How to Be Calm and Patient: THE 30 SECOND PARENTING MIRACLE
By Vickie Falcone
If you are like most of the parents I have worked with for the past 15 years, you would like to learn how to be more patient and calm when the heat is on. As it turns out, there is a surprisingly simple and effective solution for moving us from upset into feeling more centered quickly.
We learn in elementary school that breathing is an involuntary response, something our bodies do whether we are aware of it or not. But creating awareness around our breathing transforms this simple biological function into a powerful parenting practice.
One of the many benefits of training ourselves to take three deep breaths, before we react to an upset, is that it creates a space for us to choose a more uplifting and effective response (for example, instead of yelling at my child, I can breathe myself into the ability walk away). There are many physiological and psychological benefits to practicing deep, diaphragmatic breathing:
- In just 30 seconds, deep breathing slows our heart rate and respiration, instantly calming our body
- Three deep breaths will help us bring peace to a stressful situation – whereas talking often adds fuel to the fire
- Conscious breathing helps us diffuse the intense and destructive emotions of anger (our children’s and our own!)
- When we breathe deeply, we model for our children a powerful way to deal with stress
Parents who’ve taking the Parenting That Works! Course often report that the single most helpful practice they learned in the entire eight weeks was also the simplest: conscious breathing.
- Instead of yelling, they breathe.
- Instead of worrying, they breathe.
- Instead of becoming upset, they breathe.
- Instead of responding with angry, cynical or controlling words, they breathe.
Whole body breathing dramatically reduces stress and tension in day-to-day parenting challenges. It’s free easy and effective.
Take one deep, diaphragmatic breath right now and pay attention to the entire process—inhalation, the way your stomach then lungs expand, they way they contract as you breathe it all out.
Simply willing ourselves to change our behavior is often not enough, especially in the heat of the moment. Andrew Weil, M.D. the author of Eight Weeks to Optimal Health supports this perspective saying, “If you are upset, you can’t always just tell yourself to settle down, but you can always change your breathing in the direction of making it deeper, slower, quieter and more regular. By doing so, you affect your physiology, both the body response and the mental state.”
What else do you know that is FREE and harmless and works in just 30 seconds to calm us down, buy us more time and greatly increase our chances of creating more peace at home?