Month: January 2017

My Top 5 Tips for Battling Anxiety

Here is a round-up of my top 5 tips most helpful for you and your battle against Anxiety! 

1. Deep Breathing:  I teach deep breathing, AKA belly breathing A LOT in my practice because it is so effective and easy to do.  Click here to see how I teach this technique to children.

2. Mindfulness: This is a post I wrote a while back on my 3-2-1 approach to fighting off anxiety.

3. Change Your Thoughts: I teach teens and children this technique.  Our thoughts are what drive our feelings.  Our feelings drive our behavior/reaction, and the circle continues. Instead of thinking “this is going to be a horrible day”, change your thought to a positive one!   You could change it to “OK-this is a new day, and I’m going to make it a good one.”—“That was a bad dream, but it wasn’t real.”—“1 bad thing is not going to ruin my whole day!”  See how I did that?  More on this later…

2. Apps!    Click here to find apps that you can use as tools while you are working through your anxiety and depression. (Note: These are not to replace therapy, if needed, but to aide you in your ability to overcome your struggles.)

5. Talk it out.  This may be with a friend or a therapist.  Having meaningful connections can ease so many issues we struggle with.  You need someone in your life who gets you and who accepts you.  If you have no support, let me help you find it.

Don’t fight this alone!  I am here to help.

Call 615-683-1111 to set up a free 30 minute phone consultation.

Nurturing Self-Esteem in Children

Last post I asked you to write down as many positive things about yourself you can think of in 1 minute.  I bet some of you struggled with this…if not great!  You might not need to read about self-esteem.  However, the flip side is I bet you can come up with double or more negative thoughts about yourself in less than a minute.  Right?  And the sad part is that we tell ourselves these negative things all day every day.  We “bully” ourselves!

Kids do the same thing!  “I’m so ugly…I’m fat…I’m stupid…No one likes me at this school…I can’t do anything right…I never do the right thing…I’m going to fail this test/class/grade…no one is going to pick me to be on their team…my parents hate me…I have no friends…” The list goes on.  Now add to those negative thoughts negative perceptions.   (more…)

Do You Struggle with Self-Esteem?

This week we’re going to be talking about our children’s self esteem.  That can be a heavy subject!

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I would like to know where you struggles with your own self esteem and when you think it began for you.  Our ability to see the good in ourselves begins in childhood and either grows or is stunted as we mature.  Our parents have a huge influence on what we think of ourselves and how much confidence we have in our ability to Be or Do great things.

When you think about self-esteem, you often get an image of someone in your mind that you know…  Who are you picturing right now?  Maybe they have a negative view of their body, they have zero confidence and are really shy, or maybe they never socialize for fear of embarrassment. And on the other side of that, you know people who seem to have a very strong confidence in themselves that seems arrogant and cocky.  I bet you’re picturing someone else you know!

Where is the healthy middle?

Stop and Think—

Set your timer for 1 minute and write down as many positive things about yourself that you believe are good qualities.

Now…how many did you come up with?  If you struggled with this, why did you struggle?

We will talk more throughout the week about how to combat this thing called self esteem and how to set our children up for success in this area.

Please share your experience in the comments and tell me where you struggle with your own self esteem.  Do you know when this struggle began?

 

 

Deep Breathing for Children

As promised, here is a post on helping your child learn deep breathing techniques or belly breathing.  Deep breathing is a quick trick to help alleviate anxiety and calm worries.

When teaching a child this technique, there are 2 different ways I approach it, depending on the child’s age, developmental level, and comfort.  Most children are open about practicing techniques in front of others, but older children may feel a little weirded out when you start asking them to perform belly breathing in front of you, especially if they already have anxiety.

Trick #1-Teaching deep breathing using Bubbles. soap-bubbles-870342_640

I have a pack of bubbles in my office like this one that I can hand out to children in sessions.  I have the child blow bubbles and discuss how hard/soft to blow to get lots of bubbles or big bubbles.

I then suggest this as a trick to help them fight off their worries or (fill in the blank)-tummy ache, jitters, etc.-most of the time children cannot label anxiety/nervousness/worries.  But they can tell you what somatic complaints they have easily, which is a sign of anxiety depending when and how often it’s occurring.   (Please be advised that tummy aches do not mean your child has anxiety.  If you are concerned your child may be experiencing symptoms of anxiety, schedule an appointment for further assessment with a Pediatrician or Mental Health Professional.) 

 

Trick #2- Teaching Deep Breathing using a stuffed animalbear-678607_640

Have your child lay down on his/her back comfortably and place a small stuffed animal on their belly.

While directing them to slowly breathe in through their nose and out their mouth, guide them to watch the stuffed animal move up and down on their belly.

This will teach them belly breathing, and they can visibly see if they are breathing correctly.  Most times, this is modeled for the child by first doing the technique and then asking them to teach it back to me.  Children love to be the teacher!  I always end a session reminding them to teach their parent what they learned.  This keeps parents involved in progress and helps them hold the child accountable to practice daily.

Alright, that’s it-2 simple ways to help your child practice deep breathing!

Belly Breathing

One of the most common tools I teach teens and adult clients is belly breathing.  It is one of the most successful tools when treating anxiety and fear.  This trick can calm you down quickly and can be used ANYWHERE, which is what I love about it.

Belly breathing is also known as deep breathing.

Before you practice this technique, I want you to imagine your belly is a balloon….

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OK—Got it?

When air is blown into a balloon, it inflates.  So as you breathe air in, your belly will inflate like a balloon.

When you release your breath, your belly should deflate as a balloon would when slowly losing air.

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Step 1: Find a comfortable place to sit or lie down.

Step 2: Clear your thoughts

Step 3: Take a slow deep breath in through your nose, slowly counting to 7, while focusing on your belly rising.

Step 4: Hold that breath for 2-3 seconds.

Step 5: Slowly release your breath, counting to 7, while your belly releases air.

Step 6: Repeat for 1 minute.

The trick to this technique is that you are breathing through your belly—Not— your chest.

Practice this Belly Breathing daily to build your stamina and increase the number of seconds you are inhaling and exhaling.  Work your way up to increments of 5, 10, 15 minutes of deep breathing.

A relaxed body cannot be an anxious body…

More on how to teach deep breathing to your child in the next post…