“I learned a lot from those women. Everything needs to be practical and applicable to daily life – anytime, anywhere,” Chang said.
Some examples: Comparing a bag of chips to a bag of apples – the chips might be half the price, but they supply far fewer family snacks. Or using a household responsibility chart to assign tasks to young children, and encouraging moms to reward kids with a hug or individual attention when they follow the instructions. And taking deep breaths to counter the feeling of being overwhelmed.
When it came to stress management, the researchers focused on advising the women to shift their thinking, and not to blame themselves when things go wrong, rather than to take on solving the problems that caused them stress.
“We raised their awareness about stressors in their lives, and unfortunately a lot of these problems are not within their control,” Chang said.
“So we teach them ways to control their negative emotions – remember that this is temporary, and you can get through it. And give them the confidence to look to the future,” Chang concluded.