One of the easiest ways to do this is to focus on your breathing. If you can intentionally slow your breathing down to about 6 breaths per minute, you will cause your body to relax.
Once you pause and calm down, you will be in a much better position to respond in a helpful, not hurtful, way to your children. McGonigal goes on to say "The pause-and-plan response sends that energy to the brain - and not just anywhere in the brain, but specifically to the self-control center, the prefrontal cortex. Stress encourages you to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes, but self-control requires keeping the big picture in mind. Learning how to better manage your stress is one of the most important things you can do to improve your willpower."
Decreasing Stress to Increase Self-Control
The more stress you feel, the more difficult it is to exercise self-control. Have you ever felt less self-control when you are feeling
- Physical pain
- Angry, sad or frustrated?
I certainly have! If you needed any more justification for taking care of your needs, you now have it. In order to be your best for your kids, you need to take good care of yourself.
All of this is easier said than done. However it is within your power to make new decisions in your life that will support better self-care. With determination you can make pause-and-plan your typical response to your children's behavior instead of fight-or-flight.