Tuesday 14 February 2012

The Crying Game

A crying child.  It's one of the most stressful sounds in the world.  In fact, they have found that a small child's cry is about 95 decibels: that's as loud as a street drill.  No wonder it induces immediate feelings of stress, anxiety, anger and helplessness.  Aghhhh!

Over the past few months, James has learnt to walk, as a result, he's into everything faster than I can react.  I've had far more practise walking, running and jumping than he has, yet he's still faster than me.  How's that?!  As a result, I can no longer protect him from the myriad bumps, knocks and falls.  The result?  Crying, punctuated by piercing screams, has become a daily, sometimes hourly, occurrence.  And I can feel my patience slipping, my frustration rising...

About a fortnight ago I decided 'enough was enough', the crying is likely to continue for the short to medium term, so I had better find a way to deal with it.  Crying is an alarm bell, so I've started using it as that: when I hear James cry, the first thing I do (when I remember) is breathe out, to still myself.  I try to use his cry as a wake-up call for myself, to remind me to become conscious, to come back into myself, to return from my thoughts and become fully present.

I will be the first to say this is not a perfect plan.  As I race to him as he's just fallen into a box, out of a box or over a box, I don't always remember.  But sometimes I do remember and when I do, I'm so pleased because I had turned a potentially negative reaction into a more peaceful response.

In order to try this at home, you don't need a screaming baby (but it does help!!), we can reprogramme our reaction to any source of stress: the phone ringing, the boss yelling our name, the rude driver who just cut us off... We have a choice, a small moment of opportunity, when we can choose to respond consciously instead of reacting blindly to life around us.

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