A few weeks ago, we came upon a blog post in Psych Central entitled "49 Phrases to Calm an Anxious Child." It was written by certified life coach Renee Jain, M.A.P.P., and widely shared in news and social media. As we went through the phrases–"I love you. You are safe," "Why do you think that is?" "I can't wait until ____"–we couldn't help but imagine saying some of the phrases...to us, the parents. Right? After all, aren't we one of the most anxious people in the world?
So here's a few choice phrases for you to whip out as one of your "Calm down, Mom!" cards when you need to center yourself amidst the chaos.
1. “Worrying is helpful, sometimes.” It's what moms do: We worry about our kids, if they had eaten, if they are safe, if they are happy, etc. We worry because we don't have complete control over everything they do especially when they're out of the house. There are situations when you need to let go.
2. “I’m taking a deep breath.” Deep breaths is the mom's go-to calming technique. It helps you pause, take a step back, and gather yourself until you can finally think straight.
3. “Let’s count _____.” Jain uses this distraction technique to divert a kid's attention from his anxiety (e.g., how many red cars pass by, how many people wearing blue shoes). It's a handy tool for you, too, and you actually do it already when you people watch.
4. “What is the worst thing that could possibly happen?” As you ponder the answer to that question, remember that things, as writer Michelle Wildgen puts it, are "replenish-able," from your savings to your job opportunities to your pride. You can survive, and begin again.
5. Have a battle cry: “I am a warrior!”; “I am unstoppable!”; or “Look out World, here I come!” Your before-going-to-battle speech will give you the much-needed confidence boost. "The physical act of yelling replaces fear with endorphins. It can also be fun," says Jain.
6. “I can’t wait until _____.” "Excitement about a future moment is contagious," says Jain. So when you're currently stuck in a bad situation, create a situation that you can look forward to, from a pampering session at the spa or a out-of-town weekend activity with the family. These can help you endure.
7. “This feeling will pass.” The realization that it will only be temporary can help you do best with what you have right now. Remember, it will get better.
8. “Close your eyes. Picture this…” Mind over matter, so the saying goes. "Visualization is a powerful technique used to ease pain and anxiety," writes Jain. Find a happy place to ease your fears.
9. “Remember when…” "Competence breeds confidence. Confidence quells anxiety," says Jain. Remembering the time that you got over your anxiety will give you the strength to do it again.
10. “You are not alone in how you feel.” You know this already, but you should never tire of saying it to yourself. You shouldn't also be afraid to ask for help. You may be surprised how family and friends can help you find the strength if you just let them know how you feel.
11. “Let’s list all of the people you love.” According to Jain, "Love will replace anxiety." So, try this: List down in your head all the people who love you, and you'll be fine.