We are, as Our Circle should know by now, looking for more effective ways of reaching-out and attracting young parents to Our Circle. While hoping, and dreaming, this would be the beginning of the end of Child Abuse, just knowing we made a difference in one Childs life would be reason enough for Our Circle to celebrate. To change one Child’s life would begin to change this world for the better.
In preparing to meet the needs of young parents, or soon to be parents, we quickly realized this subject was not unlike the study of an iceberg. The more material we studied, the more we found, to the point where the tera-byte of our resources once was, now became or soon would be at least 2 tera-bytes of resources. But then, the worst unforseen thing happened, Robert began triggering more and more. Finally, through Frank, we believe we know why, and only time will tell. So for now, this is where we will begin Our new series of posts.
As much as I dislike having to tell you this, I would much rather you hear it from me now, than realize it on your own at some point later in life. There are NO Super Parents, only human parents; Good Parents and Less-than Good Parents. I believe in recognizing stress within yourself, and identifying your bodies stress response, relieving stress will not only make you feel better, but take you one step closer to being the Super Good Parent.
Using Your Senses to Quickly Change Your Response to Stress
Everybody has the power to reduce the impact of stress as it’s happening in the moment. With practice, you can learn to spot stressors and stay in control when the pressure builds. Learning quick stress relief won’t happen overnight. Like any skill, it takes time, self-exploration and above all, practice. But think of it as an education with a huge payoff.
Learn to recognize stress
Recognizing stress is the first step in lessening its impact. Many of us spend so much time in a stressed state, we have forgotten what it feels like to be fully relaxed and alert. Being stressed out feels normal.
What does it feel like to be calm and stress-free? You can see that “just right” inner balance in the smile of a happy baby—a face so full of joy it reminds adults of the balanced emotional state that most of us have misplaced. In adulthood, being balanced means maintaining a calm state of energy, alertness, and focus. Calmness is more than just feeling relaxed; being alert is an equally important aspect of finding the balance needed to withstand stress.
If you don’t feel calm, alert, productive, and focused most of the time in your daily life, then too much stress may be a problem for you.
Tips for recognizing when you’re stressed
Hush the voice that’s telling you, ‘Oh, I’m fine.” Notice how you’re breathing has changed. Are your muscles tense? Awareness of your physical response to stress will help regulate the tension when it occurs.
When you’re tired, your eyes feel heavy and you might rest your head on your hand. When you’re happy, you laugh easily. And when you are stressed, your body lets you know that too. Try to get in the habit of paying attention to your body’s clues.
- Observe your muscles and insides. Are your muscles tight/sore? Is your stomach tight or sore? Are your hands clenched?
- Observe your breath. Is your breath shallow? Place one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. Watch your hands rise and fall with each breath. Notice when you breathe fully or when you “forget” to breathe.
Identify your body’s stress response
Internally, we all respond to stress the same: blood pressure rises, the heart pumps faster, and muscles constrict. When stressed, our bodies work hard and drain our immune system. Externally, however, people tend to respond to stress in three different ways: some become angry and agitated, others space out or withdraw, and still others freeze up.
The best way to quickly relieve stress may relate to your specific stress response.
How do you act when stressed?
When it comes to managing and reducing stress quickly in the middle of a heated situation, it’s important to be familiar with your specific stress response.
- Over-excited stress response – If you tend to become angry, agitated, or keyed up under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that quiet you down.
- Under-excited stress response – If you tend to become depressed, withdrawn, or spaced out under stress, you will respond best to stress relief activities that are stimulating and that energize your nervous system.
- Frozen stress response (both over-excited and under-excited) – If you tend to freeze—speeding up in some ways while slowing down in others—your challenge is to identify stress relief activities that provide both safety and stimulation to help you “reboot” your system.
Our next Post in this series of Good parenting will be “The Basics of Quick Stress Relief”