I recently had the great pleasure of interviewing the holistic psychiatrist Anna Yusim. Anna has a private practice in New York and is the author of the book Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life.
This was one of the favorite interviews I’ve done, because Anna really got into how our intuition can make us better parents. According to Anna, intuition is the divine part of all of us, our capacity to tap into our soul which is what connects us to everyone else. Cultivating and tapping into our intuition can make our lives work better, lead to fewer unexpected speed bumps, and even allow us to experience more happiness.
Our conversation was wide-ranging, from the difference between instinct and intuition to Anna’s semi-psychic moment with a priest… but the part of our conversation I found most moving was the idea that you can “hold space” for the future version of your child. This intrigued me and also seemed to run counter to so much pop psychology today that encourages us to always “be in the present moment.”
Isn’t thinking about the future just another form of worrying?
Not so, Anna said, if you consider the future self as already co-existing with the self that currently exists. This brain-trippy idea has actually been studied by quantum physicists for some time (Anna and I both geeked out over Lynn McTaggart’s excellent book The Field, which explores much of the science behind these ideas).
Meeting the future self
So how do we get into this figurative time machine and start hanging with this future version of our self – or our child’s self?
The first step is to stop giving energy to negativity. When we’re worried about our children, sometimes it seems like troubling thoughts just come unbidden, and unfortunately it’s all too easy to fall into a negative feedback loop of worry and rumination. When that happens, Anna suggests, take a deep breath into your body to ground yourself.
Then, allow yourself to think and feel the positive outcome you’re hoping for. For example, if your child is doing poorly in a particular subject at school, and you’re genuinely worried they might fail, just work on picturing and feeling the better outcome of your child doing well.
You can start by spending as little as one minute each day asking: What will it feel like for my child to excel and love a particular subject in school? How will I feel as a parent when this happens? As Anna explains, instead of “believing” our children can’t excel in certain areas, we can create and hold space for the future version of our child who is capable of meeting these challenges. In fact, as Anna explains, many frontier scientists who study metaphysics and quantum mechanics believe that this future self and present self are actually co-existing in some as-yet undiscovered plane at the same time. Is your mind blown yet?? Mine was! I highly recommend listening to this interview if you want to hear Anna delve into some fascinating research that shows this phenomenon of “time slippage” can actually be demonstrated and replicated in scientific laboratories.
So, whenever your thoughts begin to go down the road of negativity, keep in mind that “the more you envision something, the greater it becomes.” It’s true that it’s often easier said than done to simply “think positively.” But making the effort to visualize good, positive outcomes can pay enormous dividends for both you and your child. You may be surprised to meet your child’s future self sooner than you think.
Anna Yusim, MD is a Manhattan-based psychiatrist on the Clinical Faculty at Yale Medical School and is the best-selling author of Fulfilled: How the Science of Spirituality Can Help You Live a Happier, More Meaningful Life. She is our featured guest on the Parenting Today video series. Watch the full episode here as she discusses how to tap into your soul’s intuition.