If you missed last week’s blog, which was part one of our two-part blog series focusing on how to keep your cool, we looked at how to identify the triggers that make your skin crawl and we also explored reframing those triggers to help you keep your calm.
This week, as we continue looking at our anger challenges, I’ll offer eight ways to get calm when you’re past the point of triggers and are feeling ready to lose your cool. Then we’ll look at how planning ahead for those moments of frustration can help change these types of situations before they even happen.
Taming Your TantrumsSometimes no matter what you do, you are just going to get mad and maybe you’ll even want to yell. But there are ways to calm yourself down once you reach that place and diffuse the situation before it gets worse.
Here are 8 ways to do just that:
- Stop: Don’t talk, don’t yell—just stop.Focus on your breathing if you can. This can be hard but is a very worthy first step.
- Take a break: Tell your child you need to take a break and step away from the situation for a moment. “Mom is upset right now, I need to cool down.”
- Lay on the floor: When you’re locked in a power struggle, or about to blow , lying down can help reset your emotions and break the power imbalance between you and your child.
- Do it different: Sip a glass of water, put some music on and dance with your children, step outside for some fresh air. These actions lift frustration temporarily.
- Enlist help for hard times: Notice the times that are particularly hard or stressful with your children and find someone who can pitch in.A partner, friend or parent can help take the heat off.
- Take care of you: Make small moments for daily self care. Try five minutes breathing or meditation, or a short nap. Combine with a weekly act, like a coffee with a friend, a walk, or a pamper.
- Make a bigger self-care plan: Even 10 minutes a day of meditation, breathing, or exercise is a powerful way to shift your mindset and brings a deeper level of relaxation that leaves you less reactive. What could you do each week?
- Call your listening partner: Find someone that you can call each week, and split the time evenly. When listening, create a space where the other parent can feel safe sharing and thinking through how to move forward, and then switch.
Another great strategy is learn that no matter what, triggers will occur. If you plan for such behaviors instead of hoping that they won’t happen, you and your kids will be in a better position. Take some time and regularly answer the questions below to help you get ahead of your responses to triggering behavior.
Note transitions.Think about the day ahead. When do things get most difficult?
Plan to be playful.How could you connect or set limits playfully?
Avoid unworkable situations.When things get too difficult to handle, how can you stop them happening or postpone them for now?
Make things easy.What can you let go on really tough days, how can you make things easier on yourself?
Step back and try out these tips the next time you either know you’re going to be in a potentially triggering situation or once you already are. Pay attention to which tips help you more than others and use them repeatedly. I would love for you to share your experiences in the comments below as well. What worked best for you and what didn’t? Did anything you learned in this series lead you to finding your own solutions? Share those with the other readers!