To function at peak performance, remain aware of what is going on within and around you in a non-judgmental way.

Presence of mind allows you to be nimble and open to opportunities instead of stuck in a rut. Stress is empowering when you encounter a physical danger. Day to day, however, stress interferes with the ability to think clearly in the moment.

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Become aware of the signs of stress:

Breathing faster; Holding your breath; Talking faster; Chest tightens; Jaw clenched; Talking louder; Face flushes; Making a fist; Teeth clenched; Head pounds; Muscles tighten; Heart races; Palms sweating

Manage stress by taking a break to center yourself. Slow your thoughts and become aware of your surroundings. Recognize you are not in immediate harm. Of course you want to resolve issues right now, but acting on “gut reactions” may not be the best choice. Concentrate of breathing in and out at a measured pace. Reduce the chances of being hijacked by reactive emotions by getting adequate rest and taking time for reflection. Allow time to engage in an activity you find pleasant and fulfilling. Do not feel guilty about taking this time for yourself.

In the long run, this improves your mood for parenting your child. You may think you always need to put your child first, that is not helpful if you are stressed out and not thinking clearly.


About Kathleen Bird

Kathleen Bird, JD is a mediator, parent educator, former judge, and family lawyer. Her book, Self-Centered Co-Parenting, is the result of her experience working with thousands of frustrated parents to find a self-empowering method for quality parenting and decision-making.