Pause and breathe.
Calm down your body so you can calm down. So your brain can calm down.
When life seems to be full of tense times, upsetting news, and stressful developments, these simple behaviors -- pausing and breathing -- can restore calm and redirect negativity.
They can help you reclaim your brain and center yourself.
Hitting "Pause" during stressful, emotional, or intense moments has the power to diffuse even the most difficult situations. Like stomping out an ember that threatens to start a forest fire, pausing to catch your breath may very well be the most powerful parenting strategy you'll ever use.
Breathing can reverse some of our “fight or flight” response by counteracting the production of stress hormones, reducing heart rate and lowering blood pressure. It sounds so simple, and yet it's actually a profoundly effective medical technique. Seriously, you see it in the movies all the time, right?
Next time you feel your pulse rise:
- Stop. Take 3-5 steady breaths. It doesn't matter how big the breath is. What's most important is to focus on lengthening the exhale. That's where the body gets the relaxation.
- Inhale. Pause. Lengthen the exhale. Pause. Repeat.
- Once you've calmed down a bit, ask yourself, "How do I want to respond?" If you pause before reacting, there is a good chance that you will change your response – and avoid those “Why did I say that?!” situations.
The beauty of this strategy is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. And, you can teach this technique to your kids. Imagine if they had a tool to learn to diffuse intense moments at home, at school, and with friends.
Life is on constant fast-forward mode these days, especially in families with complex kids.
Give yourself permission to pause and breathe.
To manage your stress more consciously. To calm down so you can respond the way you really want to. And then, you can hit “Play” when your brain is back on track.