Anxiety management

Frazzled at work? Overwhelmed at home?

Feeling a little frazzled at work, or worse, feeling completely overwhelmed? I believe stress in the workplace has reached epidemic proportions. Everyone I speak to is stressed and very anxious at work. And I mean everyone.   I have yet to speak to someone who feels they are coping well whilst running on this speedy treadmill called life.

In a work context, workplace stress I feel, is largely due to the volumes of information we are having to cope with.   Volumes!   Volumes of work which are being created because in society there is a need to grab as much information as possible as fast as possible and quite literally we are being completely overloaded.   There is also a fear of disseminating information, as once an email has been sent, that’s it!  It’s gone and heaven help you if you have made any errors.  How many of you check, double check and triple check your emails for fear of making an error?   Just reflect for a moment on how anxious that might make you feel.  Some people thrive in an environment where they feel overburdened, as it gives them purpose, but for the vast majority of us, we just don’t want to drown in a sea of information.  Add to this, bad communication, constant interruptions, lack of leadership or direction, staff shortages contributing to ever increasing workloads and, those one or two people that just drive everyone else up the wall.  You can easily see why people feel drained and uninspired in the workplace, bringing that overwhelm home with them and in the worst cases, develop serious mental health issues.

In light of it being World Mental Health Day today, I decided to research the internet this afternoon on topics related to mediation in the workplace.   I came across a number of articles on the subject, but noticed regular mention of how meditation will make staff more productive.  There we go again… more work, more speed of delivery, more stress.  I wander how many companies would like to adopt meditation and mindfulness in the workplace to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve their workforce’s overall mental health and well-being as opposed to viewing meditation as another life skill to increase productivity.   Agreed, better focus and productivity are a by-product of meditation, but shouldn’t we look deeper than that to prevent overwhelmed individuals from completely burning out.

We all need time to clear our “head space”, we need time to think and cultivate our responses, we need calm, clarity and connection.  Where is the time to take a breath?

Unfortunately for some individuals, this state of “frazzle” spills over in to home life.  When some parents come home unable to cope anymore, they let their frustrations loose on other family members.  This is where I start to feel uneasy.  As a person who has experienced the onslaught of this type of negativity in my own home and for a long time had to keep calm, reassuring my child that it was OK, the person coming home and doing the shouting was just shouting at life, and not actually at us, it is not surprising that over time I have developed a passion for encouraging more mindfulness in the home.

Agreed, it must be tough if you have the kind of personality which needs to let off steam (regularly), but it is worth remembering that children will just see or hear the shouting.   They are often too scared to realise it is a parent’s bad day at work and their need to vent at anything or anyone that might be around to listen, that is the reason behind the shouting.

At the end of the day, that parent is shouting and sounding frightening.

It was through personal experience and dealing with a “shouter” that I reflected on the training course I was writing and realised that the modules I had been writing and teaching for Level 1, were ideal for family life if parents could take a little time out and develop the essence of mindful living within the home.  Level 1 is informative and full of practical tips to help families ease mindfulness into daily life with the minimum of fuss.

If you or someone in your family is feeling a little frazzled by life right now, you might want to consider taking some time out and sign up for some mindfulness coaching.

Contact me here to find out about developing your own meditation practice and benefit from mindfulness coaching.

stress


Tania Ferreira is the founder of the Chilled Out Child.   The programme aims to help children and families deal with anxiety and stressful moments by connecting with the breath through yoga, meditation, mindfulness and the practice of EFT. Her mission is to bring the benefits of meditation, mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Techniques to anyone who wishes to have more calm, clarity and connection in their lives.

Tania is a Yoga Alliance accredited Hatha yoga teacher, guided imagery specialist, transformation meditation teacher, mindfulness facilitator and Energy EFT Master Practitioner.  She is currently working towards a Masters in Metaphysical Humanistic Science and Holistic Healing.

Anxiety management

How do I know if my child is stressed?

It has been reported that more than 70% of children 10yrs and under have sleeping difficulties attributed to feeling stressed. That is a lot of children who are not getting enough good quality sleep. Research also suggests that higher divorce rates, concern about the environment and less face to face social connectivity is contributing to the stress children (and adults) are experiencing.

Children are developing physically and emotionally and although some stress is part of their learning experience there is a point at which prolonged stress can become harmful to children emotionally and can lead to serious health problems.

How stress affects the mind and body

When the mind perceives itself to be in a stressful situation, the sympathetic nervous system is triggered.    The body responds with fast shallow breathing, muscles tighten and the heart pumps faster as adrenaline circulates throughout the body affecting every organ. These feelings are also referred to as “fight or flight” and are more appropriate when faced with a tiger in the wild, than a bad day at school or in the office.  Unfortunately, in our modern society, individuals have become so accustomed to feeling stressed, that their reaction to “less physically dangerous stressors such as a boring or busy day in the office or at school” is perceived as strongly as the fear they would feel if really faced with the tiger.  The problem with this, is that the body becomes so accustomed to operating in this heightened “state”, that it settles at a new “set point” and this level of stress is then the new norm.

To reverse these effects, the parasympathetic nervous system is triggered,  creating a restful and calming response as the body reacts with slow deep breaths and the slowing of the heart rate.  Digestion once again becomes active and the immune system is less strained.

So how do I know if anyone in my family is stressed?  

If an individual suffers from stress real or perceived, it can result in the following:

  • anxiety disorders
  • depression
  • lack of sleep
  • nightmares
  • loss of appetite
  • insomnia
  • emotional detachment from friends and family
  • irritability
  • memory loss
    …and any number of other mind-body disorders.  Stress can also result in individuals becoming addicted to substances.

Emotions are triggered by the central nervous system.  Often when children are faced with a stressful situation they react by either feeling fearful, angry or experience bouts of crying.

Here is  a simple  five minute relaxation technique – even a young child can do this.

Here is something simple you can easily practice at home to help you and your children relax and help reduce that overwhelming feeling of being stressed.  It might help if you record the script below onto your phone to play it back, so you can relax and join in as well. If you choose to do this, remember to record yourself speaking lowly.

  • Find a comfortable place in which to lie down.
  • Close your eyes and take a couple of moments to see how your body feels. Check your breathing – are you holding your breath or breathing normally? Can you feel any tension in any part of your body?
  • Allow yourself to let go of any worries. Breathe naturally.
  • Starting with your feet, focus your attention on your feet only and notice how they feel. Taking a deep breath, tense the muscles in your feet – hold it – and then release as you breathe out.  Breathe naturally.
  • Now focus your attention on your legs and nothing else. How do they feel?  Breathe in as you squeeze your legs and release the tension in your legs as you breathe out.
  • Continue in this way, tensing and relaxing the buttocks, stomach, hands, arms and shoulders, back and face. Take your time.  Try not to rush through it. Once you have practiced this a few times you may not even need to listen to the script.
  • As you work your way through this exercise you are learning how to focus your attention and by focusing on the different body parts  you are encouraging the muscles in the body to relax. Once you get the hang of what you are doing, you may replace your verbal script with  some relaxing music.

Try this relaxation technique for a few days or a week and then let me know how you get on by commenting below.

Contact me here to find out about developing your own meditation practice and learning how to facilitate mindfulness in children and teenagers.

 

Anxiety management

Roaring out your anger

We have all experienced those days when anger and frustration well up inside our bodies.  We feel our breath shorten, our muscles tense and we have this great desire to roar loudly in absolute desperation at how irritated we feel.   If you have ever seen lions in the wild, they seem completely chilled out, lazing around in the shade under the trees, but then they also have the luxury of venting or roaring from deep down inside their bellies, indicating to everyone else in the wild that they are there and they feel like making a big noise.

So how can we and our children also make a “big noise” without terrifying the neighbours?   One of my favourite breathing exercises to teach during children’s yoga and family yoga classes is the lion breath.   After the children and sometimes the adults have decided it might not be too embarrassing to practice the “lion breath” they embrace it with all their might.   The lion breath is a wonderful way to release all that pent up frustration and anger from the body and it is fun too.  This breath strengthens the diaphragm and also connects us to our inner strength. We often end up laughing hysterically after a few rounds of lion breath, which is a great thing, as laughter really is the best medicine for any imminent temper tantrum.

So next time you or your child feel like bellowing or roaring in frustration at life’s challenges, why not give the lion breath a go.  Follow these simple steps and feel your anger melt away.  Then enjoy a good laugh.

  • Sit in hero’s pose – sitting with your legs and feet tucked under your bottom
  • Place your hands on your thighs or the ground in front of you
  • Close your eyes and image you are a fierce lion
  • Take a deep breath in through your nose
  • Breathe out through your mouth with your mouth wide open and sticking your tongue out towards your chin at the same time open your eyes wide!
  • “ROAR” as you breathe out.
  • For extra fun roll your eyes up towards the ceiling. You are sure get a good laugh from your children, dissipating all their anger and helping them relax.

As a parent you might be thinking that you do not want to make an “actual roaring” sound.  But fear not, the action of breathing out a big breath and releasing all the tension from your body will create a big enough sighing noise which will still impress your roaring cubs.

Contact me here to find out about developing your own meditation practice and learning how to facilitate mindfulness in children and teenagers.

lion breath

 

Anxiety management

Just Breathe…

Stress and anxiety in children is on the increase. Children are developing physically and emotionally and although some stress is part of their learning experience there is a point at which prolonged stress can become harmful to children emotionally and can lead to serious health problems.   Research has also shown that long-term stress negatively impacts memory, emotional intelligence, social development and moral behaviour.

So how can parents take a step back, de-stress and help themselves and their children “chill-out”?  It can be as simple as learning how to breathe.  Sounds silly doesn’t it?  But many people do not know how to breathe properly.

The breath is our life force and is one of the most important functions of the body, even very young children can be taught how to breath properly. The act of breathing correctly can create feelings of calm, relaxation, clear “headedness” and helps us manage pain. Breathing incorrectly can result in feelings of tenseness, nervousness and confusion.

To breathe properly, you need to use your diaphragm which is the large sheet-like muscle that lies at the bottom of the chest cavity. To find your diaphragm, sit comfortably or lie on your back on the floor. Place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen in the ‘gap’ of your rib cage. Take a breath in and slowly breathe out.  When you breathe in and out, your left hand should remain still, but your right hand can move up and down. If your left hand is moving, your breathing is too shallow and you are not using your diaphragm as you should.

To add some fun for younger children, ask them to lie on their back and find a stuffed toy which you can affectionately call their “breathing buddy”.   Place their breathing buddy on their tummy and as they breath in and out slowly, they will see their breathing buddy rise up and flow down, a bit like a boat in the ocean.  Children love this and I have heard many times how children love to practice their breathing with their breathing buddy before going to bed at night.   This is one of many simple stress management tools I teach to parents and their children.  With fun, easy to use anxiety management tools, children and adults can live a more engaged and fulfilling life.

Contact me here to find out about developing your own meditation practice and learning how to facilitate mindfulness in children and teenagers.

arty Taeler meditating in the garden