Learning how to be in the moment will help reduce stress, anxiety, and all other behaviors that tend to make us feel bad. However, with the urgency of life, it may feel like a daunting task controlling our brain during some of our hardest moments.
Here are three ways to help us be in the moment to calm down.
1. Look around in the environment. When we are in a room, area, outside, etc. take a slow look around and notice what is there.
2. Control breathing. Breathing pumps oxygen throughout the body and our muscles (brain included), thrive off oxygen. Learning how to breathe will help us control our brain and heart rate when we are upset.
3. Commentate life. This might feel strange at first. When doing a task, become your own commentator. For example, when petting a cat, think about the actions. My hand is moving towards the cat. My fingers touch cats’ fur. She lifts her back a little bit to engage. My fingers slide down her back and she purrs, etc., etc. The action of describing our actions puts us in the moments, changes our brain state, and increases our mood.
4. Learn to meditate. Meditation helps us be in the moment and improve sentience. This is a guided introduction to meditation for children.
Keep doing the small stuff to gain cognitive control! It’s a hard road but worth the journey.
Want to increase communication?
Learn to label.
What does learn to label mean?
Instead of asking why questions (i.e. “why are you doing this”, “why did you do that”?),
Label the other person’s feelings by describing behavior. Another way to think of labeling is to outline what is being communicated.
Situation 1: Parent tells child not to eat anything, dinner would be ready soon. Child decides to eat chips.
Instead of becoming angry and saying: “Why did you eat chips before dinner?”
Try keeping our calmness and saying, “It seems like you ate chips before dinner because you were hungry...?”
Then allow your child to talk without interruption. If this technique is done properly, our children will open up about their behavior related to the situation.
Situation 2: Human 1 feels frustrated because they want human 2 to help more.
Human 1 Instead of letting it boil inside and saying: “why don’t you help me, I do everything for you?”
Human 1, try this: “it seems like you are angry because (insert behavior, i.e. I yelled at you, I asked you to do the dishes, etc.). Then STOP talking and let human 2 talk. We may become frustrated at what they are saying, but if we listen, we will be able to get to the reason human 2 doesn’t help more.
Labeling feelings encourages emotional literacy, helps us understand the person we are communicating with, and allows our children to relax and become more open to talking.