Our household (apparently like most of the world!) has recently been all about the new Star Wars movie, “The Force Awakens.” My five boys (if you include my husband and I most certainly need to in this case!) have literally been talking about it non-stop since they saw the first commercial for the movie back in November and quite possibly have been even more excited about its release than Christmas! Their enthusiasm was incredibly contagious and I couldn’t help but to join them in their excitement so…I made sure that we had tickets for this past weekend and I made sure that we had watched all of the Star Wars movies before we were blasted off to the movie theatre on Saturday, December 19th. I am so glad I got completely wrapped up in the Star Wars mania as the entire experience, especially the movie, was an outright blast.
It should be of no surprise then that with Star Wars on my mind 24-7 that the blog post “Jedi Mind Tricks to Yell Less” popped into my mind. Although I have been quiet on the blog for quite some while, my mind most certainly has not. Boat loads of blog posts written it has; just typed them out it has not! Seriously, every day my mind thinks about yelling less and being an Orange Rhino. As I shared in my book, the journey to Yell Less and Love More didn’t stop the day I reached my initial goal. Everyday I recommit to my promise to yell less and everyday I work to keep said goal on my mind so that I can successfully be The Orange Rhino that I want to be.
Some days it is easier than others.
And well some days the dark side is strong in me and keeping it at bay is tough.
Thankful I am though, for a few new mind tricks I have developed over the past year that are helping me to stay on The Orange Side and away from the Dark Side. I share them with you just in case you too are looking for some ways to “trick” your mind into the best mentality needed to stay on The Orange Side!
Trick #1: Use the Word “Now”
Nope, I don’t mean use it when trying to get your kids to do something, I mean saying it to yourself! I have always found perspective to be a powerful tool to prevent yelling. I add the phrase “I am grateful” to the beginning of frustrated comments or I add the phrase “at least” at the end to help ground me. “I am grateful that you are healthy enough to run around wild and crazy!” “I can’t believe you spilled the milk…at least your brothers didn’t too!” Perspective works wonders and now, “now” is another phrase that helps! This one is particularly useful for me when I get frustrated about my how hard I have to work on certain days to not yell. Using the word “now” reminds me that the current situation doesn’t predict the future. It gives me a sense of hope that success will come, that just because I am struggling today doesn’t mean I will forever struggle. [pullquote]Using the word “now” reminds me that the current situation doesn’t predict the future. It gives me a sense of hope that success will come, that just because I am struggling today doesn’t mean I will forever struggle.[/pullquote]
Saying “ugh, I am struggling to yell less” left me defeated and angry with myself which totally didn’t help on the tough days! “Ugh, I am struggling to yell less now” leaves me encouraged to keep going and to reach for the future. “Now” also encourages me that my kid’s behavior isn’t permanent. Oh the difference between, “He won’t listen to me” and “he won’t listen to me now” (but maybe, pretty please!, he will in the future if I keep trying to communicate?!) Just knowing that the rest of the day could get easier keeps me positive which helps me yell less. It sounds silly, but using the word “now” really helps to chill me out and to inspire me to keep working hard. So start using this word, now 😉
Trick #2: Remind Yourself that the Urge to Yell Will Pass
I read the most fascinating book last spring: “The Willpower Instinct” by Kelly McGonigal. I soaked up every word and filled the pages with notes and insights and questions for myself as so much related to my emotional eating challenges and my passion to yell less and love more. One key take away I had from the book–and I am going to muck it up here here and I can’t find the book to make the statement accurate (yes I loved it, yes I lost it, yes I am wicked annoyed) so please bear with me–is that urges pass. No matter how big an urge is, the desire to engage in a non-desired behavior (smoking, binge eating, complaining) or yelling (my addition as it wasn’t mentioned in the book!) will pass. The best way to help the urge pass is to not fight it, but rather to accept it. “Okay, I so want to yell. I can feel it in my body. I feel my hands sweating. Okay, these feelings will pass.” I use this trick a lot lately for a lot of different things and it has been a game changer!!!
Trick #3: Asking yourself, “What do I know to be true?”
Full disclosure, I learned this trick from my therapist…kind of. She taught me to say this phrase to myself whenever my youngest son got a high fever and I started fearing he would have a seizure. (Remember, last year was a brutal, brutal year for my son Mac and admittedly it took a toll on me.) So now I fight my nerves by saying, “What do I know to be true? I know that I can give him medicine and that helps. I know the hospital is close if there is an emergency. I know his blood tests are okay and there isn’t a bigger problem.” This method totally works in that situation and I have adapted it to work with yelling less too, in lots of different situations.
My kids aren’t listening. “Okay, what do I know to be true? They are so excited for Christmas they can’t focus. I know I acted the same way as a child. I know there behavior right now isn’t because I am a bad parent or because they are bad kids.” Empathy achieved. Calmness achieved. Yelling not achieved!
My kids won’t go to sleep. “Okay, what do I know to be true? If I yell the process will go slower. My kids are dawdling because they want me, not because they want to piss me off. I can do this.” Confidence achieved. Calmness achieved. Yelling not achieved!
My kids aren’t the issue, my insecurity is! “Okay, what do I know to be true? I am snappy with the kids because it’s me, not them. I am worried that parents are talking about me because of my son’s temper tantrum at the park. But I know that they are other reasons they might be talking. Maybe they are talking about the 70 degree weather in December (ridiculous!) Maybe they are talking about the fact that I handled the tantrum as well as one could. Maybe they are talking about how we need a girls night out.” Trigger management achieved. Calmness achieved. Yelling not achieved!
I so know to be true that this trick works!!!
Luke: “I can’t believe it.”
Yoda: “That is why you fail.”
Um, yep. Accurate you are Yoda. On tough days, when I start to doubt my ability to be an Orange Rhino and I tell myself “I can’t do this,” then not yelling just becomes harder. But on those tough days if I tell myself that I have the force within myself, that I have the energy, determination, and skills to stay calm during a meltdown…to be loving when all I feel is anger…to turn around and take a break when I am at wits end…to use an alternative to yelling…to be empathetic, well then, then I succeed.
Struggling to believe that you have the force within yourself to yell less? Tell yourself about all the times you did indeed not yell! You have been successful, you have used the Orange Rhino force and you will continue to do so! Believe in you I do! I leave you with a final Star Wars quote (and yes I had to research all of them as I don’t know them by heart like my hubby) from Obi Wan Kenobi in appropriately the movie, “A New Hope:”
“Remember…the Force will be with you always.”
If you seek more insights and tips to yell less and love more, and if you seek to no longer feel alone on this journey, but rather understood and supported, check out my book, “Yell Less, Love More: How The Orange Rhino Mom Stopped Yelling at Her Kids and How You Can Too!” Knowing how us parents have limited time. I have broken down the journey into 30 days, with each daily reading taking no more than a couple of minutes.