From problems at work to conflicts at home, there are so many different things that can come out of the blue and create stress. It’s important for parents to learn how to deal with these situations not only for our own well being, but for our children. They’re watching us, they’re learning, they’re modeling. As they grow older and become more involved in school, sports, activities and life challenges, learning how to manage stress is a vital life skillset. It is also vital for parents to learn how to manage stress so they can enjoy the present and enjoy parenting.
When we deal with stress in an unhealthy way, this behavior is being passed on to our kids. So before we can learn how to manage it, it’s important to understand the different types.
4 Types of Stress
Behavioral Stress. These are the things that we do. It’s how we act, the way we talk. It’s how we react to things that happen in our lives.
Physical Stress. This is your body’s response to stress. Headaches, exhaustion, or illness can all be signs of stress. They are your body’s way of forcing you to take a break when you push yourself too hard for too long.
Emotional Stress. This is what you feel. We carry around emotions about everything that happens. When we fight with our kids, or our spouse/partner, there can be these lingering feelings that roam around in our minds. We’re thinking about it and having resistance against how it really is. We’re saying, “Oh it shouldn’t be like that. It should be like this.” Those feelings are serving to multiply our stress.
Psychological Stress. This is your way of thinking about situations. And this, more than any other type of stress, is at the root of everything. It really starts with our thinking. It’s the resistance between how it really is and how it should be. This is the psychological stress at play. It’s our way of processing and applying meaning to what is happening.
Now that you can identify that what you’re feeling is caused by stress, it’s now time to learn how to manage stress.
How To Manage Stress
Take a look at your lifestyle. This is huge when learning how to manage stress properly. Take regular breaks. Is your lifestyle supportive of you feeling the way you want to feel? The question you get to ask yourself is, “Is this working? Is my routine working for me?”. Put aside how it should be and define how it really is.
Write it down. Also referred to as ‘journaling’, this is a proactive and reactive way (because it works in the moment as well) to clear your mind so that unresolved thoughts or feelings are no longer an issue.
Meditate. Meditation provides that much-needed break so that our minds and bodies have an opportunity to refuel, recharge and to reconnect. It’s a very valuable tool you can pull out at any time to help you control that ‘fight or flight’ response.
Regular exercise. One of the best things you could do to manage stress is give yourself 10, 15, 20 minutes worth of exercise. Your blood is flowing, there’s more oxygen pumping and your energy level will definitely go up. Even just a little bit of exercise at home can go a long way towards relieving stress and to helping you feel more energized.
Children are going to model the behaviors that they see from us as their parents, including how to manage stress from everyday situations. How we learn to manage stress and how we actually put that knowledge into practice is going to do far more for our children than any sort of lecture, teaching, textbook, or anything else we can do with our children.
Guest post by Charles Murray Anderson who has been helping parents improve the relationships with their children, their partners, and themselves using simple yet effective methods that have lasting effects. Hundreds of struggling parents have been able to turn around difficult child behavior immediately with his free online parenting course, webinars, and e-book. To find out how positive discipline can change your relationships, visit The Blissful Parent for more information.