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Calming Activities

Learn techniques for stress relief, with help from this parenting article.
Calming Activities

Calming Activities


Although many people associate the term stress with psychological stress, physicians use this term to denote any force that impairs the stability and balance of bodily functions. By definition, exercise is stressful, but its health benefits are unquestionable. Some stress is good, as long as it doesn't overwhelm you.

Although you have learned how to prevent stress, there are times when you will become frustrated. It's not good to carry this frustration around. It will take up too much of your energy, cause you to be tense, and possibly lead to problems with your relationships. Don't worry! There are plenty of ways to relieve stress.

Laugh More

Research has shown that laughter has an effective and specific role in the reduction of tension resulting from stress. It is nearly impossible to feel tense while laughing. The better the laugh, the lower the tension and the more long-lasting the relief. Long after the laughter has ended, body tensions continue to decrease. Laughter is better than a quick fix. Your stress level may stay at its reduced state for as long as an hour after a good laugh.

The ability to laugh will give you the ability to recognize and appreciate the humor of life's idiosyncrasies. A good laugh provides a cleansing of emotions and release of emotional tension. So keep a good book with humorous stories around or read the daily comics and get your daily dose of stress-reducing laughter.


Prior to age six, children seem to enjoy their own inventions of humor. The humor tends to be spontaneous and original. At age six, children begin to show an interest in ready-made jokes. This interest continues to develop between the ages of seven and ten. This age group delights in trying to stump adults with knock-knock jokes and riddles.

Tell Someone

Find support in someone you trust. Whether it's a friend, a parent facing similar problems, or a support group, you may relieve some tension by getting your problems "off your chest." Oftentimes, just saying a problem out loud will help you deal with it.

Of course, do not unload your frustrations to a friend in front of your child, particularly if he is part of the problem. This will cause your child to feel shame, which will lower his self-esteem.

Deep Breathing

This technique works wonderfully for immediate stress relief. Before reacting to something that is stressing you, breathe deeply and slowly for three breaths. To get the right rhythm, count to ten in your head as you are breathing in and again as you are breathing out. If you have time, sit comfortably, close your eyes, and breathe slowly and deeply for two full minutes. Concentrate fully on the breathing.


Getting lost in a good game of hide-and-seek with your child, or enjoying your favorite hobby without your child, may be just what you need to distract you from your frustrations. It will allow your mind to take a break and just enjoy the moment. Then when you need to go back to the problem at hand, you will be able to tackle it more calmly.


Affirmations are simple statements you say to yourself that help to insert positive ideas and suggestions into your subconscious. This is a form of constructive self-talk that can be very effective, if done properly. The key to the effectiveness of this method of stress reduction is the frequent repetition of these positive statements while keeping your mind clear of negative thoughts. Say the affirmations softly to yourself so that your subconscious can take in these thoughts and begin to act on them automatically.

You will find this positive thinking technique to be surprisingly helpful. By focusing on positive changes you want to make in your behavior, you will be capable of bringing about that positive behavior. By saying the affirmations out loud to yourself, you are reaffirming the behavior you wish to change or improve.

You can easily create your own affirmations. Simply start with, "I am capable…" and fill in the behavior you would like to achieve. Here are some examples:

  • "I am capable of being calm."
  • "I am capable of being happy."
  • "I am capable of being a successful parent."

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