To increase the frequency of that positive emotion, you need to reorient your thinking and train yourself to focus on times when you feel the spark of being fully invested in or lit up by something. Scan for Interest and Engagement Start with your positive intention. Say to yourself, I want to feel more interest and engagement. The drops may be likened to the contributions of individual members of the group. One person will say something, then a second person adds a new idea but does not always convey the relationship of his idea to the meaning of the first contribution. The thought of each member streams down the window in separate channels. Occasionally, someone may enter in and relate his thought to one of these channels, but then another member adds something which he relates to another channel. Usually it is possible in a group to see several channels streaming along in parallel rivulets of thought. If, however, the group-centered leader makes an effort to perceive the linkage between each new comment and then conveys this relationship to the group, the discussion takes on the characteristics of the second description. The discussion seems to flow down one channel, building up force as each new contribution is linked to it. This does not mean that the channel cannot be changed once it has started. Using the raindrop analogy again, it occasionally happens that several drops hitting close together may deposit enough water to change the direction of the main channel when they are linked to it. By relating the new contribution to the main stream, the leader may see the group change its stream of thought in the direction of this new influence. What we can do is sit with them as they experience it, help them to know they aren't alone, and model that we can handle suffering as a part of being human. The best you can do is love your child, as they are. The template for healthy brain growth for a kid and for healthy emotional development is a nurturing relationship with caring, responsive adults. Children can't handle an attachment void. Without loving support at home, kids may rely more on peers and need more outside validation. They may also become more vulnerable to absorbing cultural messages of how they are supposed to be.

Rethink common parenting practices. If your kid throws a temper tantrum, the last thing you want to do is impose a punitive time out. Time to cool down may be valuable, but not when it is perceived as punishment or withdrawal. That sends a message to the kid that when they're in pain, you're withdrawing from the relationship. That means I need to focus on when I find things more stimulating, rather than on my boredom. Make a list of when you are typically most engaged and interested. Is it when you are in the company of certain people? When you are exploring something new on your own? When you are in the flow of your work? What activities make you feel the most energized and engaged? Plan for interest and engagement. Ask yourself, What's one thing I can do today that will capture my interest and engagement? It can be something as small as seeing a movie you've been hearing great buzz about or as ambitious as going skydiving. Live the interest and engagement fully. The linking function of the group-centered leader is related closely to his function of understanding meanings and intents. This is because the meaning or the intent of a member's comment often is the link to the main stream of thought or to the previous comments. Its actual linkage is frequently hidden by the content of the comment. Thus, by clarifying the meaning or intent of a comment, the group-centered leader makes clear to the group how the new contribution is related to previous discussion. Perhaps an illustration from a recorded group discussion will make this clear. In the following excerpt the group is carrying on a discussion of how one of the members, a social worker, should approach a group of young married people to get them to take social action in their community:36

Bill: I would like to go on record with a very serious objection here. This was the implied assumption that somehow church socials or gatherings in communities for discussion are somewhat more valuable and better and people should do these rather than go bowling. I felt this implied assumption. Why shouldn't men rather go there than to church -- You are teaching them that the relationship is unreliable and conditional, that they are acceptable only if they please you. My kid is at the brink of adulthood now, and I think of the ways I've failed him. I didn't know how to act around a young child. I was waiting for him to grow older so I could engage with him intellectually. I used the excuse that because my partner was the primary caregiver and was competent and loving in that role--she was the one with so-called maternal instincts--it took me off the hook. All the loving attachment our kid got from her didn't cancel out the messages he received from my distraction and detachment, although it did help him develop the skills to offset it. Now, I understand that intellectual engagement, words, activities, or common interests aren't the basis of a true relationship; I welcome you to exist in my presence. Being with you brings me joy. It can't be cerebrally understood, but you can feel it. Get to know what it feels like, in your body and mind, to be interested and engaged. When you notice you're feeling that spark of engagement, pause and really take it in. How are you behaving? Are you talking a little faster, breathing a little more quickly, leaning in? Is your mind buzzing with ideas? Whatever you're feeling in a moment of interest and engagement, take note with all your senses and enjoy it.

Make It Interesting Some tasks are inherently boring, and there isn't a lot we can do to dress them up. But here are two tips to spruce them up a little: Play games against yourself. Don: I don't go along with that implied assumption. Bill: Well, I certainly wouldn't. I would like to bring in a diagnosis that my wife has made from the feminine viewpoint of our society. She, perhaps not peculiarly, much prefers the company of a group of men to a group of women. And I don't think this is necessarily a sex factor. She says you can almost predict what a group of women are going to do. Jane: I'll say. Bill: They're forced into a mold somehow by our society. She doesn't understand what it is. But a group of women get together and one group is pretty much like another. What was it like for my kid when he was aware I was not really present with him? For kids, that detachment gets translated into I'm not important enough. They read it as their inadequacy. It's traumatic. I had to work on that, to learn not to let my mind wander off into work. To just be there.

My active presence could give him the security he needed to feel independent enough to play on his own, to give him space. Many parents worry that they failed their kids, especially parents who are traumatized or engage in addictive behaviors. We are all imperfect. We all make mistakes. The next time you're doing a mindless task, time yourself. Then the next time you're faced with that chore, try to beat that time. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the psychologist who most studied flow (those moments when we're so engrossed that time seems to stand still), showed that assembly-line workers who tried to process the most units in a shift or commit the fewest errors were happiest. Look for the bigger purpose. Here's when your skill of reframing the drudge from Day 7 will come in very handy. Okay, so the task may be mindless, but that doesn't mean it's meaningless. Washing, drying, and folding clothes isn't challenging, and there isn't that much to be interested in or engaged with, but it serves an important purpose. It keeps our families clean and safe. The endless paperwork at the office isn't fun, but it's part of the job that provides us with the money to protect our children. For every boring task, dig a little deeper and identify why you do it, and your engagement level in the activity will very likely shift. And very often women join groups not because they want to but because of social pressures. Where men -- they seem to live in a much freer and easier society where what they do and who they join with is a function of their own choice. Frank: I think Mrs. Adams [Bill's wife] overestimates considerably both the interest and the variety of man's society. Group: (Laughter. Leader: Bill, your point would be what?