Whew! It has been quite a January 2014!! We’ve had a lot going on around here at Seneca Academy, and not all of it positive. We started the month with a sprinkler pipe leak, followed by cancelled and delayed school openings due to snow, and then our primary communication system for letting folks know about delays and cancellations was unreliable! It was enough to make anyone frustrated!!
I usually do not get stressed-out very easily, but I have found myself irritated recently by these unexpected twists and turns life has presented. Then I read this article “Why We Shouldn’t Sweat The Small Stuff” and it reminded me why it is important to focus on what is positive. The article not only describes how the brains of “even-keeled,” less stressed folks are different from those who frequently become stressed over little things, it offers helpful suggestions for how to respond to life’s trials and tribulations in a calmer way.
I think the practice of calming oneself in the face of stressful situations is particularly important for us as parents. For starters, our stress levels directly impact our children’s stress levels. When we “freak out” or get heated about something trivial, like traffic or weather, this signals to our children that they should feel stressed too. As the article mentions, this raises their cortisol levels, which over time can have all kinds of negative effects. Secondly, our children model our behavior, whether we like it or not! So if we present them with parents who are constantly stressed-out during daily routines, the likelihood that they will become stressed-out adults is increased. How much better would it be if we helped our children to maintain a calm outlook on life, thus reducing the levels of cortisol rushing through them on a daily basis, and provide them with models of how a calm, cool collected adult life might look like?
I know I’ll be working on some of the strategies mentioned in the article, such as re-framing circumstances, focusing on the present, and embracing optimism- especially in front of my kids! For example, we got new carpeting because of our sprinkler leak; I was able to get a lot of things accomplished at home during our snow day; we are improving other forms of communication to replace the unreliable one; and I love snow anyway!!
What do you all do to maintain calm in the face of your daily storms?