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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!

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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 to Start Your Day

The Power of Morning Rituals

The first 20 minutes of your day are the most potent and have the biggest effect on what you experience in the hours ahead of you.

This gives you an amazing opportunity to hop in the drivers seat and decide how it is you would like your day to be.

Morning rituals are a wonderful way to get you started on setting up your morning in the best way possible to support you towards feeling and experiencing what it is you want for your day.

I just want you to think about when you wake up in the morning, do you really think about it that much or are you just on auto pilot.

Just waking up getting done what you need to get done and getting out of the house.  Or have you been able to be more mindful and really starting to notice how your morning can affect the rest of your day.

I have really noticed in my own life when I set up my morning in a certain way, it can really make a difference in my day but that can go in either direction.

If you have the habit when first waking up in the morning of grabbing your phone, ipad or laptop and whether that is going through emails or going straight on social media, you are deciding in that moment how you are going to set up your day.

When you start the day in that way sometimes it can have a really negative effect on you, because you are starting out your day externally, really looking at what is happening in the world outside of you.

This is all before your feet have even touched the ground, before you have even had a chance to connect with the energy of mother earth.  Instead of spending that sacred time turning inside, seeing what is going on for you.

To help you start to get into the habit of starting to implement a morning ritual, to set your day up in a good way and reduce the effect the external world may be having on you, I am going to share with you some different morning rituals.

Morning Rituals Morning RitualsMorning Rituals Morning Rituals

Each morning ritual is very powerful on its own, so don’t worry you don’t need to do all of them.  I would urge you to give each of them a try and really feel into which one is feeling the most supportive for you.

Personally I use all of them at different times, intuitively feeling into which one I need, depending on what is going on for me at the time.  I would also recommend you start to take note of how your day starts to flow by starting your day in these ways, instead of focusing on the external world first.

What you may start to notice is that things flow a little easier because the universe is always responding to us, so if you can imagine for a moment the vibration you are emitting when you are in a hurried state, a stressed state or an anxious state.

This is what the universe is reflecting back to you, so for example, if you are feeling hurried then the universe will provide more things to make you feel hurried.

Whereas if you are able to start your day in a more calm, relaxed, aligned state then the universe has no choice but to still respond to you, reflect back to you what it is you are emitting, so you will experience more things that allow you to feel more calm, relaxed and aligned.

I know it is not easy to always find the time in the morning, but I can guarantee you, if like me you were jumping on social media, that will save you tons of time.  I was amazed at how much more time I had in the morning for my morning rituals.  Of course I am only human so I fall back sometimes into that old habit, but it quickly reminds me when I am noticing a negative shift in my mood and as such my day.

Give these morning rituals a go, reminding yourself that you are worth it and social media and emails will wait, they will still be there waiting for you once you are ready to face the external world.

I would love to hear how these feel for you, comment below and let me know and share any rituals that you find are helpful.

I offer private holistic counselling sessions online and in-person at my Gold Coast Clinic.  To book your session, click here.

Nicole Ivens | Empath Counsellor