Saturday, August 30, 2014

Anxiety suggestions

 One of the things I encountered in my 10+ years of counseling is the concept of parenting myself.  The inner child is not a another word for a split multiple. It is the center core of ourselves that at some point was neglected, overly chastised, abused, or an other of a variety of traumas.  My daughter posted this link and I wanted to share it hear.
 It shares ideas to help nurture a child.  I found several were very relevant to me.  The very first one grabbed my attention right away because it is so counter intuitive to what I have always done:

1. Stop Reassuring Your Child

What??????  I read this one paragraph several times.  I also watched with children when they are distressed they are so not hearing anything I have to say.  Then they have some great suggestions as to what to do instead:

Try something I call the FEEL method:
Freeze -- pause and take some deep breaths with your child. Deep breathing can help reverse the nervous system response.
Empathize -- anxiety is scary. Your child wants to know that you get it.
Evaluate -- once your child is calm, it's time to figure out possible solutions.
Let Go - Let go of your guilt; you are an amazing parent giving your child the tools to manage their worry.

My inner child is not afraid of what might happen inner child is afraid the nightmare that I lived through before could happen again so simply reassuring just doesn't cut it.  I usually change the Freeze to pause because the connotation that a pause is a considered choice but the acronym PEEL is less appealing.  (Pun intended...I know....awful puns are only slightly amusing.)

I am going to reword this for myself:

Pause and take a couple of cleansing breathes....breathing gets me into the moment.  I can't worry about yesterday or tomorrow when I am focused on breathing.  This works for small children too. 

Acknowledge that I feel what I feel and I have the right to feel what I feel.  Part of my past was steeped in being told I didn't feel how I felt.  Repetive use of the word is focusing that I feel an emotion that I need to acknowledge giving myself permission to feel it.  Let a child feel what they feel even if it doesn't make sense. 

Evaluate the it really what I think is going on?  Is my emotional surge about the moment or are past issues blasting me?  Am I in immediate danger?  Is there something that I can do to change the situation?  Is it something that I need to allow myself to accept?  Look for Who? What? Where? and Why? questions that may unlock the confusion and help me see the situation from another perspective. 

Letting go of that is a biggy.  Letting go of the guilt that I can make life problem free. I am not responsible for everything around me.  Letting go the guilty feeling that I can't fix everything. I just can't.  Let go of the burden of guilt.  Guilt has one purpose only to get the person to change behavior.  If I didn't do anything wrong and I can't fix it, all guilt will do is add a greater burden to me.  Sometimes a situation is NOT about me or something I can do or should do. 

I think I am going to reread this article again.  
More tomorrow.....Enjoy the day.

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