the world, the helpers. And also – be a helper. Write notes, support local businesses – offer to shop for someone if you are able.
9. Reach out for help—RMA is here for you. Call us, reach out on social media, or visit the website. You are not alone.
10. Remember that this is temporary. Hard times make great stories. One day, you will share these stories of grit and coming together with your kids, grandkids or students.
Why does the eyeroll of your teenager bother you? Why does the moping of your tween get under your skin? When your young child throws a fit is there something deeper that bothers you other than misbehavior?
“Players don’t realize their body language is like a billboard showing their toughness level.”
—Ron Naclerio, winningest basketball coach in New York City (also known as the White Shadow.)
For me, the body language a child exhibits bothers me because it not only shows what they are thinking, but their emotional state for building a response. I want the student in the best emotional state to make a decision that gives them the best result. Your psychology is influenced by your physiology and vice versa. If they are eyerolling, the body language shows a thought pattern of disrespect and until they change their body pattern (language), they may not be able to change their thought pattern. Body patterns are easy to consciously change. Just getting up and moving is often a prescription for depression. It does not treat the thought patterns but it does immediately influence the chemicals produced by the body. It is often easier to change the body pattern than the thought pattern.
According to the Mayo Clinic website doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference. It takes less time exercising to improve your mood when you do more-vigorous activities, such as running or bicycling. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/depression-and-exercise/art-20046495
This is powerful stuff. Once the chemistry of the body is changed it leads to improvement in mood. I think we can agree anecdotally that there are moods that lead us personally to success.
Body language is biologically wired into us. A study done by the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, discovered just how universal body language is in athletes. In this study, Olympic athletes and athletes who have been blind their whole lives were studied. The athletes in both groups demonstrated the same body language for victory/pride, defeat, and embarrassment. The blind athletes have not seen the body language and simply mimic it. This indicates it is hardwired into their bodies.
It’s human nature to stretch out your arms over your head and smile when you win.
It’s human nature to hang your head and drop your shoulders when you are defeated.
It’s human nature to cover your face when you are ashamed.
No matter what you feel, you have to fight human nature with your mind and decide to display confidence, instead of letting your feelings take control. When you control your mood, you can set up the conditions that better lead you to success.
We need to learn to control human nature by learning to control our body language as well as adding exercise to change our emotional state. Studies indicate that when you show confident posture (chest puffed up, head held high, shoulders back), the chemicals in your brain change by increases in testosterone levels and decreases in cortisol levels.
By carrying yourself confidently, you gain a significant performance advantage. Increased testosterone leads to higher confidence, better mood, and increased mental focus. Decreased cortisol means your stress and anxiety levels will go down. These chemical changes put you in a much better position to perform at your best.
So at Relentless Martial Arts in Tulsa, when we teach Martial Arts in class we work on postural changes to help students get to the right mental states. Seated attention uses all of the positions described to get a better performance advantage.
What would you give to help your child to be better able to control their mood and get into a state that leads to an advantage in performance in the classroom, on the playing field and in life?
Here are some action steps can you take as a parent to help your child get this performance advantage:
1. Teach body language.
It’s easy to point out bad body language, but first take the time to teach your child what good body language is, how to carry yourself, and what that looks like. Show them how a confident person stands, how a confident person walks and carries themselves. This works so much better than yelling at your child for slouching.
2. Praise good body language.
Praise what you want repeated. If a child is quick to recover from a mistake, praise them in front of someone. Make it a person they respect and it builds confidence.
3. Exemplify great body language.
Set the standard for what great body language looks like. Lead by example and your children will follow.
Maybe you don’t have the best body language yourself. Maybe you aren’t quite sure how to model it or what to model. We can help. We can try to be the models in class and give your kids the performance advantage they need to get to the next level.
P.S. This article was inspired by/ and parts were taken from a website called Basketball is Psychology. My wife, Lisa, read this and said, “This sounds just like what you talk about all the time.” I read the article and agreed. If you want to read the articles go to https://www.basketballispsychology.com/post/body-language-your-mental-toughness-billboard
I think many of their articles are applicable to parenting and martial arts and all of life. It is not about a round ball sport, it is about being better able to deal with life.
Guro Brandon Bennett