1. VIEW STRESS AS A SIGNAL: Feeling stress is not bad. It’s a signal to pay attention to something important happening outside. Miss this and the world outside (kids included) become your enemy, rather your partner.
2. SEE THE EVENTS THAT “COME TO YOU” AS “MEANT FOR YOU”: This mindset will generate a positive relationship between you and the events you face. Events are like pebbles thrown into your pond (self). Embracing events as meant for you is the opposite of the victim mindset, a mindset which leads us to “resist” and “resent” the things that come our way. Resistance generates more stress.
3. FEELINGS ARE INFORMATIVE, NOT DIRECTIVE: Welcome your feelings because they’re yours and they inform you about what’s important to you. Irritation, for instance, could point you to some important goal you need to accomplish. Focus on the message within your feelings. But don’t let your feelings lead you. You lead them by becoming solution-focused and going for the goal. Getting stuck on the feeling will increase your stress.
4. ACT ON THE JEWELS WITHIN YOUR FEELINGS: Every feeling reveals an aspect of you. Ever feel angry when you were excluded? The anger reveals your sensitivity to inclusion—that’s a jewel. Ever feel hurt when spoken to disrespectfully by your child? The hurt reveals how much you value respect—that’s a jewel. Feel the hurt, then speak respectfully while correcting your child. Live your jewel and your stress will diminish.
5. MANAGE BEHAVIOR, NOT THE MIND: Do not negotiate thoughts or feelings. We’ve all done it. Have you ever said things like: Oh, please don’t think that! or “You shouldn’t feel that way!” That’s mind control. Negotiate only actions: Will you do this? Are you willing to do this the next time this happens? You can ask children to do things even if they don’t feel like doing it. This is one of the most effective stress-busters in parenting.
Ramon Corrales is a life and leadership coach who has spent many years working in self-development, organizational development and team building. Born and raised in the Philippines, Corrales spent seven years as a monk in a Catholic monastery. He later spent a number of years as a family therapist, and is passionate about teaching others techniques for great leadership and successful relationships. This is the inspiration behind his SALT program (Secret Agents of Love & Transformation). He and his wife, Annabel, have two daughters and reside in the Greater Kansas City area. He plans to publish three more books in the SALT series.