Parenting Hack: Don’t Forget to Breathe

“Get your shoes on!” “Let’s go now!” “Go to bed now!” “Brush your teeth!” “Eat your food!” “Stop fighting!” “Stop running!” “Hurry up!”

Ever feel like you are going crazy & turning into a breathless, naggy, old lady about to pull your hair out? That you are morphing into a person you dislike.

Our body reacts to stress through”fight or flight” (also known as the stress response). When appropriately invoked, the stress response helps us cope with various challenges. However, the concern is when this response is constantly provoked by less momentous, day-to-day events, such as financial woes,  job stress, relationship problems and children’s behavorial issues. As a result, health problems arise, for e.g. high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. The stress response also suppresses the immune system, causing one to be more susceptible to colds and other illnesses. Furthermore, the buildup of stress can contribute to anxiety and depression. Although we can’t eliminate all sources of stress in our lives, we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.

Lately, I happen to learn about a breathing technique from Dr Gloria Park, a senior Mind-Body scientist with the Human Performance Resource Center in USA. This breathing method helps us to practice slowing our breath so that we can bring our physiology down. Even though it is a method to manage anxiety, I personally tried it and find it helps in managing stress too. Or at times when you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, frustrated, losing patience/temper (think volcano on the verge of eruption) when parenting (yay, there’s hope for mummies!). It is called “Deliberate Breathing”.

You are probably thinking you have heard about breath-in/breath-out method. What’s new? How different is deliberate breathing? Well, it teaches you the precise technique of how you should breath-in/breath-out.

So how does it work?

You have to breathe from your belly (not your chest) which will bring in all that oxygen to help restore energy to balance out the fight or flight. It also allows you to be mindful of your breathing and learn to have control over your breath in a way that’s going to help you manage your anxiety/stress.

So wherever you are, get into a comfortable position with both feet on the floor. Breath-in on 5 counts such that your belly expands like a balloon and when you exhale on 5 counts you want to push all of that air back out and contract your belly so that you are pushing out all of that air that you just took back in. You can place a hand on the chest and another on the belly to check if you are breathing correctly. Focus on the sensation of your breath going in and out of your body. Continue for 2 minutes and you should feel a difference.

The next time when the little one refuses to listen or has a meltdown and you find yourself losing your patience, try this!

Live, laugh, flourish & love, ALWAYS! xoxo

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