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What is Maladaptive Stress?

What is Maladaptive Stress?

The term maladaptive is the opposite of adaptive and the dictionary term is “not adjusting adequately or appropriately to the environment or situation.”

Whereas adaptive is described as “having an ability to change to suit changing conditions”.

Maladaptive stress comes from using coping methods that at first seem to work very well, for example avoiding something that causes you high levels of stress, anxiety or even an uncomfortable feeling.  Whilst you may no longer experience those uncomfortable feelings you will have to work hard to avoid the experience or anything similar to that first experience and enters maladaptive stress.

The stress of having to manage your life in a way that avoids any possible chance that you are going to feel that high level of stress or anxiety can be exhausting, overwhelming and a sense of sadness of missing out on living your life the way you truly want and deserve to.

What if you were able to adapt to the situation or experience and using coping methods for the high stress or anxiety?

Like a chameleon changing to suit the environment, it would allow you to step out of avoidance and into acceptance.  Acceptance of your ability to cope with any situation as you have the strategies and coping skills you need.

In a way maladaptive stress is something we swap for that initial stress and anxiety isn’t it?  It feels easier because it is of our choosing, we choose to do it in this way, to not do certain things due to previous experiences.

What if those choices means you have put yourself into your own self-imposed jail?  It is essentially living in a big castle with lots of different rooms, all decorated differently, but you have chosen to live only in the smallest room in the castle, as you know that room, every part of it, no part of that room can ever surprise you.

Whilst that room feels safe to you, it takes a lot of work and energy to stay inside that room and to not allow in any outside forces that would threaten or change that room and the comfort you feel within there.

So the question is do you want to continue to cope with your maladaptive stress and stay within the confines of your self-imposed jail or are you ready to step out and learn some new adaptive coping skills that will allow you to explore all there is for you to experience within your life?

If you are ready to step out I encourage you to give the following exercise a try:

Easy vs Reset Buttons

Easy buttons are the things you do that make you feel instantly better or a fake better but doesn’t last and can actually end up making you feel worse.

Reset buttons are the things you can do that will actually have a deeper affect on you and truly bring you a bigger and longer lasting feeling of peace and happiness.

I’ll share my easy and reset buttons and then I encourage you to write out your list.

Source: Glennon Doyle – Untamed

Now it is over to you, think about and write out your buttons and keep them in a place where you can refer to them in the times where you are likely to turn to the easy buttons.


When you are feeling ready to embark on your healing journey, I can help you!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @nicoleivensholistic
Subscribe and Listen to my Podcast “Grounded and Aligned”​
Sign up to receive my free guide “5 Steps to Feeling Lighter & Happier”​​​
Work with me privately online.  Book your Online Appointment.


energy reading for september 2021

Energy Reading for September 2021

Energy Reading for September 2021

It is a challenging time right now across the world and for our collective of energetic souls, so after tuning into my guidance for where my power lies in our current climate here on Earth, this was part of my role, to help you to find your power.

As we look outside to our personal environments, communities, countries and the world as a whole it can be very easy to feel disempowered, like there is not a lot you can do to change it right now.  I completely understand how it can feel that way right now and throughout our lives this is a feeling we can experience when there are circumstances that feel beyond our control.  So where is your power?

Your power is where it has always been, within you, bringing your focus back to you is where you are going to find your power and be able to go from feeling disempowered to feeling empowered.  As you start to work on how you are feeling and your own healing, you are having a profound effect on our collective of souls.


To have your question answered join me live on Instagram on the first Sunday of every month, next one is Sunday 3rd October @ 7:30pm AEST.

The Great Preemptive

The great preemptive

As a highly sensitive soul and anxious earthly being I find myself in this space a lot, always needing to preempt what might happen both within me and around me and in my children’s lives too. It is so exhausting always sitting like a lioness looking for danger and ready to pounce.

As I sit here looking out to the ocean connecting with my spirit guides they show me the strength and power of my girls.  This teaches me to stand down, to feel reassured in their ability to cope with anything that comes their way just as I have done time and time again.

They have had the best teacher in me, seeing me come up against adversity so many times, seeing me fall and seeing me rise again. What better teaching could they of had in strength and resiliency and the power of resting, recovering and rejuvenating after battle.

So I don’t need to preempt as they have that part of me in them and I can trust in that power.  Giving them the gift of independence and knowing what they are capable of and that I will always have their back and soft place to fall.

It’s a great lesson in my own life I too was shown and taught by my own mums strength and resilience.

“Strong Women Raise Strong Women”

I know I also don’t need to preempt anything because I also have that part in me to fall and rise, just like the rhythm of my breath and the waves in the ocean.



When you are feeling ready to embark on your healing journey, I can help you!

Taking up space at the front of the line

Taking up space at the front of the line

When you set a boundary they will push back.
As a highly sensitive soul you have probably allowed people to take too much, to demand too much and just be too much.  I have too!
Recently I have had to put boundaries in place with my girls both for my sake and theirs.
There has definitely been push back and understandably so, they have got used to things a certain way, me a certain way.
It will take time for them to adjust to the changes in me and the space I’m now taking up in the room.
The old me would fold, the people pleaser would never want to upset, cause pain, discomfort or be an inconvenience.
It’s certainly been the easier choice, but not the best choice for either of us.

So as I stood here in front of the ocean feeling the power of Mother Earth beneath my bare feet I was reminded of my power:

To hold space
To own space
To deserve space

I don’t need to feel shame, guilt or selfishness. I am allowed to put my needs first and have them met.
Holding boundaries isn’t easy so I wanted to share my experience with you, so you know you are not alone and you too have the power of Mother Earth within you

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When you are feeling ready to embark on your healing journey, I can help you!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamnicoleivens
Subscribe and Listen to my Podcast “Grounded and Aligned”​
Sign up to receive my free guide “5 Steps to Feeling Lighter & Happier”​​​
Work with me privately online.  Book your Online Appointment.

The People Pleasing Mum

The People Pleasing Mum

 
Do you put other people and their needs before yourself and your needs?
 
I’m going to take a guess and say it’s a resounding YES!
 
This is something I’ve always done recovering people pleaser here.
 
I’ve very recently seen the harm this can cause both to me and the other person.
 
I’ll be honest my mum role is my most important role and blessing in this lifetime.
 
I’ve always been there for my girls every whim and need and always took pride in that about me.
 
Recent events have shown me in a really hard and painful way that putting them before me has caused some damage.
 
My lesson has been that doing it for them doesn’t set them up for success, it’s sets them up to fail.
 
So I’ve had to pull myself back and this has been hard and painful for both of us.
 
It’s my job to teach them how strong, powerful and capable they are. Also that I will always support and guide them, showing them our separate paths that run parallel to each other whilst still connected always.
 
As I stepped onto the beach today and the air hit my face it was like a renewal, a renewal of my energy and a renewal of my nurturing role to my girls.
 
I wanted to share my story with you as inspiration if you find yourself putting the needs of others above your own.

When you are feeling ready to embark on your healing journey, I can help you!

Follow me on Facebook and Instagram @iamnicoleivens
Subscribe and Listen to my Podcast “Grounded and Aligned”​
Sign up to receive my free guide “5 Steps to Feeling Lighter & Happier”​​​
Work with me privately online.  Book your Online Appointment.

The Empty Space

The Empty Space

I was walking along the beach feeling a quietness I had not experienced before.

I looked around and there were just as many people as any other time.

I asked myself “what is different?”

Why does it feel quiet and I realised it was me, my internal world was at peace, it was quiet.

I’ve never felt that before so I didn’t recognise it.

On our healing journey it is a path of undoing and letting go of what we thought was the point.

I know for me this past week has been very healing and growth provoking.

Undoing what I thought people wanted and needed from me and letting go of that deep need to help and fix.

I’m now sitting in this quiet space getting to know it but also making sure I’m not trying to fill it with anything out of fear or uncomfortableness.

I’ve always seen people who look so at peace and wondered what and how, I’m starting to see it’s always inner peace and with inner peace comes outer peace.

When you are feeling ready to embark on your healing journey. I can help you!

connect to your intuition

4 ways to connect to your intuition

Connect to your Intuition

 

Intuition is a natural skill we all have access to, just like a muscle it needs training and regular maintenance.

Similar to how we train our physical muscles there are different ways to get to your end result.

in this article I am going to share with you 4 ways to connect to your intuition.

  1. Clairvoyance
  2. Clairaudience
  3. Clairsentience
  4. Claircognizance

First let’s understand what the term ‘Clair’ means, clair is French word for clear.

Clairvoyance = Clear Seeing

Clairaudience = Clear Hearing

Clairsentience = Clear Feeling

Claircognizance = Clear Knowing

Now each person will have one or two senses that are stronger, ones that you naturally tune into.

Which one are you drawn to?

My two strengths are claircognizance and clairsentience.

No matter which one you feel is your strength you can power them all up with regular practice and exercises.

In my online DIY course ‘Awaken Your Intuitive Senses’ I teach you about each sense and exercises to strengthen and power up all four senses.

connect to your intuition

 

I would love to hear which clair you feel is your strength, comment below.


Nicole Ivens | Holistic Counsellor

Did you know you can work with me privately in a secure online setting?  To book your session click here or to learn more about me click here

How I Learned That I am a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

I had a question recently on Instagram about my journey to uncovering that I was a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and as it is quite in-depth I felt writing an article was in need.

As a Kid – I didn’t know

As a Teenager – I didn’t know

As an Adult in my 20’s and 30’s – I didn’t know

HSP

What I did know through all of these transition periods of my life was that I was overly emotional, too sensitive and suffered with severe anxiety.  I guess you could say all of these things should of led me to know that I was a “HSP”, but you know what it didn’t, all it did was made me feel different, unworthy, unlikeable and a difficult daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend.

I worked as hard as I could throughout my life to mask and to hide my true feelings, my true emotions and my true self, because life had taught me that person was a problem, that person was not good enough and frankly that person was kind of annoying.

It really wasn’t until I started to experience physical ailments that I had to start to take a hard look at my life and how I was living it and what I was accepting.  At the time I was working in a demanding job where I needed to be available 24/7 and when I went to see my doctor I remember him clearly saying you can’t do this anymore, your body can not handle it.  He even shared his own personal experience with me when he was an on-call doctor in a busy emergency department and he too had to quit and move on.

HSP

My hair was falling out (I have thin hair anyway, so not helpful), I was experiencing migraines that were affecting my vision, my energy levels were depleted, I was exhausted all of the time.  After having all the medical tests nothing showed up to explain my physical ailments and it was at that time that I truly started to understand the cost of not living for myself, but for other people.

I had been living for others my whole life, doing exactly what they wanted me to do, even at my own detriment.  As a kid I was always the good girl, doing whatever I could to please my parents and teachers alike.  Trying to get my siblings to like me, to want to play with me, doing things for them and the same in friendships.

As I write about this now it makes so much sense as to why my body was like okay enough is enough, we are not doing this anymore, we can’t take anymore, we are done.  I have noticed this with my private clients as well, our bodies know exactly what they need to do, to either stop us in our tracks or get us to finally pay attention.

This all started for me 2012, I left my job and I felt quite lost, I didn’t know what to do, I still needed to work but what was next for me.  At the time I had no idea it was the start of my spiritual awakening and I know now that if my body hadn’t given me signals I couldn’t ignore, I would probably still be living my life for others.

The first thing I did was I enrolled in a course I had been wanting to do for quite some time and that was “Angel Card Reading with Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine”, I had always loved angels and now I had the time to learn more about how I could connect with them.

I definitely got a lot more than I bargained for, on the surface it was learning about using angel oracle cards, which was so much fun.  Even deeper than that it was a journey of learning to trust myself, and for someone who had been a people pleaser for so long, starting to trust myself, who by the way I didn’t even know at that point was a big task.

So I began starting to peel back the layers to start to understand who I was, why I felt the way that I did, why I seemed different to everyone else in my life.  That is when I came across the concept of HSP and Empath and it was like a light bulb moment, one that explained so much of my life experience.  Other HSP’s had also been told their whole life “they were too sensitive or too overly emotional or cried too much”, yes I always cried at the drop of a hat and I still do.

If you are wondering whether you too are a HSP or Empath, I have another article that lists 27 traits that can help you to see if it fits for you too.

As I started to learn more about a “HSP” I could finally start to understand myself at such a deep level and even more than that, I could stop explaining away my sensitive nature.  There was no more “I am sorry I am too emotional” or “I am sorry I am crying again”, it shifted into my emotions are my guide and my tears are cleansing.

I can now say with no shame at all, “Yes I am emotional, Yes I am sensitive, Yes I cry – It is an amazing Super Power!”

I hope this article gives you some insight into my journey of finding out that I was a HSP, I would love to hear about your journey – comment below.

Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor

I love my work supporting women and female adolescents in accepting and understanding their true self, if my story resonates with you and you would like to start to embrace your sensitive nature, then I am your girl!  You can book your online appointment here.

Balanced Friendships

Balanced Friendships as an Empath

Do you know what balanced friendships look like?

 

As empaths we are naturally caring and giving, always wanting the best for those around us and of course we can feel when that is not the case.  We tend to leap into action doing what we can to help and support that person to feel better, because as they feel better we feel better too.

What happens in the aftermath is a clear indication of the health and balance of the friendship, once they are feeling back to their old self and the issue is solved, what actions do they then take?

In balanced friendships there will be gratitude for the support you have provided, there will be no silence or ghosting, there will be no lack of contact until the next time you are needed.  Most importantly when you are in need of support, they will be right there holding you up in your time of need.

Balanced Friendships

 

Unfortunately empaths and highly sensitive souls have a tendency to be used in relationships and friendships because they give their everything and don’t always have that favour returned.  I know I have experienced this in my life time and time again, I would be the go to person when life got messy, I would drop everything and be there to support them through.  The storm would pass and I would be dropped like a hot potato and not hear from them again until the next storm.

I would always ask myself “why does this keep happening, I am a good person, do I not deserve to have contact with them outside of their storm?”  Of course when I started to unpack it, I could see it as a pattern within me that needed healing, my walls were down there were no boundaries to be seen, it was like open season.

As a recovering people pleaser I would always do whatever I could do to please others and of course that meant doing so much more for them and being there at the drop of a hat with no consideration for my own needs.  All that did was allow them to then also have no consideration for my needs, why would they, I sure didn’t.

I’ll be honest with you until very recently I didn’t even know what a balanced friendship looked like or felt like, thankfully I do now and do you know why I now know that and feel that?  I healed the part inside of me, my inner child who had been hurt so many times by people she thought were friends, that I finally felt deserving of a balanced friendship of someone that cares for and believes in me wholeheartedly.

I will take a shot in the dark and say this is probably your experience too, you may have been hurt by people in the past and now its hard to trust, hard to believe that having people in your corner is even a possibility.

“I am here to tell you right now, you are deserving, you are worthy and your soul-friends are just waiting for you.”

Balanced Friendships

 

The path to your soul-friends is to be open, to be very open to the people you are surrounding yourself with right now.  Disclaimer: It doesn’t mean they are bad, they are not, from your unhealed place you have welcomed in behaviour that is no longer acceptable to you.

Just because you have been friends since school or maybe it’s “but they are my family” or “its just the way they are” or “its just always been this way”.  These are all beliefs that have most likely been placed on you and they are beliefs that are keeping you from being your true self, because that true self is exhausted under the weight of carrying the burdens of others.

Wouldn’t you just love to let all that go?  Start to feel free and know that balanced and soulful connections are possible for you too.

You don’t have to be a doormat, you don’t have to be a sponge.  What if the way in which you have been allowing others to treat you is in fact not only stunting your spiritual growth but theirs as well.  As empaths we are all about helping, so what if just for a moment you could entertain the idea that there is another way to help those around you.

It is not our job to carry the burdens for others but help, teach and support them to carry it for themselves.  Now I know we have a tendency to fix, it’s a natural human desire to take pain way from our loved ones, but in pain lies growth.  I see this so much in the work that I do with my private clients, pain moves them to action so much quicker than pleasure ever does.

If you do everything in your power to take away their pain, you are interfering in their growth process, in the growth of their soul.  I envision our souls sometimes acting like Homer Simpson saying “DOH” we were so close.

So let’s look at this in the concept of balanced friendships, so of course you are going to want to be there for your friends in their times of need, it is your natural state of being but the question is “is it theirs?”.

There may be a number of reasons as to why it is not theirs, seeing the pain in others isn’t easy, being able to hold space for another in their time of need isn’t easy as I am sure you know all too well.  But for empaths we do this naturally, it is our natural state of being, but it isn’t for everyone.

The question you want to ask yourself is “if my friend is unable to hold space for me when I need it, am I okay with continuing to do it for them?”

You might be and that is 100% okay, if you are not if you have had enough, then it is time for change.  Like I said earlier in the article, it doesn’t make them bad or you bad, it is just your expectations have changed and you now require more from your friendships and that is also 100% okay.

Now of course in any friendship there are going to be up and down times, back and forth, times where you need more support and times where they need more support.  Even periods where it may feel that either you or your friend is needing more and that is okay, the important focus is if the tables were turned would it look similar?

I hope this article helps you to start to assess your friendships and gain an understanding as to whether they are balanced and above all know that you are worthy and deserving of balanced friendships with others where you feel supported and held.

I would love to hear your experience within your friendships, comment below you never know who needs to hear it.


I work with empaths and highly sensitive souls providing support, guidance and healing.  To book your online or in-person session click here.


Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor

Brain fog

How to Deal with Brain Fog as an Empath

Does it feel sometimes like your brain is sitting behind a veil?

Brain fog is real thing that many empaths suffer from, it can feel like confusion and the inability to focus.  It has also been described as a feeling of just not being here, or off with the fairies is another term that has been used to describe the feeling.

In a world where we are continuously being told to practice mindfulness and meditation, not being able to just be present in the current moment and have the ability to concentrate can be extremely frustrating.

There are three parts of us that are contributing to this ‘brain fog’, mind, heart and body.  When all three of these are working in unison, you will feel grounded, balanced and wholly here in the present moment.

What reasons could there be as to why they are not working in unison?

Each part of you has its own job and sometimes those jobs can be in conflict with each other, for example the mind has its own idea of what needs to happen but that may differ from the yearning of the heart.

The body is a place of wisdom and holds the truth and the trauma of the sum of your experiences.

So if you are connecting with just one of those areas you will start to experience an imbalance and as the other areas work to be heard it can feel overwhelming and you may feel a sense of confusion.

Most people consistently operate from their mind, leaving out the wisdom of the body and the connectedness of the heart.  This will cause your body and your heart to become louder and louder, trying different things to attain your attention.

Can you imagine three parts of you, all using different signals to grab your attention at the same time?

It is no wonder that you are experiencing brain fog, confusion and an inability to focus in the present moment.  It reminds me as a mum when all the kids are vying for my attention at the same time, can anyone say ‘save me’?

So of course we want to bring these parts of you back into unison, but first we need to look at this from the unique perspective of being an empath.

As an empath you are very connected to the energy around you but also to higher planes of consciousness as well, and this can cause you to have an out of body experience.  This in and of itself can cause your brain to feel like it has been left behind and is essentially sitting behind a veil.

You are a spiritual being having an earthly experience and let’s get real, it is not an easy experience, earth isn’t exactly an easy place to inhabit as a sensitive being.  So you may be doing what you can to escape that uncomfortableness at every chance you get, elevating to the higher planes where you feel beautiful energy that aligns with yours perfectly.

Whilst this is an amazing gift that we have, to be able to elevate our energy to these beautiful higher realms, we did choose to come to earth at this time and we do have a job to do, lessons to learn for our soul.

So we do need to learn how to exist on this plane, on earth whether it is easy or not.  I can promise you the more time your consciousness spends on this plane, earth and implementing the strategies I am going to share with you, it will become easier and you will notice your brain fog, confusion and ability to focus improve.

5 Ways to Ground Your Energy to Earth

  1. It is time to renew your oath that you made before coming to earth.  “I {insert your name} pledge to come to planet earth, to learn my soul lessons, to support my soul mate family and raise the vibration of the planet”
  2. Daily practice to bring the consciousness of higher realms to you, instead of you feeling the need to shift your consciousness to the higher realms.  Connect with nature, barefoot on the earth is a wonderful way to ground your energy to mother earth, to connect with her, to bring the support and guidance from the higher realms that you need.
  3. Golden Shower.  As empaths we tend to pick up and absorb the energies around us from both environments and people, so it is imperative that you are cleansing that energy from your aura and physical body.  The golden shower is a wonderful way to do just that, standing under the water, envision the water falling is a golden waterfall and it is cleansing all of the energy you have picked up throughout the day.
  4. Angel Mist.  An aura spray is a wonderful product to carry with you, so anytime you feel a disconnection or you have picked up energy from others, this amazing spray will cleanse you in the moment.  Giving you the opportunity to feel present and the ability to focus in the moment.  Click here to purchase your own Angel Mist Spray.
  5. Meditation.  Sitting quietly and just envisioning the white light coming in through your crown chakra, bringing in the light codes and guidance from the higher realms, allowing you to still receive exactly what you need without having to feel ungrounded, confused, lost and unable to focus in the moment.

 

 

Now of course it is wonderful to visit the higher realms and our ability to do that is such a gift and I am not saying you shouldn’t be doing that, what I am suggesting is that if it is starting to affect your day to day life, then it may be important to look at the reason why you are spending more time in the higher realms.

 

I would love to hear how this article has resonated with you and your experience as an empath.  Comment below, you never know who your experience may help.


I specialise in supporting Empaths and Highly Sensitive Souls, if you are finding it hard to cope with your sensitivity, I would love to help you.  Helping you to embrace the super power that is your sensitivity and knowing it is your gift and how you can use it to support yourself.  Book your session here.


Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor