Keeping Your Cool in the Heat of the Moment

by : Maggie Reigh

And if you’re like most parents, including myself, you probably “lose it" on occasion.? And you probably feel guilty later… and then lose it again, and so on.? It becomes an established pattern and guilt-tripping ourselves about it is not helpful. In fact, guilt keeps the pattern going because it makes us feel bad and stresses us out even more, and so we blow again.

So how do we break this pattern?? First, stop and really recognize the toll it takes on us and our children.? The other day a couple of the facilitators who were in training to lead the 9 Ways to Bring out the Best in You and Your Child program were facilitating the concept of punishment verses discipline.? In a staged demonstration, suddenly one of the facilitators blew up at a participant.? “Sherry!? How many times have I told you to quit talking!? Now you get to your room, right now!? I’m tired of these interruptions," she bellowed and hauled Sherry up off the couch and down the hall to her room.

Now I knew that this was a staged demonstration from the beginning.? Yet I was not prepared for the onslaught to my nervous system.? I was left shaking as a shocked Sherry was hauled away.? Wow! What a reminder of how that feels even to be in that environment, even if I was not the one being punished. Even the anticipation of the impending blow up sets children into a state of guardedness and tension.

So what can we do instead to keep our cool in the heat of the moment??

1. The first step is to notice.? Become more aware of what’s happening inside your body, in your emotional and mental systems on a regular basis so that you can begin to notice when you are ready to blow.? At first, you will probably blow before you notice it is building.? That is okay. Celebrate that you have noticed and stop. If need be, yell, “Run!" and let your children clear out of there! Don’t tell yourself you can’t stop.? If the phone rings or your neighbour appeared at the door, you would get a handle on your temper in a hurry. So cap it.

2. Calm down. You will still have lots of e-motion (energy in motion) running throughout your body.?

???????? Breathe deeply. Imagine you are breathing through your heart.? Know that as you do so you are calming the heart and the heart has the ability to calm every system in your body. (See the Heartmath Solution by Doc Childre and Howard Martin for leading information and studies on reducing stress and increasing emotional intelligence through this method.)

???????? To add further calm, try this brain gym technique: cross your legs, then cross one wrist over the other, put your palms together and interlock your fingers together. Now pull your hands up and inward, toward your heart, hugging your arms to your body.? Continue to breathe through your heart.

3. Focus inwardly and imagine you are in a peaceful place.? Feel that peace inside yourself.? (You will have to imagine and practice feeling yourself in this place of peace when you are not emotionally upset.) Make your decision on how to act from this place of peace.? It may help to bring your hands to your forehead. This draws the blood to the frontal lobes so that you can think more clearly. ?Keep your vision statement and how you want your family to remember you at your 85th birthday firmly in mind as you make your decision to act.*

Your frustrations and blow ups will likely not end immediately. Give yourself credit for the hard work you are doing in re-programming your reactions.? These internal patterns are deeply seated.? The more you practice checking inside and relaxing and calming yourself at all times will help reduce the incidences of blow ups.? Consider taking up yoga or meditation to learn to relax. (Yes I know, you’ll have to make time for this.? No excuses that you can’t take time for yourself to learn how to keep calm.? You are not doing your families any favours by pushing yourself so hard to meet their needs that you keep losing your cool.)

Remember, no guilt-tripping yourself.? Instead, celebrate when you notice and stop the blow up.? Focus on the love you have for your children and act in accordance with how you want them to remember you.

* The Family Vision Statement as outlined in 9 Ways to Bring out the Best in You &Your Childgives you specific information on how to “be the change you seek" (Ghandi) in your family, and to guide your decision making from your own internal reference point.

For more parenting tips and to sign up for Maggie’s free newsletter visit email: ? Maggie Reigh 2006?