How to Calm Down

How to Calm Kids Down

How to Calm Down

I saw this poster on Facebook and thought it was worth sharing, but as I prepared to re-post it I thought that I’d put my spin on it, because maybe I have some OK enough ideas.

  1. Go outside and kick sometime – preferably a ball so you don’t break anything important, like your foot, or anything else that would mean you need to calm down all over again.
  2. Go outside and run somewhere – best to a place where you can actually return from (instead of a dangerous area). Also, only if you can actually run.
  3. Go into your room and punch your pillow. Close the door first so no one sees you as they may not understand. Also, ensure your pillow isn’t close to anything harder than your fists or you’ll need to calm down all over again when your tiny hand bones crack against the bed frame.
  4. Listen to music that you already know relaxes you, rather than music that gets you pumped up. That means, no angry music, or sad music either. Keep the volume decent because excessive loudness is likely to have the opposite effect.
  5. Close your eyes and imagine a calm place. Try to image the smells, sounds, feelings, tastes as well as how it looks. The more senses you put on it the more effective the visualization will be.
  6. Draw a picture of what’s bothering you, but draw it quickly and with limited effort. Once you’ve done that, crumple it up and throw it away. Then draw something that is not part of what is bothering you. Put more effort into this one, and then show it to someone whom you know will appreciate it. If you go to the wrong person you will probably have a new reason to need calming.
  7. Write a letter to your future self. Tell your future self all the reasons you’re upset right now, and how you got there. When you’re done with that, tell your future self something funny, or silly because later, when your future self (you) reads it they’re going to appreciate your younger self’s humor.
  8. Read a book that you’re into. If you’re not into a book at the moment, read a book that you think you’d like. If you can’t do either, try something else on this list.
  9. Talk to someone whom you know cares about you. Before you start, tell them that you are just letting your feelings out (venting) and that you’re not looking for advice this time. This will prepare them, letting them know how to handle the situation. It’s relieving to be able to let it all out without fear of judgement or correction.
  10. Ask someone whom you know cares about you for a hug. Sometimes the best way to do that is to say, “I need a hug,” and then open your arms to them. It takes a special kind of mean to refuse a hug to someone in need.
Kindness is Not Easy

We Don’t Allow People Be Nice To Us

Kindness is Not Easy

When someone pisses you off, you will probably have an emotional reaction. I do.

If your reactions are visible (like mine often are) to the offender, they’re most likely gonna either defend their actions, or continue being offensive (if they’re very offended). It is highly unlikely that they’re going to provide flowers and rainbows.

Now both of you are fizzing with negativity.
When was the last time you were kind to someone being negative towards you? You could probably count the number of times on one hand, and the same is probably true for them as well.

Every choice we make from that point of view is being made thinking about how we were just offended, not thinking about the other person’s point of view – and why should we be considerate to the one who is offending us?!

So if we react negatively, we satisfy our egos and pride, and our sense of fairness is now balanced out. We can say, “I put that dumbass in their place!” But, they’re not going to take THAT lying down though, so they, too, rise to meet our negativity.

Here’s a thought: THEY are reacting to US. WE are making the situation worse by being negative. WE are not allowing them to back down. WE are not allowing them to save THEIR ego and pride. Our negativity towards others forces them to be negative to us. We make it next to impossible for the good in them to be revealed.

When we don’t care about the other person, like a stranger, there is really no reason to be so critical because we will likely never have to face that person again. They’re just a nameless face, or perhaps they’re a face we really, really want to get back at.

But wait, let’s suppose –or pretend– that we actually care about that person. Do we continue with our negative reactions, or do we stop and think it through from their point of view first? Did they mean to be offensive? Do we ever ask yourselves if you had that coming? Do we ever stop and face the mistake that we may have made?

Here’s the hardest part, the evolve as a person part: Our aggressive reactions towards others are really just a simplified way of avoiding facing ourselves. Being wrong is embarrassing and our egos do not want anything to do with it. Also, knowing that our actions have harmed someone we care about is very difficult to deal with: guilt & shame. If we face our mistakes, we’re forced to deal with them, or accept our failure, which only compounds the problems. It is far easier to shift and dodge the blame, or to be more aggressive so that the focus is never set on us, than it is to take a detailed look at ourselves, apologize, and commit to improving.

So, maybe we don’t defend and we instead own our errors.
Maybe we don’t over-power people and we instead embrace them as people with their own feelings.
Maybe we don’t deflect blame away from ourselves and we instead ask for some understanding of our faults.
Maybe if we do crap like that we can have better relationships – even with people we don’t like.

Guilt vs Anger Problem

Source: ParentMagic Newsletter

A very common and very upsetting problem arises in the course of many relationships, such as husband/wife or parent/child. It occurs when one person offers another person the choice of feeling angry or feeling guilty. This problem then involves an interaction between two testing tactics: Intimidation and Martyrdom.

Here’s how it goes: 13 year old Kristina walks into the room where her father is busy watching his favorite football team. With an innocent question, Kristina offers her father the choice of whether he wants to be angry or guilty:

“Dad, can you drive me to Jenny’s?”
“Kristina, that’s clear across town.”
“It will only take forty minutes.”
“You know, you pick the worst times to ask me for rides.”
“Your stupid football’s more important, huh?”
“Why the heck can’t you ever plan ahead?”
“You never do anything with me anyway.”
“OK, OK. Let’s move before the darn game is over.”
“No, hate to ruin your day. Thanks anyway—I’ll just stay home!”

When his daughter asks him for a ride, Dad can either take her, or feel resentful, or he can refuse, and feel guilty. The choice is clear; what to do isn’t.


Whatever the reason, you often wind up with two people sort of jockeying for position, trying to take the angry position and at the same time put the other person in the guilty role. When Dad says, “You pick the worst times…,” or, “OK, OK. Let’s move before the game is over,” he is saying, “I’ll be angry and you be guilty.” But Kristina isn’t about to stand for this so she comes back with, “Your stupid football is more important,” and “I’ll just stay home.” She, in other words, is now saying, “No way buster I’ll be angry, you be guilty.” If she does stay home, she may become the official winner of this match: she can be angry and Dad will feel guilty.

You’re probably thinking. “This sounds pretty stupid.” It is, but it happens a lot. Isn’t there a more rational solution than two people trying to guilt each other to death? Certainly it would be better to negotiate (or to plan ahead). Perhaps Dad could have responded by saying, “I can take you if you can hold on till halftime,” or something like that.

If you are the parent on the receiving end of a spontaneous request like the one above, or in some other situation that might involve this kind of jockeying, your best bet is to say “No”, or make a reasonable counter offer. Then—if your child is still unhappy—live with the guilt if you have to, and avoid coming back with intimidation to eradicate your discomfort.