Straight up. I'm not good in stressful situations. I panic, I cry and I cannot see past that immediate moment. I criticise myself and fall straight back into the arms of depression.
Why is it that I'm a much better friend to others than I am to myself? I would never call my friends an idiot. I would never ask why they even bothered trying in the first place. I wouldn't call my loved ones a failure. Yet I don't seem to hesitate in dishing out the insults to myself.
So, how does one become a calmer person? How do I re-train myself to be less emotional when something doesn't go right? More importantly, how do I not sweat the small stuff?
Here's a collection of tips that I'll be taking on board to handle tricky situations with a little more tact:
* Before I react, before I can let a few expletives out, just take a moment to breathe. Take some nice deep breaths, keep the oxygen flowing and keep a level head.
* Count to ten. Assuming no one is in any immediate danger, close your eyes and count. Then assess the situation and make your move.
* Ask yourself: Will this matter in one year? One month? Or even next week? Granted that running around for 45 minutes trying to fix a deflated pram tyre so I could take my son for an early morning walk was frustrating. But after I asked myself the question of 'does it matter?' and realised the answer was a definate 'NO', I quickly appreciated that I had quite happily spent the last 45 minutes hanging out with my little man regardless of whether our adventures had been fruitful or not.
* Realising that ultimately, the way I react and behave is a choice I make. I can choose to throw a tanty that rivals my two year olds or I can accept the situation and deal with it. My call.
* Give yourself a brief moment to have a pity party. Yes, life can be unfair. Allow yourself a quick cry or foot stomp, then move on.
* Focus on the solution and not the problem. How can the problem be resolved as quickly and effectively as possible? Get a plan of attack happening and take back some of the power.
* Call a friend and vent. Sometimes just being heard is enough to make you feel better. If not, you might just receive some solid words of advice instead.
* Remind yourself what you are grateful for. For example, a big electricity bill is never welcome, but that's what comes with having a roof over your head and being able to enjoy some creature comforts. Things could always be worse.
Dealing with my anger and being a calmer person is a high priority for me. Seeing my own children's quick tempers when things don't go their own way is a nasty reminder of how easily they pick up our habits. While daddy may be the cool, calm and collected one, they'll invariably learn quicker from the parent they spend the most time with. Me.