Sleep issues in children and teens may feel complex and never-ending, especially to bewildered and exhausted parents at the end of their tether. But in my experience, problems with sleep have proved to be one of the most straightforward issues to solve and put right.
*Sarah came to see me in the grip of terrible anxiety which she had suffered for as long as she could remember.
In Sarah's case her anxiety was very specific.
By understanding our own Looping Thought patterns, we can break the negative cycle of fear, stress and anxiety.
When we pause to examine our thoughts, feelings and actions, we can re-wire our own ingrained responses to stressful situations and choose better, more positive thoughts and feelings which lead to healthier actions. This results in a positive feedback loop, as calmer actions then calm the body’s stress response leading to calmer thoughts and feelings. Instantly, this creates greater resilience and stronger coping mechanisms.
If you are struggling to stay calm in times of panic, uncertainty and stress, try this simple exercise.
A Calmer Response Exercise
1. Trigger: Take a piece of paper and write down what has happened – the event/person/situation – to cause you to feel stressed or anxious.
eg: reading an alarming headline about the spread of coronavirus.
2. Thought: Then write down the thought this trigger had created.
eg: What if we all have to self-isolate. What if the shops run out of supplies? What if my business suffers?
3. Feeling: Write down the feeling that follows this thought.
eg: fear, anxiety – include the physical symptoms that accompany these feelings.
4. Action: Then make a list of what you usually do next after you’ve had this thought and feeling.
eg: Start to panic, google Coronavirus symptoms, and read more news articles looking for reassurance but which only makes me feel worse.
5. How can I respond differently? Now think of a more positive action you can take following the thought and feeling.
eg: Informing yourself (getting the right information from official sources so you are prepared instead of feeling panic); distracting yourself (reading, listening to music, doing some exercise); comforting yourself (making a cup of herbal tea, chatting with a friend); or being proactive (thinking of positive ways to respond to the situation).
Once you have thought about more positive actions you can choose to take in response to events or situations that usually cause anxiety or stress, visualise yourself taking these actions. Close your eyes and rehearse how you will act differently, what you will say that’s different to what you usually say, and what steps you will take to stop the negative thoughts and feelings in their tracks.
This takes practise. Changing old habits of behaviour is just like changing or stopping any habit. Practise, be patient and be kind to yourself.
If anxiety or panic is becoming an issue for you and interfering with your daily life, please get in touch to discuss how Rapid Transformational Therapy can help.
Try the Inner Calm Meditation
Banish the stresses of the day and unlock inner calm and balance. This 15-minute guided meditation is designed to calm frayed nerves and soothe the body’s stress response, allowing you to slip into your own personal inner oasis of peace and calm.
First, a bit of science
Our Autonomic Nervous System is the part of our nervous system that governs automatic bodily functions like breathing, digestion and our heart beat, The ANS is in turn divided into two parts: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. Both regulate the same bodily functions but have opposite jobs. The sympathetic nervous system prepares the body for intense physical activity (fight or flight); while the parasympathetic nervous system prepares the body for relaxation and rest.
While we are awake, our optimal state is when both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are in balance. When brain function, heart rate and breathing are all in balance, we cope with stress better, we are more sociable and positive, and tend to be more resilient.
When we are stressed, however, our bodies stay in high alert, with our sympathetic nervous systems constantly firing. Although still evolving, research into HRV and coherence is showing a link between lower coherence and disease and aging.
Coherent or resonant breathing works by hacking the ANS to bring both sympathetic and parasympathetic systems back into balance almost instantly.
You can find a number of apps that help you track your own personal coherence index and HRV. I use WellTory. The results below show my body before and after 5 minutes of Coherent Breathing.
How to Practise Coherent Breathing
Relax and find a quiet spot where you won’t be disturbed. Breathe in for 6 seconds. Then breathe out for 6 seconds. If 6 seconds feels too long, start with 4 seconds and build up to 6 seconds. Make sure both your inhalation and exhalation are the same length.
Start with a minute or two then build up gradually to however long feels comfortable. Some recommend a daily practise of 20 minutes, but I tend to follow the principle of “little and often” as a guide,
You can find a number of apps that help guide you through a timed breathing technique. Calm’s Breathe setting allows you to set the timings for your breath and plays a different note for inhales and exhales (so you can practise with your eyes closed.).
The Breathing App by Deepak Chopra and Eddie Stern (with music by Moby) allows you to choose from a pre-selected format of breathing patterns with five different screens.
Try the Inner Calm Meditation
Banish the stresses of the day and unlock inner calm and balance. This 15-minute guided meditation is designed to calm frayed nerves and soothe the body’s stress response, allowing you to slip into your own personal inner oasis of peace and stillness.
For a limited time 50% discount