The Energy Of All Things – 11 Ways To Raise Your Energy.

When I talk to people about all things having an energy, even inanimate objects, they often look at me as though I am weird. But do you know that Albert Einstein theorised this very thing? Quantum science has now proven Einstein’s theory by using sensitive instruments to measure the energy objects give off.

Nikola Tesla, who pioneered modern electrical systems spoke of the understanding of the Universe being unlocked by measuring energy, frequency and vibrations.

Energy Vibrations

Vibrations are best defined as being states of being. As the energy given off by something or someone. Vibrations exist because the atoms that are the building blocks of all things vibrate. Different types of atoms vibrate at different speeds. Even things like wood, rocks, the ground vibrate.

This is where the trendy term “vibes” comes from. The theory of all things vibrating at different frequencies.

Often that term is misused by people who don’t understand the true meaning of vibrations or the science behind them.

We Can All Sense Energy Vibrations

It is possible for animals and people to sense vibrations. We don’t consciously do it. Vibrations are part of non verbal communication. We can detect such communication without being aware we are doing it. Of course you can consciously choose to become aware of these sensations, but in reality you pick them up anyway.

You give off vibrations all the time. You can’t not do it.

I realised this many years ago when people always seemed to pick up on the days when I had a low mood, even though I deliberately suppressed it and didn’t tell others how I was feeling.

Energy Attracts Or Repels

In life those vibrations are what often attract or repel us to/from other people. It is why you may avoid a particular person when you are feeling down because you have sensed subconsciously that their negative energy will drag you down.

If you are feeling lacking in energy, or depressed, you are likely to give off lower frequency vibrations than at times when you are feeling upbeat, happy, full of energy. If you are angry the vibrations you give off will be different again.

Energy is A Vital Part of Intuition

If you pay attention to these deep seated messages, the ones that get bundled into the term “intuition”, you will become aware of the way some people attract you and others repel you.

Interestingly researchers have devised a scale for the energy levels of different emotions. The scale ranges from zero to 1,000. This is how various feelings have been ranked:

• 20 – shame

• 100 – fear

• 200 – courage, being willing to take responsibility for your own actions and feeling and also the first level of empowerment. Interesting to know that empowerment has an energy ranking!

• 500 – love

• 700 – enlightenment

Reiki, a form of energy healing, has been found to have the capacity to raise a person’s personal vibration. This also impacts on the Reiki practitioner which explains why not only my client but I also experience higher energy after I perform a Reiki healing on my client.

All Energy Levels Are Important To Experience

As with all things in life, it is important to experience the highs and the lows. Those lower energy experiences are not pleasant, but they are the place where we are able to learn, change and grow.

As part of mindfulness practice, I teach clients to pay attention to their energy levels. What am I feeling now? What is my energy? It is possible to develop awareness of your energy levels and even work at ways to improve your energy.

Once your energy starts to lift is keeps lifting. High energy attracts more energy, whereas low energy repels energy.

11 Ways To Raise Your Energy

There are 11 ways you can bring yourself out of a low energy state and into higher vibration energy.

1.Gratitude.

Making a conscious decision to see the things to be thankful for increases your energy vibrations. Remembering that at the energy vibration of 200 you are empowered, raising that energy level will lead to you feeling more powerful. Understanding that you have that control, that life is full of things to be thankful for, increases your wisdom as well.

2.Moving Your Body

Moving your body can also raise your energy vibrations. Conversely, sitting too long will drop them.

Have you ever noticed how you resist moving when you are feeling resentful and wanting to hold on to that feeling? Once you start moving through rhythmic movement it is hard to maintain that level of energy.

Dancing, especially to music is one of the most effective ways to move your body and raise those energy vibrations. You can dance at an exercise class or dance at home on your own. Research suggests that 10 minutes of moving to your favourite music will start shifting your energy vibrations upwards.

3.Eat Nutrient Dense Foods

Food has its own energy vibration. The more nutrient dense the food is, the better the energy vibration.

Have you ever noticed how weighed down you feel after indulging in a lot of junk food? Even alcohol can reduce your energy levels.

On the flip side, you may have noticed that when you eat well you feel so much lighter.

Food has a major impact on your energy vibrations.

4.Meditation

As I have already mentioned, Mindfulness meditation trains you to be aware of your body. You can better understand your own energy vibrations and be better able to address those issues that lower your energy.

5.Touch

There has been a lot of research over the past decade or so on the benefits of touch.

The finding that premature babies do better when they are touched has led to skin to skin contact with their parents becoming common practice. This has led to better outcomes and higher survival rates among these babies.

Research has also found the negative impact of the lack of touch for the elderly living in nursing homes or isolated at home.

Simply touching someone on the arm when they are distressed is comforting. If you have ever had someone do that to you then you will probably be aware of that comforting sensation. It is soothing, sends the message you are not alone and that someone cares. In fact researchers have found that touch can be a very effective pain relief.

Massage is a form of touch that is particularly powerful. It has been shown to rebalance hormones and reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

Touch releases a powerful hormone often referred to as the love hormone. This hormone is oxytocin. It assists people to feel that sense of connection and safety. It also increases energy vibrations. Higher energy of course means you will feel better and happier.

6.Giving and Receiving

Withholding love, time or even making negative comments about others lowers your energy frequency. Conversely, being generous with your praise, love and time raises your energy. Making the effort to give to others generously increases what you receive as well. So everyone benefits.

7.Be with Positive People

When you spend time with friends who have a high energy it raises your energy as well. This is why it is sometimes better when you are feeling low to make the decision to go out and set the intention to enjoy yourself. That raises your energy so it doesn’t bring your friends down and their high energy raises yours.
If the friends you are with understand your difficulties and want to support you then you can raise your energy higher.

8.Make the Decision to Open Your Heart.

Is there someone in your life, either now or in the past, who you loved so much that even thinking about them made you feel happy and lighter?

Did thinking about them make you feel better and that your mood lifted?

Love is one of the highest energy vibration states you can experience. When you love someone your energy is always raised and you feel on top of the world.

Loving yourself is also important. When you spend time caring for you and doing nice things for you that lifts your mood as well.

A great example of that is when you get a new outfit that you feel looks great on you. Or you get a new hairstyle and you are very happy with that. You walk out feeling on top of the world. This is self love.

9.Breathing

When life is stressful you tend to take shallow, quick breaths. This sends a message to your brain that you are in danger and increases cortisol levels in your body. The more you shallow breathe the higher the cortisol levels rise.

It is important to breathe slowly and deeply when you start to feel stressed. There are various ways you can deepen your breathing and slow it down.

• One is to breathe in for 4, hold for 4, breathe out for 4 and wait for 4 before taking the next breath.

• Another is to breathe in, paying attention to your tummy and chest as they rise. You may like to place a hand over your chest and another over your tummy and focus on feeling them rise as you slowly breathe in. If you are breathing properly you will feel them both rise.
When you finish the in breath hold your breath for a few seconds.
Then breathe out slowly through pursed lips.
After a few breaths you can imagine you are breathing in peace as you breathe in and breathing out tension as you breathe out.
It is a good idea to do this exercise until you feel calmer.
A minimum of 10 breaths works best.

10.A Nice Warm Bath

If you like baths then you can try the old favourite of a lovely bath. Lock the door, dim the lights, light some candles and add some lovely bath oils to the water. You could even play some relaxing music.

Make sure the water is quite warm but not so hot it makes you sweat.

Water is a great energy lifter and many people find this practice relaxing and energising.

11.Be In Nature

Extensive research has shown the benefits of being in nature. Blood pressure lowers, cortisol levels lower and people feel more relaxed. Your energy levels also rise.

Even looking at pictures of nature is relaxing and energising, although no substitute for the real thing.

If you are not close to bushland then going to a park or the beach is effective.

Place your feet flat on the ground and pay attention to the feeling in the soles of your feet as you connect to the ground. Feel the energy of the earth as it enters your feet, then moves up your body. Don’t worry if you can’t feel it immediately, it can take time to learn to connect to energy.

Another thing you can do is hug or touch a tree. It is not a joke, you really can feel the energy of the tree by touching it.

Sitting listening to the sounds of the trees in the breeze, to birds, insects is calming. If you go to the beach you can stand bare foot at the ends of the water and allow the waves to gently touch your feet. Listen to the sound of the waves, the wind, and the birds.

All these things are really relaxing and energising.

If you have a garden, spending time out in the garden with your plants and the grass can also be energising.

I Practice What I Preach

I am often asked what I do to manage with the big stories and low energy of so many beautiful souls who come to see me.

Firstly I reply that it is a privilege to work with such strong survivors, battered as they are, they are determined to heal.

Second I reply that I have my own practices that keep my energy high so that I can share that energy with those who come to see me.

I do follow the 11 ways in my own life, here are some of the things I do:

• Gratitude. I have a daily practise of writing down 10 things I am grateful for at the end of each day. I also make not during the day of anything I think is wonderful and express gratitude for it. Examples of this are: a beautiful sunrise, watching the birds in my garden, seeing a dog smiling up at its owner as it is being walked, someone letting me out of the end of my street in heavy traffic, a child running around with delight and so many more.
I make my entire day an opportunity to express gratitude.
I also set the intention that I am not going to get annoyed by the things other people do. To counter annoyance I look for something good to say about that person. That quickly defuses any annoyance I may be feeling.

• Moving my body. I dance to music, walk through the bush, and never miss an opportunity to express my delight through movement.

• Eating nutrient dense food: I delight to eat as many wholefoods as I can, while avoiding foods high in sugar. I eat a lot of vegetables, which I love. I have learned to take the time to notice what I am eating and enjoy it, and by doing that needing less food. I love how good my body feels when I eat nutrient dense foods.

• Mindfulness and other meditation. I get up early every morning and start the day with meditation. Sometimes I listen to a guided meditation, sometimes I listen to music and focus on the music. Other times I focus on my breath. After I am finished I stretch my body then meditatively paint.
As a Reiki practitioner I meditate on the 5 Reiki Principles to release my investment in staying hurt and angry, to release worry and be mindful of the present moment, to be grateful and appreciate all the wonders and blessings of life, to do my work diligently, even seemingly small insignificant tasks and to show compassion for all living things.
This is a wonderful way to reset and to set the tone of the rest of the day.

• Touch. I love giving and receiving hugs. I hug my family, my dogs, my friends. I grew up in a family that never touched. Learning how to hug opened up my world in such a powerful way.
I also schedule regular massages to help settle my nervous system.

• Giving and Receiving. I give compassion and acceptance to as many people as I can. When I encounter other people I choose to consider their needs and what is happening in their lives rather than find fault or take offense with what they do.
When I am hurt by the things of life, or feeling overwhelmed I have a beautiful tribe of women I can turn to for support. I have learned to be very proactive in seeking help.

• Be with positive people. I have found in my life that being with the people I know who lift my energy is important. It helps that those people are such beautiful, caring people. I have also learned to not take on the negative energy of others.
I also have made the decision to not have contact with people who are overwhelmingly negative and sap my energy. This is about honouring my needs and my self care.

• I choose to open my heart and risk having friendships with other people. I know that if I am burned in that relationship I will hurt and need time to feel that hurt and heal from it. But I am strong enough to survive.
I will continue to risk hurt by opening myself to friendships.

• Breathing. As part of my meditative practice I focus on my breathing and on breathing deeply and slowly. Because I practice this it is easy for me to practice slowing and deepening my breathing when I am in a stressful situation.

• I do on occasion have a nice warm bath. It is a lovely way to destress.

• Be in nature. As often as I can I go out into nature. I hug trees, sit at their base, sit beside water as it runs past in creeks and cascades. I gaze at the sky, noting the clouds and the colours of the sky. I look for the moon and the different constellations of stars in the night sky. I listen for the sounds of the birds in the day and the flying foxes and owls at night. I love to walk amongst the trees and look up at their magnificence and delight in the wonder of them. Even if I can’t get out into the bush there are places near where I live where trees tower over the footpath and I can gaze up at them.
It is not hard to incorporate the 11 ways to raise your energy into your life. Why not try it yourself?

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to raise your energy, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au
If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

3 Steps To Helping Your Child Understand And Process Grief

Grief is devastating for anyone.

As an adult, you have an advantage in grieving. That advantage is your brain development.

All things being equal, by the time your brain is fully developed (around age 25) you have learned how to process grief. If you haven’t encountered grief before, hopefully you have learned to seek help in processing your grief.

Children’s Brains Struggle To Process Grief

For a child, the lack of brain development means that processing grief is very difficult.

For an undeveloped brain, comprehending death and the existential issues around it, is extremely difficult. Adults struggle with this. So children will struggle even more without the tools yet to be developed to help them.

Grief In Children Resurfaces At Each Developmental Stage.

The younger the child, the more undeveloped will be their ability to process their grief. It is now known that grief in children will resurface at different stages in their childhood and even into adult life.

It is important to be aware of these difficulties and be ready to support your child.

The developing brain is learning. That is how the brain develops. But without support, the brain cannot learn. The brain needs to learn how to process Grief.

Attending To The Trauma Of Grief

Grief is a trauma. It is dysregulating. A child experiencing grief will be thrown into a major fight/flight/freeze stress response. They will also lose their connection to others and feel very isolated and alone.

Many people think they just have to sit their child down and talk to them and that will help. But a dysregulated brain can’t learn or reason so talking to a child in this situation will not work.

The 3 Steps

There are 3 steps to reaching your child and helping them to learn how to process their grief.

The steps are as follows:

Step 1. Regulate

The first thing you need to do with your child is help them regulate their fight/flight/freeze response and become calmer.

One of the best ways to do this is to be as calm as you can. Research has shown that children cope well with traumatic events when their parents remain relatively calm and can maintain as much as possible regular routines. The main thing is that your child feels safe. They need to feel that you can still protect them. In a world that has just fallen apart with the loss of someone important, knowing you are still there is vital.

Do the best you can

Obviously, if you are grieving as well, it is going to be hard to regulate yourself. You are likely to be crying and finding it hard to focus.

This is the pain of parenting. There are times when you have to put your own needs aside to attend to the needs of your children. It is natural for you to do that, and it may be necessary. But don’t put off attending to your own needs for long. It is okay to be crying when you seek to regulate your child.

After all, your child needs to see you grieving to learn it is okay to be sad and cry, but life still goes on.

One of the best ways to regulate is to hold your child. That helps them to feel safe and also gives you a sense of safety as well.

Step 2. Relate

Holding your child is part of the next step as well.

You help your child to regulate, to feel safer and still cared for.

Now you help them by establishing a connection. Holding your child will help them feel connected to you. This will mean they feel less isolated and alone.

Being Attuned To Your Child

Relating also involved being attuned to your child and their needs. It means you will stop and seek to understand what your child is thinking and feeling. Depending on their age, this may involve (when appropriate) making a general statement such as:

“It is really sad and frightening that x has died.”

This would work best for a young child who may still be learning to understand their emotions. Acknowledging what you sense they are experiencing helps them to feel understood.

For an older child you may ask them what they are feeling. Or you may wonder if they are feeling sad because you are.

It is important to not hide your feelings and allow your child to see you are sad too but that your sadness won’t stop you caring for them.

Be Attuned For A Long Time

Remember that I earlier mentioned that grief in children takes longer and is revisited at each developmental stage.

It is important to keep that in mind. Even after the initial period of adjustment to death your child will continue to grieve.

Always make sure you seek to understand your child. This maintains a connection between the two of you and is also comforting for your child. An attuned parent is one who provides safety and security. Something all children need, but grieving children need it more.

Step 3. Reason

Once your child is regulated and secure in their relationship with you, you can then reason with them.

You can support your child to express their feelings should they want to. You can support your child according to their developmental stage to reflect, learn, remember, articulate and learn how to live with their loss.

How Do I Support My Child To Learn?

There are many aids you can use to help you support your child through their grief. These aids will help them to learn healthy ways of processing grief. This will serve them well now and in later life with other losses.

There are many age-appropriate books you can read to your child. Your local library is a good source of these. If you send your child to a counsellor many will have these resources as well. I have a range of books I use with younger children.

For teenagers, who are already exploring the more existential issues of life as part of their teen development, a more existential approach that emphasises philosophical discussions mixed with some helpful facts about grief and its impacts is really helpful.

Can I Help?

Sometimes you and/or your child/ren will need help from a grief trained counsellor. It can be very helpful to learn what is normal in grieving both for yourself and your child. If you need help, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please
click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

I didn’t think I had an abusive childhood, but now I realise I did

Do you need other people to validate the things you do?

Do you need the approval of others?

Do you find it hard making decisions for yourself?

Do you find it hard feeling self-reliant?

Do you find it hard to regulate your emotions?

Are you really hard on yourself?

Do you feel you have little or no worth?

Do you do things to numb your emotional pain?

Are you frightened of rejection and abandonment?

Do you feel you are stuck in angry mode?

Do you find it hard to feel joy or peace?

Do you find it hard to get close to other people?

Do you feel lonely and seek out others to compensate for your loneliness?

Do you feel lost, misunderstood or that you don’t fit in and others are judging you for that?

Do you frequently feel anxious or depressed?

Are you frightened of social situations and fear being rejected.

Do you feel others judge you as not being good enough?

Do you feel empowered in your life?

How childhood experiences can impact you as an adult

Did you know that trauma in childhood has a significant impact on your self-worth?

If your sense of safety and belonging in childhood was damaged you are likely to have developed skills to keep you safe in that situation. As you grew up you may never have unlearned those skills, so they trap you in patterns that don’t serve you in adulthood.

Also, poor attachment between your parents and you puts you at risk of suffering from loneliness in adulthood.

Traumatic experiences in your childhood disrupt how you see your self as a person and affect your ability to regulate your emotions. All this impacts on the quality of the interpersonal relationships you have later in life.

My parents didn’t physically or sexually abuse me. I can’t have suffered trauma.

It can be hard to understand you have been traumatised in childhood. The usual picture of trauma is that of being hit or sexually abused. But trauma covers much more than just that. In fact, the worst traumas are emotional and psychological.

Neglect

Neglect is a trauma that is often overlooked. With neglect the child’s physical and emotional needs are frequently overlooked. It may involve not receiving regular meals, not having clean clothes to wear, not having your emotional needs for comfort and support met. A parent who rarely interacts or shows an interest in you is also neglectful.

Neglectful parents are also unlikely to be there to teach you skills of emotional regulation. They may not teach you how to wash yourself, how often to change your clothes.

It is unlikely a neglectful parent will see you and spend time connecting to you. This is known as attunement. A child who is not seen is a child who is not safe. Not being safe is extremely traumatic.

The clear message in this situation is that you have no worth or value. After all, you are not worth having any time or attention given to you.

Narcissistic Parent

Narcissistic parents are also very destructive of a child’s sense of self-worth.

Such a parent depends on the child to make them feel good. The child gets positive attention when they do things that serve the parent. The trouble is, there are no clear guidelines as to what the child needs to do to serve the parent. Consequently, the child lives life second guessing the parent in order to feel that the parent will care for them and they will be safe.

Narcissistic parents will also often shame their children in front of others. They will expect their child to meet their needs, to do things to make them proud. They will never teach their child any skills that will equip them for adulthood and self-reliance.

Narcissistic parents will often hold the child close to serve their needs. They want the child to stay dependent on them because the child is there to serve their needs and that is why they had them.

One classic example is of a woman who would take her child to school. The child would happily run into the classroom and greet her friends. The mother would call her back and make a fuss of her, stating it was okay for mummy to leave now and she would be okay. The child would go back to her friends and be happily talking with them. Again, the mother would call her back. This would continue until the child’s resolve was broken and she would wail and beg her mother not to leave her.

A narcissistic parent is one of the most destructive types of parent and sentence their children to mental poor health and a dependence on validation from others in adulthood.

Complex PTSD and Borderline personality disorder

These conditions develop because of chronic trauma experienced in childhood. The type of trauma most associated with these conditions is emotional abuse and invalidation. It can happen if you are neglected or have a narcissistic parent. It can also happen from other types of abuse and invalidation.

Sometimes parents are not aware that their behaviour towards their children is invalidating and can be surprised when their child develops this disorder in adulthood.

When a parent is emotionally abusive or invalidating during a child’s early years it impacts on the child’s sense of self and the child can struggle to have a strong sense of self.

You may develop self-defeating attitudes and beliefs around yourself and the trustworthiness of the world.

When raised in such an environment it is also difficult to learn to regulate your emotions. This is often due to your parents being unable to regulate their emotions. How can you teach another person how to regulate their emotions if you can’t do it yourself.

For this reason, I encourage people who had difficult childhoods to seek counselling from a trauma trained professional before having children. Many parents who were emotionally abused as children are determined their own children will never have to go through that. But sometimes things your children do can trigger reactions in you that you can’t control and don’t like doing. If you find raising your children triggers behaviours you struggle to control then seek counselling. Seeking help makes you a good parent.

Unstable and intense relationships

If you find that any type of relationship you have with others tends to be intense and over time unstable then you may be experiencing the impacts of chronic trauma in childhood. Sometimes these relationships happen because you are uncomfortable being alone and seek out anyone who looks willing to be in a relationship with you. This can result in you unconsciously choosing the wrong type of person to have a relationship with.

Sometimes when you are in a relationship you can sabotage it by clinging to the person and unwittingly pushing them away.

I think you are the best, I hate you patterns

Another impact of childhood trauma can be seen in meeting someone new and idealising them. This continues for some time then you start devaluing them and finding things wrong with them.

You are too hard on yourself

One of the saddest impacts of childhood trauma is the lack of self-worth and lack of self-compassion.

It is not surprising that children develop these beliefs. When a parent is abusive, or expects you to jump over hoops to gain their approval, the natural response is to believe this is because you are a bad person. If your parent constantly tells you that you are bad then this belief is reinforced.

The reality is that a child is just a child learning how to live life. There is no inherent badness in a child. Sadly a child doesn’t know that. Shame becomes a big part of the life of an abused child.

Ways to dull the pain

If you never learned how to regulate your emotions, and you believe you are a bad person, then you feel great pain that you don’t know how to soothe.

Many people turn to behaviours that numb the pain. These behaviours may be dangerous. A good example of this is children who steal cars then drive them dangerously at high speed. The risk and dangers inherent in this activity help to suppress their pain.

Other things people do include addictions such as substance abuse, smoking or vaping, gambling, compulsive shopping, sex addiction, exercise addiction and eating disorders.

I am lonely

If you don’t feel you are worth anything then you may not feel you are likeable. The result is that you may avoid getting close to others so that they can’t reject you.

Getting close to another person means exposing yourself to the rejection of your parents. If they rejected you, then other people will too.

When you do form relationships with others you may be frightened of expressing your needs or asking for help because your parents failed to meet those needs when you were a child. So you may feel even lonelier because you can’t turn to someone for help.

Many people who suffered trauma in childhood report feeling lonely.

Depression and Anxiety

It is very common for someone traumatised as a child to be anxious. Your childhood was an anxious time of never being sure when you would receive support, or whether you may be abused. Abusers are rarely predictable so hypervigilance was an essential part of childhood.

Hypervigilance leads to anxiety. There is the need to be constantly on your guard because you never know what is going to happen in the next minute. You never know when things will suddenly become dangerous and frightening.

When you grow up and things become safer the fear doesn’t go away because your brain has developed neural pathways that constantly scan for danger. This is why anxiety is a constant companion of the traumatised child.

Depression is another consequence of this type of childhood. Many people report feeling depressed from childhood. The sense of not being good enough, the lack of self-worth, being emotionally worn down with anxiety and fear, the rejection and abandonment of parents and the sense of never being safe all contribute to feeling overwhelmed and hopeless and lead into depression.

I constantly feel on edge

The environment of neglect and emotional abuse is a highly stressful environment. Children in this situation are being impacted regularly by the release of stress hormones in the body. This has an impact on the developing brain and will often result in an adult who is highly sensitive to stress hormones.

The result is that your brain is in a constant state of defending yourself. In other words the fight/flight/freeze response.

It is very difficult to cope with life if your brain is constantly seeing danger and you spend a lot of time with your brain taking over your life and deciding whether you are to fight, run away, or freeze.

When this defence mechanism takes over, your thinking brain switches off. You can’t control your reactions. Sadly, very few people understand this and you may find yourself judged when you get stuck in this defence response.

It is for this reason that it is important to seek counselling from a qualified trauma counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with your childhood trauma, please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz

7 Ways To Reduce Stress

When stress levels are high you can feel that things are out of control. You can feel overwhelmed with tasks and feel unable to cope with your massive To Do list.

Here are 7 “C” suggestions of things to do to feel better able to manage that stress.

1.Control

When you feel overwhelmed with things to do you don’t feel in control of your life. It feels more like life is controlling you and you are drowning in the busyness of it all. It is really important to find some space to think. So take time out. Even a few hours. Review everything you have on.

• Is there anything you can pass on to someone else to do?

• Is there anything non urgent you can move to another day/week/month?

• Which tasks need to be done so that your life can continue to function? (such as clean clothes, food, clean dishes, caring for children if you have any.)

• Which tasks are “like to do” rather than “need to do” tasks?

Question: what can you do to feel more in control of your life?

2.Competence

When you feel capable of completing the tasks you have to do, the tasks are easier to do. That doesn’t mean they won’t take time. You do need to be realistic about the amount of time a task will take and the amount of time you have available to complete your tasks.

Question: what skills do you need to learn or improve so that you can feel more competent?

3.Confidence

If you are confident that you can manage the unexpected obstacles to completing a task you are likely to feel less stress around attending to tasks. Fear of things going wrong and not knowing what to do is a major contributor to stress.

Question: how confident do you feel? Describe that level of confidence. What can you do to increase your confidence?

4.Connection

One of the best buffers against high stress levels are healthy relationships with other people. It is not so much about having great friends, but more about feeling you have a community around you that you belong to.

It is about having a network of people you can turn to for help when you need assistance, advice or other resources to complete your tasks.

Questions: Who are the people in your life you can go to for support or belonging? How might you make connections in the community? Do you have strong connection with family, friends, and your community?

5.Character

This may seem odd, but it is important the tasks you have to complete align with your values. Doing something you feel uncomfortable about is going to make you feel stressed and going to make the task a hard one to complete. That then leaves you with a To Do list with uncompleted tasks. That is a recipe for high stress.

Things to consider in this situation are:

• Who has assigned this task to you? Is it work related? Has a friend/family member asked you to do something? Is this something you feel you have to do because you don’t know of any other options?

• What is it about this task that you feel uncomfortable about?

• Which of your values does this task not align with?

• What other options are there for you to consider regarding this task?

• Do you have to do this task?

Questions: What are your values? What things you do make you feel uncomfortable? What is it about them that is uncomfortable?

6.Coping

There are myriad ways of coping. Some of those ways are helpful and some are unhelpful. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, but these are unhelpful because they never allow you to resolve the problem. It just becomes buried and that causes more problems. It is better to see a counsellor to learn coping techniques than resort to substances and behaviours that bury the problem. Some ways to cope are:

• Self care – take time out to do the things you love to do. Maybe you like a massage, or a visit to a float tank. Maybe you love seeing family or friends. Maybe you love walking in the bush or walking along the beach. Maybe movies are your self care.

• Relaxation – learn how to meditate. Guided meditations can be really great for that. Mindfulness is also a good meditation to do. Yoga or Qigong are also great for relaxation. Or you can find activities that are relaxing such as going to the beach, hugging a tree, a bush walk, jogging, walking, going to the gym and many more.

• Spending time on a relaxing hobby.

Questions: What do you usually do to cope when you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Is it helpful or unhelpful? What is something more helpful you could try?

7.Contribution

This one refers to the contribution you make to the community in which you live. It is about volunteering to help others. It may involve dropping in to say hello to an elderly neighbour. It may involve volunteering at a Homeless Shelter. It may be as simple as giving a family member a lift somewhere.

Contributing is part of connection. When you contribute to your local community you feel more connected and invested in your local community. Research has also found that people who are willing to help others are more likely to reach out for help when they need it.

Part of Contribution is allowing others to contribute to the needs in your life.

Questions: What can you do to contribute to your community? What can others do to help you?

Putting the 7 “C’s” into practice

Here are some important things to consider when managing high stress levels:

• Have healthy boundaries. Learn to say “no”. Learn to be okay to ask for help, but also to not be involved in something you don’t want to do. Learn how to stop people encroaching on your boundaries. This is an aspect of control in your life and also coping.

• Accept who you are. You are like anyone else and that is wonderful. You are unique. There are things you are good at, and things you are not as good at. There are things you know how to do, and things you have yet to learn how to do. Know your limitations and accept them. Learn the things you need to learn and accept it will take time to be competent. Know also when it is time to stop because you have realised you will never be able to do something competently. This is an aspect of control, competence, confidence and character.

• Practice a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough sleep. Eat a diet that is well balanced and low in junk and high sugar foods. Move and exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the Gym. It may mean you take a walk on the beach, go dancing with friends or dancing in your own living room. This is an aspect of control and coping.

• Ensure your routine includes time to attend to essential tasks and allows time for play. This is a big part of self care. If you don’t spend time relaxing and recharging your batteries you will not be able to complete those essential tasks. This is an aspect of coping and control.

• Embrace mistakes and failures. They are a normal part of life. They are also opportunities to learn and grow. A popular learning theory holds that we learn about something then try to do it. After we have done it we evaluate its success. Do I need to do it differently? Is there more I need to know? Have I learned something from this attempt to show me how to do it again? After evaluating, you try again. This goes on until you are able to complete the task. According to this theory mistakes and failures are a vital part of learning. This is an aspect of competence and developing confidence.

• Be creative. Try different ways of doing things. You may find a better way of organising your life. The creative ways I have devised throughout my life mean I can achieve a lot more than I could in earlier years. There were many creative ideas and some of them worked really well and I still use them. I still apply creativity to completing tasks. This is an important aspect of control and competence.

• Recognise and manage those things in life that will bring up unhappy memories that upset you. There will always be things like that. Maybe recognising why you were upset about something is possible and will help you be alert for that again. Recognising where the upset comes from is a great aid to being able to learn strategies to manage it. You can also see a counsellor to learn strategies when you are unable to.

• Talk to someone you trust when you need help.

• Can’t find anyone to talk to or who is helpful? Talk to a counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you with learning to reduce stress, set boundaries, accept yourself, feel more in control, competent, connected make connections, identify your values, learn method of coping, and develop the skills to identify ways to contribute in your community please contact me on 0409396608 or nan@plentifullifecounselling.com.au

If you would like to learn more, I write a regular newsletter with helpful information, tips, information on courses, and the occasional freebie. At the moment I have a free mindfulness meditation for anyone who signs up to my newsletter. This meditation offers a way to safely explore your feelings and learn to be okay with them. If you would like to subscribe please click on the link here: http://eepurl.com/g8Jpiz