Teen Parenting Expert’s Tip of the Month – April


By Barbara McRae, MCC

What parent doesn’t feel stressed? For most of us stress piles up like dirty laundry! Without a method for relieving daily stress, it will accumulate and can consume you.

The next time you discover that your 18-year-old son skips more classes than he attends or your 19-year-old daughter announces that she’s having an abortion, stop yourself from over-reacting. Worry and other negative emotions won’t ease your stress; it will only make matters worse.

Contrary to what lots of people believe, stress is not caused by events outside of our selves. The reality is that: stress is an interpretation! We give meaning to all events. My late father-in-law used to say, “No matter what happens, you can decide to laugh or cry; it’s up to you.” The triggering of your stress response is dependent on your perception of the event. Like it or not, our perceptions are habitual.

Worrying or feeling upset wastes your energy and contributes to weakening your body. It eventually leads to chronic stress. Once you realize that your difficulties disappear when you change your interpretation of an event, you will be in a position to choose stress or serenity. Did you know that the benefits to the body from jogging and eating healthy food are negated when we allow ourselves to experience stressful responses?

We cannot control outside events, but we can learn to neutralize the inevitable curve balls life throws your way. Learn to reframe the troubling situations you are facing and stay calm. You can be much more resilient when you use one of these 30-second stress relievers:

1. BREATH deliberately.
This is my personal favorite. By focusing on your breathing anywhere, anytime, you can get immediate results. Just place your entire attention on your breath as you inhale and exhale. This will calm your body, mind, and emotions! Now you’ll be able to think clearly.

2. LISTEN to upbeat music.

For many people, listening to uplifting music will do the trick to get you back on track. It’s easier now than ever to create and carry with you the type of music that causes you to feel confident and great about yourself.

3. MOVE your body.
No doubt you’ve noticed that if you work out at the gym, you feel better. Well, you can move your body without a gym. You can run in place, stretch, or rebound on a mini-trampoline (I have one in my home office!). Select a way to move your body that’s easy for you to do when you need it the most.

When your mind is calm and your body is relaxed, you’ll have remarkable strength. Choose at least one of these powerful methods or create your own stress-reliever. It’s good to have a back-up strategy in case you need more than one way to relieve your stress. Prepare in advance; this way you’ll have what you need when you need it.
Of course, none of these strategies will work UNLESS you’re committed to giving them a chance. Sometimes it feels like we’d rather be upset. Just remember that stressing creates struggle. And struggling is optional!
Parents aren’t the only ones who feel stressed. So do teenagers. Most of them have learned it from us! When we manage our stress, everyone benefits.

© Barbara McRae, MCC
Teen Parenting Expert, Campus Calm

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