So here’s what happens: you start off your day with a screaming toddler who refuses to wake up, dropping her off crying, and then soldiering through peak hour traffic which was unusually heavier. Your usual car park spot got taken, and you end up parking further and as you walk into work, your clients called you up for the dateline to be pushed forward.

Sounds familiar?

Or as you leave work, you get to the car park and realised someone has bumped into the side mirror or scratched your car door, go through peak hour traffic home. Adding to the pressure is, you left a little later and so traffic has build up causing you to be anxious as daycare closes at a certain time. After grabbing the toddler and apologising profusely to the carers, you get home to a house in a mess and dishes from the morning unwashed. Or your dog has accidentally pooped on the couch and tore all but one pillows that you had tried hard to hide it in the high spaces.

Basically, I’m trying to summarise what I would call the ‘snowball’ effect day. A summary in GIF would be this:

Here are a few immediate go to’s if you are starting to get overwhelmed. Like the moment you had one rough patch of strike, I suggest for you to go straight to these:

1) Shift focus

Space out or blank out your mind. Invite a ‘screen saver’ image of something calming (waterfall, hourglass, beach, wind against trees). Or completely blank your mind out (black or white). Walk away from the scene. If you’re stuck in traffic look into the sky. Ok, if it’s raining that would be tricky, try music. The trick is to ‘shake’ the mind away from the focus point using any 5 of your senses (sound, touch, see, hear, taste). This is the immediate action before we feel like we want to scream/swear or throw something or punch.

2) Breathe

There are 2 crucial ways a person would breathe. One into the chest. The other to the belly. Either fast or slow

Breathe into your belly space. And slow down.

If you want to know more, there is an in depth article that talks about the difference between breathing into your chest vs belly or diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing through the chest happens when anxiety hits the roof, launching the body into flight or fight mode. However, controlled diaphragmatic breathing activates the vagus nerve, which is part of the parasympathetic nervous system thus relaxing the body.

Did you know: That we have actually lost the right technique to breathe as we grow older? This is definitely worth paying detailed attention to, and a great idea for my future articles :).

I was also told that babies sleep peacefully, just because they naturally breathe the ‘natural’ way. Now go on, and notice how a baby sleeps. Observe the belly rising and falling. And if you have a toddler, notice what happens when she or he gets excited or scared. His or her breath starts to shorten.

3)Soothe

Now that we have attempted step 1 and 2, step 3 can come in after satisfying Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs.

Fire when dealt with fire will burn more and dangerously. And to put out a fire, well, its obvious we use water or a means of the opposite action.

Breaking it further down to 3 things:

  • Hug 🤗 – I am not going to write too much, as action speaks louder. It’s worth having a pillow in the car if you’re stuck in traffic.
  • Be Kind 💖 – pull out a feel-good podcast or a YouTube clip; start opening a door for someone; give way to a car; or give a coin to a donation box. It may be a small thing but it’s a HUGE step for your mind to change.
  • Humour 🤣 – get out your most favourite comedian and watch it in the background; think about a funny memory or if you really can, transform the incident that is giving you misery into something really comical and funny.

In a nutshell, those are the few things I would do within the 15mins to 30mins the moment I start to notice the snowball effect. It doesn’t matter how big that ball is, as what will be superbly blissful is to start these 3 steps and that’s already victory in itself.

“Stress is not what happens to us. It is our response to what happens. And response is something we can choose.”

-Maureen Killoran-

Questions? Feedback? Add-ons? Feel free to comment below or DM me.

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