Four Ways to Regulate so You Can Remember Truth

Parenting through trauma is hard, emotional work. Even as full-grown adults, we can find ourselves fearful and entering into our survival brains when we experience big behaviors, meltdowns, or other difficult conversations or situations. It is incredibly important that we, as parents, spend a lot of time helping ourselves regulate and calm our amygdala, even if it's not in the middle of a heated moment. The more regulated we are when a challenging situation arises, the more aware and present we will be. This will allow us to be the best version of ourselves, even in the midst of chaos. When we stay regulated throughout our days, we can access the logical, thinking part of our brain (the pre-frontal cortex) so that we can remember God's truth and be in line with His spirit, which is likely what nudged us into caring for vulnerable children and families in the first place.

It is absolutely, 100% possible for God to miraculously remind you of truth when you're dysregulated and out of sync with your body. I know from personal experience. God is not limited to our regulation. He can calm us down and remind us of His truth in any and all situations, and he will! However, I do believe that God has given us the tools to stay grounded and regulated. The more regulated we are, the more we can remember His truth, which arms us with the fruit of the Spirit (like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control).

Staying regulated throughout our days requires a bit of forethought and intention. We must plan our days including regulation throughout, or we will get lost in the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks before us. Thinking about the timing of regulation is almost as important as the type of regulation. It doesn't have to be a long period of time - even just 2-3 minutes of rhythm, movement, or laughter can change the trajectory of your day!

Here are four ways you can incorporate regular regulation into your day so that you are more calm and regulated when faced with challenges and difficult behaviors:

1. Laugh!

Did you know that laughter is scientifically proven to better your mood?

Laughter can...

  • decrease stress, anxiety, and pain

  • boost resilience & the immune system

  • calm the nervous system

You can even FAKE laugh, and it will have the same positive effects!

Some ideas:

With your kids:

  • Turn on a Youtube video of fails or funny moments

  • Turn on a song and ask them to dance with you

  • Jump on the trampoline or play the Ha-Ha game (you take turns fake laughing until everyone starts for-real laughing)

By yourself:

  • Ask your friend or partner to send you a funny meme

  • Fake laugh in your room alone (although beware, you might scare your kids!)

(Source is found here.)

2. Listen

Music also helps our brains regulate by releasing neurochemicals in the brain. It releases:

  • dopamine (connected to pleasure)

  • stress hormones

  • seratonin (connected to immunity)

  • oxytocin (connected to relationships with others)

It is also calming and connecting to listen to someone read to you!

Some ideas:

With your kids:

  • Turn on a fun playlist from high school and embarrass them with your dance moves and singing skills

  • Turn on music & create: cook, paint, etc.

By yourself:

  • Go for a drive & turn on your favorite song from childhood or a calming song

  • Put in headphones, go for a walk, and listen to a podcast or music.

(Source for this information is found here.)

3. Move

There is power in the rhythm of movement. If we are feeling out of sorts, it can level us out, helping us be more aware and restoring us to a calm state. It gives us the ability to regulate and reconnect with our bodies. For me, it's extra beneficial to get outside, breathe fresh air, and feel the sun shining on my face.

Some ideas:

With your kids:

  • Do a Tiktok dance with them

  • Turn on a Yoga video and see who can hold the poses the longest

  • Go to the park or on a walk

By yourself:

  • Go for a walk or run

  • Turn on your favorite song alone in your room and dance your little heart out

  • Do 10 jumping jacks every time you wash your hands

  • Move in whatever feels like it will bring you back to yourself.

(Source for this information is found here.)

4. Breathe

If I'm being completely honest, breathing only works for me when combined with one of the other three practices. BUT when it is combined with one of those, it really works! Deep breathing can calm your nervous system and help decrease anxiety and stress.

Some ideas:

With your kids:

  • Ask them to create a mountain with their hands so that you can blow it over.

  • Do some simple yoga poses with them.

By yourself:

  • Go somewhere alone, put in headphones with your favorite song, and practice "square breathing" (in for four seconds, hold for four, out for four, hold for four)

  • Try different kinds of breathing. Different types of breathing work for different people!

Now that you've regulated yourself, you can remember truth:

  • I am not alone in the middle of this difficult time. (Hebrews 13:5)

  • I can give grace and love even because Jesus loved me first. (1 John 4:19)

  • God will refresh me, rebuild me, and renew me when I am caring for the brokenhearted (Isaiah 58)

  • I am seen by the Creator of the Universe (Genesis 16:13)

  • God delights in me and in my kids (Zepheniah 3:17)

  • I am strong because God fills me with His strength (Psalm 46:1-2)

  • I am a sinner and I make mistakes, but I have the glorious gift of grace because of Jesus' sacrifice for me. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

  • I can make this very moment a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2)

  • God has placed this child in my family (Psalm 68:6)

  • God started this work and He will finish it (Philippians 1:6)

  • God will be faithful to me, even when I'm not faithful to Him. (2 Timothy 2:13)

  • I am precious and loved by my heavenly father, and so is this child. (Psalm 139:14)

I hope this helps you to create space for regulation and calm in your day-to-day! Let me know if it does!

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