These very first years of family life are full of challenges and negotiations that once resolved are actually incredibly satisfying. I like to think of a family as a unit in a state of growth. So when we hibernate for too long, we ask ourselves which of the spheres of life we have recently or over time neglected. In fact, I like to do this very easy exercise in which next to a life sphere we discuss ideas on how to improve it. It is a very simple exercise that, if you wish to do it for your own family, is best done individually for each member and then together as a whole.
Humane – effort to make time for helping others outside the family and each other within the family
Emotional – effort to make time for cultivating positive emotions (love, kindness, compassion) and working through the negative ones, scheduling activities that bring about positive emotions
Physical – effort to make time for sport, rest, affection, cooking nutritious food, looking after our bodies
Intellectual – effort to make time for cultural activities (book, cinema, theatre) and stretching our minds, problem-solving activities, formal or informal study
Social – effort to make time for socializing, family-and-community gatherings, family conversation, celebrating, events in your own city, etc.
Environmental – effort to make time for engaging with nature, improving our homes or local areas, repairing the house, making our immediate environment pleasant
When it comes to family growth and well-being I have got one belief: every effort that you’ll make in the space of one year will deliver its shoots the next and if cultivated it will fully blossom in years to come. Do not get dissuaded or discouraged by the instant gratification culture, everything that is worth doing, is worth doing even if the fruit will show later in life.
Have a lovely family life!
This exercise has been inspired by the exercises promoted within Cognitive-Behavioral Psychology. If you’d like to learn more about it, you may like to read: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Teach Yourself (2012) by Christine Wilding or any other book or introduction to Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.