I’m passionate about treating anxiety in Children and Adults. From my own experience and that of my clients I understand the way forward for many people is to rewire and retrain your brain. Rapid Transformational Therapy is the fastest, most effective way of doing this that I have found.
If you are suffering from anxiety as an adult, you may remember what it felt like when you were a child. If its your child suffering, it’s hard to watch your child experiencing anxiety especially when it seems to prevent your child from enjoying activities or trying new things. If you are an adult without children yet it is also something that would really help you before you become a parent to rid yourself of. Not only for your own coping skills but as a role model to your children.
The key with managing anxiety, whether you are a child, or an adult, lies in managing your beliefs and your thoughts.
Here are some ideas to help you and / or your child to start your attack on anxiety. The fact that you have chosen to read this information is a really positive first step. You are showing you have the intention and the power is within you to overcome this.
1. Talk about it – Remember that anxiety is a process designed and created by our brains to protect us and although it feels irrational at times, it is a process which humans have
experienced since the beginning of time. The main function of the brain is to keep us safe and if anxiety is showing up its because there is something going on that is sending the alarm bells from your brain to your body. So, you can start at this point in considering the anxiety, that it is something designed to protect us, but there are techniques to manage it and to retrain your mind to get rid of it for good. If you recognise anxiety in a child talk about it to give their feelings a name, which makes them easier to work with. It also helps you to start considering the root cause and reason behind why you are experiencing it.
2. If your child is starting to show signs of anxiety admit there are sometimes times when you feel anxious of certain things, but do those things, maybe even in front of your child and show them it works out ok. When feelings are hidden away, or not discussed this can lead to worse anxiety in later years. I can’t tell you how many times my clients tell me they had highly anxious parents. Their parents gave them a message, which was “I am really anxious and i can’t cope” or “I am really anxious and things won’t be OK” or “Im clearly really anxious but lets just pretend I’m not, even though you can tell that i am, lets pretend everything is ok and never discuss it”. One of the best things you can do to help your children grow into adults who can manage their feelings and emotions is to help them to connect to feelings and understand them. While a child may not want to sit down and have a serious long chat there are many ways of starting a discussion by communicating and connecting with children through play, art, reading books together on a relevant topic. So, discover in each situation, what is the worry about? Often a discussion and a plan about an event can reduce a great deal of the worry. If they worry about the babysitter coming make sure they know what to expect, let them meet them during the day first, have an activity planned, have a clock to know when you will be home. Think about things in more detail with your child to help them feel they have some input and control and that they are important.
If it is you who feels anxious, consider what you are feeling anxious about?. What is the most painful thought you are having about a situation? E.g. I’ve got to get on a train. This is making me feel anxious. Ask yourself why? How many times have I got on a train? How many times have I had an unpleasant experience on a train? What is the factual evidence I have about this? Remind yourself that it isn’t the journey making you anxious, it’s your belief about the journey. There will be some things that make you feel good and excited and that you have a positive association with. This is also related to your beliefs about them. List those things too. What makes you feel good / positive / excited? Show yourself anxiety does not define you. And never call it “my anxiety”. Don’t own it. You want to distance yourself from it because soon enough you won’t need it anymore.
3. Practical techniques to make relaxation your ‘familiar’ – Think about the tried and techniques that we know work in managing anxiety in children and adults. These include breathing techniques (to prevent shallow breathing which always makes you feel worse and then exacerbates your feelings), having a worry slot (allow yourself or your child to sit and worry about the issue for ten minutes only and then try to move on), and the technique used in CBT therapy of changing your thought processes by asking yourself to focus on two things you can hear, two things you can see, two things you can feel, two things you can smell. Contact me for one of my relaxation recordings to get your body used to the idea of relaxing, or have a treatment such as Reiki, (which i’m certified to practise and can also recommend some excellent practitioners in your area), to help your body to understand the pattern of what relaxation feels like.
It isn’t good enough for your health to rush around daily and then start to try your breathing techniques when you feel a panic attack coming on. Give thought to experiences which make you or your child feel content, empowered and in control and try to build them in to your weekly routine (it might be exercise, swimming, writing, art or meditation, listening to music, watching comedy). Show your brain that your familiar is being relaxed. The brain loves the familiar and if its starts to believe that your familiar is to be relaxed and positive, this is what it will expect. Your brain listens you everything you tell it. If you walk around telling people openly “I’m anxious of…..” or “I might get a panic attack”, it will listen. Start saying out loud, if even alone, “I used to suffer from anxiety in the past, but I don’t anymore”. “I’m getting better every day from the anxiety”. Record every day where you don’t feel anxious, every event, even if it’s only ten minutes of time.
4. Ask yourself this – Do you believe that you can resolve your anxiety, and do you want to? – Does it serve a function and / or a purpose in your life? You do not need to accept it as part of your life. Do you want your child to have to live with this into adulthood? Imagine for a moment that you have a choice about your anxiety and ask yourself some tough questions about it – why are you choosing to keep it? What is it protecting you from? What is its function in your life? (for example, is the only time you get looked after or you get what you want in life when you are having a panic attack? Is it protecting you from failing because with anxiety you can’t even try?). It might make you feel angry or upset and frustrated to think of it like this in the beginning but when you take responsibility for your anxiety instead of accepting it as part of you, then perhaps this is the start of a change. Your brain is very suggestible to change because you are already making suggestions to it, causing you to become anxious. Every time you tell yourself something bad will happen that is another suggestion. So, you can work on changing those suggestions around.
5. Prepare – If you know you or your child becomes anxious think of ways to prepare them before an activity. Make sure they are aware what will happen, how people might respond, who they can speak to and where you will be. If they need to write some information down or make a list of their thoughts in advance help them to do this. Connect with your child on this issue. Disconnection allows anxiety to grow. The same applies to you. If you have a challenging situation looming think about what you will do in the run up to it, how will you relax? What thoughts will you allow yourself to have? What will you be saying to yourself?
6. Notice Progress – Notice when you or your child makes progress. Focus on the progress not the outcome. Don’t assume your child should be able to stay at a friend’s house for three hours because a sibling does. If he manages one hour congratulate him. If he just turns up to football and runs around, then great. Maybe next week he will try and kick the ball. Help your child to understand that whatever they want to achieve is available to them and they will achieve it one day. They are constantly working towards it with everything they do. The same applies with you. If you have a wobble don’t be hard on yourself, focus on the positive changes you are looking for every day. Write one down a day.
7. Try to avoid labelling “Trevor is such an anxious child”. “Louise isn’t very academic”. “Mark is such a difficult child”. We all know where repetitive labelling leads and in the case of anxiety over protected children may well take on this characteristic as a part of them, as that’s how they understand people relate to them. If an anxious child senses anxiety and stress coming from a parent this will exacerbate their own worry.
As an adult don’t label yourself either. Chances are you may be carrying a label from your childhood. “Suzie has always been shy / nervous / anxious / disorganised / silly / not as clever as ….”. You can be whoever you want to be. The you who you want to be and see is there underneath the anxiety ready to show his/herself. What is the real you like? This doesn’t define you this is just a behaviour, or a symptom caused by a belief you have.
8. Set an example – We currently have a crisis of mental health in the UK in schools and work places because people don’t know how to manage their minds and give their brains and bodies a break. Show your child what they can do to build relaxation into their lives as a way of life, not just something for when times are tough. Have fun doing yoga together or going running together, perhaps have rules around activities which may inhibit their or your ability to relax (e.g. no screens in bedrooms, no screens before bed) , think about food together in terms of how it makes you feel in your body (you will observe if you eat junk food a lot it may make you feel irritable or negative compared to fresh fruit and vegetables). If you are having a bad day lie down for 5 minutes when your child can see and tell them, you are having a break until you feel more relaxed. Show them how you like to tense every muscle in your body and then relax it. Walk round the block for 5 minutes for fresh air. Help your child to appreciate that there are ways of making yourself feel slightly better in a situation and different choices that can be made.
If you are an adult suffering do you know the foods that are associated with anxiety?
Eating a lot of bread, crackers and crisps (unhelpful carbohydrates) has a detrimental effect on people who suffer with anxiety. Alcohol is an obvious one and certain types create a worse response. Foods found to support and help people include avocados, nuts and seeds, chicken, eggs, oily fish.
9. Resolve anxiety for good – If you have been struggling with anxiety your whole life and you are not sure how to overcome it, consider Rapid Transformational therapy. Unlike other therapies it is not a talking therapy, meaning you don’t have multiple appointments and spend hours talking about your childhood, life and issues. Most clients feel a dramatic improvement after just one session and often a client will only need up to 3. It is a combination of hypnotherapy, NLP, Cognitive Behavioural therapy techniques and Psychotherapy. It discovers the root cause for your anxiety and panic and supports you to treat it quickly, usually with permanent results. Following a session, you will receive a personalised recording which will rewire your beliefs for good. If you have suffered for a long time or have more than one issue you would like to treat, 8 week treatment packages are now available.