If you mostly answered D, congratulations! You’re a stress-fighting champion who really knows how to handle stress in healthy ways. Keep up the good work and carry on!
If you mostly answered A, you tend to be an "over-reacter" to stress. You may yell, throw things or slam doors, and lash out when you get stressed.
Mostly Bs, and you're a "withdrawer." You probably pull away from conflict and stress and isolate yourself.
Mostly Cs, and you're what psychologists call a "somatizer." You’re likely someone who feels stress as physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches, and sleep problems. Or you may turn to unhealthy behaviors like eating junk food.
No matter your stress personality, the key now is to find healthier ways to deal with your stressful feelings -- and then explain to your kids how they, too, can feel better by using those same good coping tools.
The Healthy Way to Deal With Stress
It's important for you and your kids to learn to deal with stress in a healthy way. Stress can cause you to make unhealthy choices, like loading up on sugary foods, watching TV instead of exercising, or staying up fretting instead of getting the sleep you need. All of these can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
If your kids see you handle stress with unhealthy habits like stress-eating, they can learn to do the same things. Actions often speak louder than words when it comes to parenting. You have to set healthy examples for them to follow.
First thing's first: Coping with stress in a healthy way doesn't mean completely overriding or suppressing your natural reactions, says stress management expert Susie Mantell, author of the guided meditation audiobook, Your Present: A Half-Hour of Peace. Instead, manage your reactions and move on.
If you're an "over-reacter," try another way to physically express your emotions besides screaming at people. Go for a run or take a walk with the kids. Or get into the water if you can. "Kicking against the resistance of water is very satisfying," says Mantell.
Physical activity can do more than just help you burn off angry energy. Explain to the kids that exercise triggers the "feel-good" part of the brain. You should feel better and more relaxed when you've spent some time moving.