By Juli Alvarado
We have learned about trauma.
We have learned about attachment.
We have learned about emotional regulation.
We have made all the appointments, met all the therapists, researched all the diagnosis, completed the mounds of paperwork, put our lives into a big fishbowl for others to review, run all the errands, made all the beds, started the laundry, dinner is on the stove, and the day is gone.
How did that happen? I thought I had planned well enough that I would have a couple of hours before the kids get home….and oh my, summer break is just around the corner.
I love my family, my children and my role in life.
And, I AM TIRED, stressed out and depleted at times.
Many parents have written to me over the years asking for ways to calm, work on their own stress and for suggestions for free or low cost means to feel better. I offer my response~
But, there is a catch.
I can share 10 tips for easy stress reduction; ways to help you get and stay more emotionally regulated and they will do you absolutely no good unless you practice them daily.
We have to intentionally take care of ourselves. Talking about it will not help. Doing it will.
What’s Breath got to do with it??
The emotional experience of stress triggers a chemical reaction in the brain. The chemical reaction impacts our physiological system. Now we have a brain/body reaction to stress.
The brain loses its ability for clear thinking, decision making and rational thought. We become impulsive, irrational and we do and say things that we soon regret.
The body becomes rigid, down to the cellular level we constrict under stress. Muscles tighten up, the jaw clenches, we often sweat as our heart rate increases and blood pumps more quickly under fire from the stress response system.
All of this happens for good reason! It primes us to respond to the stress~prepares us to take action through fight, flight or freeze against that which is threatening to us.
However, when we are pumped up, ready to fight, we simply add to that which has stressed us to begin with. A fight is not what we typically need in our day to day lives to bring the situation back to calm. Fighting against a person fighting just gets us more fighting! We make bad decisions, we add to the anger and tension and we suffer in our emotional and physical being.
Breathing, deep breathing is the connection between our body, mind and spirit. It is through deep breaths that we bring both our emotional, physical and spiritual being back into regulation. Stop right now, take 3 very deep breaths, exhaling slowing and intentionally. Allow your body to relax a bit as you do. You will understand clearly how powerful a simple breath is to our Peace and healing.
The brain learns through repetition, the more you do something the more natural it becomes. I started practicing deep breathing years ago, now I unconsciously stop and breathe to bring myself to regulation all through the day. My stress is extremely low, my impulsive, frustrated, intolerant reactions are almost non existent. I can function from a state of love and calm even in the midst of the storm, which I, like you, have daily.
Integrated into the 10 tips for stress reduction for parents is breathing, lots of breathing. I encourage you to pick 2 or 3 of my suggestions and begin to practice them daily. You will change. Your life will change. When you change for the better, so too, will your family change. Try it for 30 days, you will be glad you did!
See the ten steps here!