Raise your thumb if you feel STRESS on a normal day!
We busy moms (and dads) tend to experience stress and feel it right down to our breathing and heart rate, and it affects the way we parent, our productivity, and our own mental AND physical health.
Today I’m so excited to use my stress mastery training to teach you about how our brains respond to stress, how it affects our bodies, and best of all, how WE CAN be in control of it!
Check out this one simple technique that you can teach your kids!
Can’t see the video? Click to watch “1 Easy Step to Take Bake Stress” on YouTube.
No time to watch the whole video? Here are the notes!
Stress Relief Video Time Stamps
- 0:22: I’m currently almost done with my training as a Stress Mastery Educator through the American Institute of Stress. I can’t wait until I’m done with my certification and can share more with you guys! Today we will talk about how stress impacts your brain, how that in turn impacts your body and how you can take control of your reaction to stress.
- 1:11: I’m not going to tell you to shorten your to-do list, because that isn’t always practical and doable. When people talk about stress management, they often focus on reducing the external stressors, but that’s not always possible.
How Your Brain Responds to Stress
- 1:49: When our brain is interpreting sensory input it goes from the bottom up. At the base of your brain is the sensing part. Some people call it the “lizard part” of your brain. When you sense something, this part of your brain becomes active within a fifth of a second. For example, when a bug flies at your face you flinch or blink. You don’t think first: you just do it. When you feel stressed this part of your brain will increase your heart rate and breathing. It controls the immediate physical reaction.
- 3:18: The middle part of your brain is sometimes called your “monkey brain.” This part of your brain feels emotion and creates connection with others. Looking back to our example of a bug flying in your face: after you flinch, but still very quickly, you might feel an emotion such as fear or annoyance.
- 4:26: The top portion of our brain is the largest and it is where our higher level thinking takes place. Here we think through decisions, process thoughts, make goals and plan. Basically, the mental processes unique to humans happen in the upper level of our brain. Here is where you decide what to do in response to the bug that just hit you in the face. Maybe you squash the bug, or move to avoid more bugs.
“Mooooom, I’m hungry!!”
How many times do your kids ask for snacks each day? Wouldn’t it be a relief if they were empowered to prepare their own snacks, instead of coming to you and whining about how hungry they are?
Download and print:
Basic Needs for Processing Stress Effectively
- 5:15: Each part of our brain has a different basic need. The lizard part of our brain needs to feel safe. Since everything goes through this part of our brain first, this is very important. When you’re chronically stressed and don’t feel safe, or a child is being bullied you can get stuck in lizard brain. This makes it difficult to connect with others and do any upper level thinking.
Is it any wonder that kids who are being bullied or live in unstable home conditions are having trouble learning? -Katie Kimball
- 6:32: The mid-level of our brain needs to feel connected. This doesn’t mean you need to be with people all the time, but you need to know that you have people who love you and you have support when you need it.
- 7:30: When we are constantly stressed we drag our own thinking out of higher cognition and down into monkey/lizard brain.
If I’m feeling anxious and fearful, I’m not going to be able to complete a task as well. -Katie Kimball
Love baking with your kids?
Empower them and build their confidence with the Holiday Baking Challenge from Kids Cook Real Food! Black Friday Special: $35 value for $19!
How you can Control Your Stress Response
- 8:38: The great news is that we can control our stress response. The key is that it’s not from the top down. Telling yourself to stop stressing out is not going to be effective in the long run. If we can speak to the lower parts of our brain and work from the bottom up we are more likely to be successful.
- 9:17: Here are two big takeaways thus far: when we feel fearful or disconnected we can’t access the best thinking parts of our brains, and you can control the parts of your brain.
- 9:40: Now the practical “how to!” When you feel fear, what are you still in charge of? Your breath. We can make ourselves breathe slower, which in turn slows your heart rate and sends the signal to your brain that you’re safe.
Breathing to Relieve Stress
- 10:29: The most effective breath rate is about 5 seconds in and 5 seconds out.
- 10:39: The parasympathetic state is the resting state of our nervous system. If you are really stressed and want to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, you can breathe out for 6-7 seconds.
- 10:59: Let’s try this out!
- 11:20: Inhale through your nose and exhale through your nose or mouth. If you do this 2-3 times, you can feel your body go into a more relaxed state. The more you practice, the easier it gets.
- 11:59: Most things in the human body are in oscillation. We sleep, we wake. We eat, we stop eating. We inhale, we exhale. If you’ve ever seen a heart rate monitor or brain waves, they go up and down. We sometimes try to live in a flat line. It’s really important to have periods of activity and time to take breaks.
Stress Relief Practice
- 12:46: I have a challenge for you! The “7 Day Moment to Breathe” challenge! Take a moment every day to do at least 5 breath cycles as described above. Let me know if you’re participating and how it goes! You can comment on the Facebook or YouTube video.
- 13:04: You need to practice this breathing when you’re not having a “mommy meltdown,” so that you can access the skill when you need it!
- 14:10: I share a couple tips to help you remind yourself to follow through on the challenge.
Our stressful responses don’t have to have anything to do with what happens outside of us. -Katie Kimball
- 16:04: We can teach this to our kids as well! The exhale is most important. With little kids, you can hold up a finger and tell them to “blow out the candle” to help them focus on a long exhale. It also helps to breathe with them.
Chemicals in Pajamas?
Kids spend about half their time in bed and pajamas. Most kids PJs are laced with toxic flame-retardant chemicals or made with fabrics that will melt when exposed to flames and we say “No thank you!” to those in our house!
It’s tricky to find non-toxic pajamas, but I’ve got you covered! Some of our favorite brands of non-toxic PJs:
- Hanna Andersson is still mostly safe (on Amazon, and through Rakuten for the best deals)
- Target carries enough tight-fitting pajamas that it’s worth your time to check there, but many of theirs are not safe
- Burt’s Bees organic PJs (at Target, Amazon, and elsewhere)
Be sure to let me know if you’re taking my 7-day “Moment to Breathe” challenge. People are 39% more likely to achieve something if they write it down and 76% more likely if they tell someone else. I’m listening to your success!!
What You Should Do Next:
1. Subscribe to The Healthy Parenting Connector
I interview experts about kids’ health every week – stay in the loop with a quick Saturday morning email:
2. Try a Free Preview of my Cooking Class for Kids
Our members’ favorite lesson is always our 10-minute knife skills and safety class, teaching techniques with unique & memorable phrases from butter knives to chef’s knives (ages 2-teen). Take a peek here and try it out with your kids.
3. Enroll in the Online Cooking Course for Kids:
About Katie Kimball
Katie Kimball, CSME, creator of Kids Cook Real Food and CEO of Kitchen Stewardship, LLC, is passionate about connecting families around healthy food. As a trusted educator and author of 8 real food cookbooks, she’s been featured on media outlets like ABC, NBC and First for Women magazine and contributes periodically on the FOX Network.
Since 2009, busy moms have looked to Katie as a trusted authority and advocate for children’s health, and she often partners with health experts and medical practitioners to stay on the cutting edge. In 2016 she created the Wall Street Journal recommended best online kids cooking course, Kids Cook Real Food, helping thousands of families around the world learn to cook. She is actively masterminding the Kids’ Meal Revolution, with a goal of every child learning to cook.
A mom of 4 kids from Michigan, she is also a Certified Stress Mastery Educator, member of the American Institute of Stress and trained speaker through Bo Eason’s Personal Story Power.