1. Lessen your screen time. I don’t know about you, but too much screen time makes my brain feel zapped, and I get very irritable. I’ve taken off all unnecessary apps, and I’m reaching for my phone less and less these days. Computer time is limited as well. I’ve found a lot regarding kids and screen time, but I haven’t seen much in regard to how it changes adult brains. I can definitely tell a difference, though. For whatever reason, I just feel more calm and collected with much less screen time. See if it works for you as well.
Internist Kogan, on the other hand, believes the physical damages of increased technology use could be severe. She says that prolonged use can overstimulate the nervous system and increase production of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone.
“It’s the fight-or-flight response,” explains Kogan. “When you’re using these technologies, your cortisol will be pumping through the roof. And you don’t want higher levels of cortisol,” which increases your risk of experiencing anxiety, depression, insomnia, high blood pressure and diabetes.
2. Get outside. There are so many benefits. Vitamin D. Exercise. Connection to nature and to your kids as you build forts or ride bikes. Spending time outdoors calms my nerves and makes me feel so much more relaxed, and that makes me more patient! Thank goodness spring has arrived here!
Wide open spaces mean more opportunities to boost your health. For one thing, getting outside forces you to get a little exercise, and exercise is the best natural mood booster there is. For another, being out and about makes you more likely to encounter neighbors and friends, and social contact is another no-fail way to cut stress, says Thompson. And five minutes outside is all it takes get the mood-boosting effect, according to a 2010 study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Researchers found that people experienced the largest boosts to their mood and self-esteem after just spending five minutes outside doing some form of light exercise, like walking.
3. Slow the heck down. Busyness is a disease, but we have a cure! Drop some stuff! Say no to some things. Pare down your schedule. Leave some blank squares on your calendar. Be present in the moment. Feel your hands in the suds when you wash dishes. Listen to the sound of laughter from your kids’ room. See your partner and notice his/her facial expression. Smell your meal or the lotion you just rubbed on. Savor the taste of your morning coffee. Count your blessings and do some yoga or something. The world will keep on turning.
4. Find your jam. Seriously, find music that relaxes you and play it during the most stressful times of your day. Music reduces stress, aids in relaxation, reduces negative emotions, and improves your mood. If the morning rush frazzles your nerves, try turning up your favorite tunes!
“Music is known to tap into various parts of the brain, that is why it is utilized by many experts in treating depressed or anxious patients. The meter, timber, rhythm and pitch of music are managed in areas of the brain that deal with emotions and mood. These key areas are the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex and the parietal lobe.
The hippocampus, a structure of the limbic system, is responsible for spatial orientation, navigation and the consolidation of new memories. It also brings about emotional responses. The prefrontal cortex, on the other hand, manages extreme impulses and emotions. Known as the “seat of good judgment,” it enables one to make good and acceptable calls so that inappropriate behaviors are prevented.
As for the parietal lobe, it is in charge of spatial orientation, information processing and cognition, affects many others.
Because of its ability to alter the different parts of the brain, music has been utilized in a number of therapies. For example, it has been applied to stroke victims to teach them how to talk once again. At the same time, it is recommended to stutterers so that they can dictate words clearly once again. Since it reaches the emotion-related barriers too, music is now being utilized as a mood-altering therapy for depressed and anxious individuals.” Resource
5. Get up before your kids. I hated this one at first. I kept reading how much it would help me, but I am not a morning person. Finally, I gave in and gave it a try. Seriously, what a difference it makes when I get my morning jog over with and sit with a nice cup of coffee before the kids even get up. I have to admit it, the days I roll out of bed extra early are the days when I have the most patience.
Effects of music: http://www.emedexpert.com/tips/music.shtml
Effects of screens: http://www.forbes.com/2010/06/29/technology-computers-health-stress-forbes-woman-well-being-screen-time.html
Spending time outdoors reduces stress: http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/spending-time-outside-relieves-stress
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