5 Steps to Stop Yelling

Monday, February 3, 2014

Yelling is nothing more than a habit, and habits can be broken. Here are 5 steps to breaking the yelling habit and bringing peace to your home.

1. Admit and accept that you have a problem. Acknowledging that you have a habit you'd like to break is vital. Think about the ways the habit interferes in your relationships, affects your stress levels, and impacts your children. Ask yourself: Why is this habit bad? What things or people are keeping me from breaking this habit? What are my triggers? What can I do about them?

2. Change your environment. Once you have identified triggers, you can begin to change your environment to get rid of those triggers. If clutter and mess is a trigger, make a tidy organization system with labeled bins. If getting out of the door in the morning is a trigger, set out clothes the night before, make a chart for your child to follow so the routine goes more smoothly, pack lunches and backpacks the night before as well, or get up 30 minutes earlier. If you find yourself constantly yelling at your toddler for getting into a cabinet or climbing on a shelf, child lock the cabinet and move the shelf.

You can also positively impact your environment to uplift your mood with pleasant smells, sights, and sounds. A delicious candle, upbeat music, and a vase of beautiful flowers can go a long way!

3. Create barriers to the habit. Get a support group for yourself. We have one here. Also involve your family members to hold you accountable. Pay up. Use the same rationale behind a swear jar: every time you yell, put a dollar (or more) in a can or jar. Set an amount that you'll hate to cough up whenever you give into the urge, and stick to it. When you've successfully kicked the habit, spend the money on a reward or donate it to a charitable cause. Take a picture of your mad yelling face and keep it on your camera roll on your phone. Look at it when you want to yell. If your reason for avoiding the habit is more pressing than your desire to engage in it, the behavior will become continually easier to avoid.

4. Find a replacement habit. Utilize some of these tips at the time you feel like yelling. If you do it consistently, each time you want to yell, your replacement will become your new habit.
a) Whisper
b) Do push ups
c) Sit down and cup your mouth.
d) Pray
e) Clap
f) Go outside
g) Hug
h) Look a picture of your child as an infant
i) Tap the inner corner of your eyebrows.
j) 4-7-8 breaths. Breath in for a count of 4, hold for 7, breath out for 8. Repeat 3 times.

5. Be kind to yourself. Changing a habit can sometimes take awhile. As long as you're trying, you're succeeding. Don't hold yourself to a standard of perfection, but rather to a standard of progression. Celebrate each success, no matter how small. If you fall down, get back up, dust yourself off, and try again. A fall is not a failure unless you don't get back up.

*Modified and adapted from Wiki How's post on How to Break a Habit

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