Steamboat-based author publishing 1st book on ‘Mindful Parenting’
January 12, 2014
Steamboat Springs — Stressed at work on the day-to-day grind, or agitated at home with countless stressors that can come with balancing family life?
Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Kristen Race has spent the better part of her professional life studying and working in child, family and school psychology, and for the first time, she is publishing a book, “Mindful Parenting,” which delves into improving one’s well-being, productivity and creativity.
The book “explains the stress epidemic in our society," Race said. "I try to teach parents how to understand how stress is impacting our brains as well as our kids' brains."
Early last week, Race spent time meeting fans and signing books in New York before heading to Denver to do the same. On Thursday, she will be spending time at the Bud Werner Memorial Library introducing her first shot at authorship and meeting with locals interested in picking her brain on mindful parenting.
This might be her first published book on her practice, but Race said she has spent the past decade doing parent and teacher training locally. She has developed a school program in Steamboat that started with preschoolers and now has expanded nationwide with the help of her website, also named "Mindful Life."
Race holds a doctorate in child, family and school psychology with a focus on neuroscience, and she has worked as a school and family psychologist. She calls herself a brain geek, and she wears it proudly.
As she started to become more dedicated to studying, Race said her wealth of research provided the pieces for a book. In "Mindful Life," Race talks a lot about what she calls generation stress and the simple methods toward alleviation.
"I started experimenting more with how we could bring tools into our own hectic, stressful lives we lead as parents," Race said. "Parents are more stressed than they have ever been. Generation X has been identified as the most stressed generation in America."
So in the book she attempts to explain what causes the brain to be stressed, and she offers easy tips families can try out in their homes on a regular basis.
There's the "Rose, Bud, Thorn" game, where families can describe their day with the flowers' traits. Family members take turns around the dinner table describing their day with the rose (the good), the thorn (the bad) and the bud (what they're looking forward to).
Another game is even simpler, but Race said its importance can't be overstated. It's called "Gratitude," and families can establish a jar at home that at any part of the day, they can scribble down what they are thankful for and place it inside. Once a week, the family sits down to review the submissions.
"The research behind gratitude is incredibly powerful," Race said. "It increases focus in our day-to-day lives."
Helpful tips and family games are just among the few hitting points Race dives into with "Mindful Parenting." Much of her years of research and practice is explained, but ironically enough, the writing, publishing and traveling has taken a toll on her own family life.
"It's been difficult because here I am trying to create a calmer life for families, but it takes a lot of time away from my own," she said. "I have a super supportive husband who is a great father who can step in and balance things."
Race will be at the library at 6:30 p.m. for her meet and greet.
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