Tuesday, November 24, 2009

10 Reasons to Address Your Child's Anxiety

I love teaching these techniques to children!

They are so quick to catch on because they don't have to undo years of bad habits or self-talk. Once they're shown a better way to conduct their lives, they just get on with doing it.

I had the pleasure of working with "Lisa", a grade 4 student. Her mother called me because Lisa was exhibiting some signs of anxiety at school. (Before tests she would self-soothe by counting repeatedly on her fingers.)

After just 3 sessions, her mother was thrilled to report that she noticed a difference in Lisa's posture, as well as in her interaction with her sister. She was now standing her ground and not letting her sister bully her.

Math marks improved to an A and at the Parent/Teacher conference her teacher remarked that Lisa was now speaking audibly in class. She was also volunteering answers. She even stopped the counting!

When I asked Lisa about her experience, she said that she felt better about herself and her ability to do well in school.

Lisa continued with her positive shifts in emotions and behaviour and ended the school year on a high note.

Working with children is interesting because they immediately recognise the benefits of the tools and techniques and very quickly adopt them and make them work in their lives.

10 reasons to equip your child with heart-activated techniques:
  1. You are giving your child the key to access higher brain function by learning to calm the stress response. Your child is better able to concentrate on the work, as opposed to what is stressing them.
  2. To learn to improve test performance, students require Stress Smarts and Test Smarts, which has an impact on Facts Smarts.
  3. It is easier to nip bad habits at a younger age, before they become entrenched.
  4. Decision-making is greatly impacted when stress is not transformed.
  5. Your child is empowered by learning to trust his/her decision-making skills.
  6. Reacting to situations often results in poor life choices. They learn to be proactive in their lives.
  7. Cortisol, "the stress hormone", can be a contributing factor in a number of illnesses, including Diabetes, Heart Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Immune conditions and menstrual and fertility issues. These may not show up for years or decades.
  8. Improved relationships.
  9. They feel better emotionally, mentally and physically.
  10. You feel better!
Please click for more information about programs.

Image courtesy of Kim Vohsen.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Surgery - Hot Under The Collar

This is a picture of what my neck looks like as a result of the surgery I had for Atlantoaxial Instability. Bone was taken from my hip and screws were put into my neck to fuse C - 1 and C - 2 (Cervical vertebra). This condition was diagnosed after the first of those four surgeries in what I call "The Year of the Surgeries".

End of 2005 and 2006 - the wait for my surgeries was over. It was like calling Bingo, but with four being the winning number. I had a total of twenty weeks (five months) of down-time. Casts, collars, splints and restricted movement until bones fused together and tissue healed.

For those who are curious, I've included a picture of what my forefoot looked like post-surgery. Warning - graphic image at the end of this article! If you are squeamish, read no further!

It was after Surgery # 2 - reconstructive fore-foot surgery (image below) that my surgeon told me that he refused to do the other foot until my neck had been fused. He was concerned that the intubation would cause serious harm.

Without having this looked after, my risk of stroke, blindness or death was very high. Incidentally, these were the same risks that could be precipitated by undergoing this surgery.

With the neck fusion surgery, I needed to have a conscious intubation. This meant that they would insert the breathing tube down my throat while I was fully conscious. I was cautioned by the anaesthetist to continue swallowing as this was put in. I was told, "Do not fight, struggle or pull it out!"

I knew I wanted to make this as quick and easy as possible, so I used my stress techniques to help me balance my nervous system. This kept me from panicking, which is a normal response in this situation and one the surgical team would prefer to avoid. Afterwards, I was thanked for making their job much easier.

I've had people say to me, "I couldn't do it." The point is, when you have to, the choices are minimal. You can choose to be miserable the whole time or make the best of the situation. It's about accepting what can't be changed. (Interesting how some situations are more easily accepted than others.)

There were times when the heat of the walking cast or the surgical collar were unbearable, especially during the heat wave that we had at the time. However, I knew that my recovery was progressing and that each successive week was bringing about an incremental improvement in my healing.

Below, (not for the squeamish, remember!) is a picture of my foot, post forefoot reconstructive surgery. The pins are put in place to fuse the toes. I am thankful I've had these foot surgeries as I am able to walk further and mostly minus the feeling of stepping on marbles.

I believe that my recovery time and surgical outcome were improved by balancing my nervous system. In response to the stress of surgery, blood pressure rises, heart rate increases and a cascade of 1400 chemicals flood the body, preparing it for flight or fight. Except in this case, there is no where to go - except the Operating Room.

By practising these techniques, I was much better at pain management, as I learned to shift my focus. Less pain, meant less tightening of muscles, which creates more pain. I was also able to get by with less pain medication, too. That was important to me.

Wouldn't it make more sense to learn to control the body functions that you can control so that you have the best advantage possible?

If you are scheduled for surgery and would like to learn some techniques to help you transform your stress, I'd be happy to work with you. Please contact me at www.auntiestress.ca.

Related article: Surgical Success - Activating Your Control
Related post: Forecasting...Knives...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just Did It!

"Just do it!" In coining that phrase, Nike captured a philosophy - a way of living that moves you towards achievement or accomplishment and out of "I don't want to..." or "I don't feel like it."

We often make things more difficult than they need be. A lot of energy goes into thinking about why we don't want to do something, or how awful we feel about doing something, instead of just getting on with the task, whatever it may be.

I find that when I have something to do, jumping right in and doing it is often a lot easier than sitting around and creating a "script" about doing it. Usually that script is one that is more in the line of a horror movie, fraught with awful endings, which in no way matches the reality of "the doing."

For example, a few mornings, I did not want to take Murphy, our dog, for a walk. However, the longer I fulminated, the worse it became. The fact is that Murphy needed to go. My rotten attitude didn't change that, nor did it make me feel any better. So, I put on my shoes, grabbed the leash and away we went. Once we had established our pace, I realised how fortunate we were to be able to get out and get some exercise in such a beautiful park.

Life is filled with many tasks, some of them mundane, boring or time-consuming. Others move us closer to fulfilling our dreams and goals. When we are engaging in negative thoughts and emotions our heart rhythms respond in a very different way, causing our body to activate the stress response - flight or fight. This happens so quickly that we are often unaware of these changes and what they're doing to our health and sense of well-being.

3 little words that can move you. Learn to catch yourself when you are struggling with doing something (awareness) and then "just do it!"
  • Do you notice that the more you grumble, the worse the task seems to get?
  • Choose a chore that you normally grumble about (ironing, grocery shopping, filing receipts) and do it without the grumbling. Did it appear to go faster? How do you feel when you say, "Just Did It!"?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Heaven on Earth

Oh, Good Heavens! You've really done it, Gaelikka.

I don't, at all, feel qualified to write about heaven, nor hell, for that matter. So, I will leave that up to those who are better equipped to do so.

Instead, I shall write about a few of the things, in no particular order, that constitute heaven on earth for me:

  • sunsets and sunrises - endings and beginnings
  • clean, crisp sheets
  • a walk through an ankle-deep carpet of autumn leaves
  • friends and family gathered around a candle-lit table, laughing and enjoying a meal I prepared
  • dog-walks in the park when a quiet, steady rain is falling, the leaves are glistening in that "rain light" and the whistle of a train is heard from afar
  • fresh ground coffee, especially good when shared with a friend
  • a tidy and freshly-cleaned house. Ahhh!
  • a tropical beach, a cool breeze off the ocean, surf gently breaking and looking up into a blue sky strewn with fluffy cumulus clouds
  • working with clients when they "get it"
  • snorkelling in warm, sun-kissed water and enjoying the multi-hued ocean's treasures
  • a walk along quiet, mist-shrouded streets, especially in the autumn, when the smell of decaying leaves and wood-smoke tingle the imagination to carry one away to places in another time
  • listening to Blue Rodeo, one of my favourite bands, at an outdoor concert under an indigo sky, complemented by stars that appear to be twinkling in time to the music
These are some of the things that make my heart sing. How about you?

What are some of your - please click ?

Please visit the blogs of
Ashok, Conrad, David, Grannymar, Helen, Judy, Maria, Maria and Ramana to see what magic they've worked with today's topic, suggested by Maria/Gaelikka - Heaven.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Clocking Mess

No time. Later. Gotta run.

Is time on your side? Many people feel overwhelmed with their daily duties. As a result, their precious time is eaten up by inefficiencies. Performance, whether at work, home or at play, is impacted by stress.

The more stress you're under the less you seem to get done. You spin your wheels and take far longer to accomplish tasks that you would ordinarily breeze through. There's a proportionate increase in mistakes, which then take time to correct.

Your health also suffers. Stress affects your immunity and is implicated in a number of medical conditions. Anyone who lives with a chronic illness knows how much time is lost waiting in doctor's offices, labs and hospitals and recovering from the latest "roller-coaster ride" of your illness.

Take control over your stress and have more time to do what really matters to you. Yes, you can, by learning to activate the power of your heart.

The hands of time appear to speed up if you answer yes to these questions:
  1. Do you frequently get colds or the flu? Infections?
  2. Do you spend a lot of time looking for misplaced objects?
  3. Do you often forget things at home and then have to retrace your steps?
The clock is ticking, and so is your heart
Undress your stress, isn't it time to get stress-smart?

Photo: Flynt