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Thriving in the Midst of Chaos: Parenting With Special Needs Kids

May 27, 2021

Episode 91: The Science Of Mindfulness, Self-Compassion, The Joy of Living, and Positive Psychology, With Guest Dr. Rabia Subhani

Today, we discuss mindfulness, self-compassion, the joy of living, and positive psychology. Guest Dr. Rabia Subhani trained and worked as a pediatric neuropsychologist. However, after she had a child with autism, she found a different path and started working in the area of mindfulness. She found that when she changed her reactions and used mindfulness practices herself, her son’s behaviors changed. Mindfulness is bringing your attention to the present moment with a loving, nonjudgmental awareness.

Mindfulness is helpful for neurodiverse children, as it can help with sensory overload, overwhelm, emotional overwhelm, improving focus, calming down, emotional regulation, reducing stress, coming back to the present moment, and managing anxiety. If you help the child practice regularly, then it becomes routine for the child to use these strategies when stressed. Mindfulness can make changes in the brain to help depression, chronic pain, anxiety, memory, monkey mind, and attention/concentration.

Mindfulness can help children and parents. Mindfulness can be used at school when the child is stressed, without anyone else seeing or knowing what the child is doing. Strategies include mindful eating or drinking, breathing exercises (including using an expanding and collapsing sphere to demonstrate the breath), 5-5-5 breathing, using cues to remind the child to take deep breaths, sitting meditation, bring attention back to their breath, the raisin exercise, brush teeth or shower mindfully, mindful movements (such as yoga), and modeling mindfulness behaviors for your children. Try to build these practices into a routine. Start off small.

Self-compassion is giving yourself the same level of caring and compassion that you would give to someone else, with the intention and motivation to alleviate your suffering. Think about how you would treat someone else in your situation. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend. If you don’t replenish, it leads to overwhelm and stress. Without self-compassion, it leads to shame, depression, anxiety, overwhelmed, and poor self-image. With more self-compassion, people engage in more exercise, eating well, going to the doctor, and have more optimism, life satisfaction, happiness, and better physical health. Parents can gain self-compassion by soothing touch (giving yourself a hug), doing things that make you feel better (warm bath, massage, drinking a cup of tea, going out in nature), self-compassion meditation, and a self-compassion break (have mindfulness that this is a moment of suffering, shared humanity vs isolation, and self-kindness).

The joy of living is about choosing to live each moment with love, joy and gratitude and finding that joy. You are constantly finding new ways to get excited and everything makes you happy. You are consciously living to be optimistic. D what feels aligned with your heart, soul, and mind. Do what feels good to you.

Positive psychology can increase joy of living, including savoring and gratitude. Savoring is noticing and appreciating the positive things in life, and letting them linger, the mindful experience of pleasure. Gratitude is recognizing, acknowledging, and being grateful for the good things in life.








Via Institute on Character

The Mindful Self-Compassion Program

Self-Compassion Resources

Self-Compassion Meditations 1

Self-Compassion Meditations 2

Guided Meditations

The Spoonie Struggle





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Show Music:

Intro Outro: Intro Outro 2 by Mattias Lahoud under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Theme Song: 90s rock style by monkeyman535 under CC-BY 3.0 License (

Self Care Song: Green and Orange No Water by Duncan Alex under CC-BY 3.0 License (


Hosted by: Jessica Temple and Lewis Temple


Disclaimer: Our show is not designed to provide listeners with specific or personal legal, medical, or professional services or advice. Parents of children with health issues should always consult their health care provider for medical advice, medication, or treatment.

Copyright 2021 Jessica Temple