This is not an emergency

I've heard this both in parent coaching and in a great article about being on-call:

Real emergencies are life and death situations. This is not an emergency.

There are very few actual emergencies in life. Treating an email or stressed out kid or a work deliverable as a real emergency does no good.

Take a breath.

Life is an unending series of complications

This could be read as pessimistic but it's simply an acknowledgement of how things actually are and how things must be. Everyday we face problems of varying magnitudes. From a ripped grocery bag handle to an unlucky financial event to a death of someone close to you. Lamenting each problem that comes up is just unnecessary suffering.

Here is Sam Harris with a brief audio clip.

This too shall pass.
Let it.

A reminder that everything good and bad, hard and easy, uncomfortable and pleasurable, comes to an end. This is not a rephrasing of "life is short," it's a prompt to stay present through the good stuff and stay positive through the rest.

Drop back and notice what you notice

What are the contents of your experience right now? What are you aware of in this moment? Sounds, sensations in your body, thoughts, and your visual field are all part of your consciousness in this moment. Spend a few moments becoming aware of everything that is happening there in this moment. This is the act of living in the present.

This might be the last time

Everything you do with the people you love has a last time. There is a last time your kids will ask you to push them on a swing. A last time they want to ride on your shoulders. A last time they'll imagine something and draw it. A last time you have a beer or a cup of coffee with your dad. And you'll never know it's the last time while you're doing it.

Being aware of this is a powerful way to stay present and give yourself to these moments that will, undoubtedly, feel precious looking back.

Wait But Why has a great way to visualize this.

Get to kindness

The worst decisions in life are made and executed while angry, particularly parenting decisions. I take away screen time and then realize I shot myself in the foot when it's time to cook dinner. I take bedtime reading away and realize that I took something away that I love too.

The best decisions are made when I can take my emotions out of it. I show kindness when my kids are acting out and they pay that kindness forward later that day. A big part of this is recognizing when I'm not feeling kind and taking a minute to take a deep breath and just get there first.

Stand up for a bit
Drink a glass of water

Inactivity, in any position, is hard on your body. Stand up and march for a bit to wake up, reduce pain, and change perspective.

And sometimes you're just dehydrated. A glass of water never hurt. Try that first before anything else.

Go for a walk

Bring the dog. It cures so many things.

Prioritize first, then act

I'm a maniacal list maker. It's something I have to mitigate and keep under control regularly. The issue comes when its time to get a single thing done (the only number of things that can be done at one time) and I see the list of everything else.

What is the most important things to get done today? What's the second? Great, that's the list for the day. Move everything else into a backlog that's hidden until the first two are done.

Index cards with mantras

Enable others

A reminder to live up to my moniker: Josh Can Help. You can never go wrong by giving someone else a leg up in some way. Whether it's feedback or work, offer what you have to help others achieve and it will always pay returns.