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Stress Busters For Mums

In my opinion there is one role we choose to take on as women and it is the most difficult, yet the most profound, growth provoking and fulfilling.  You got it, our role as a mother, one day all of a sudden we are responsible for this little human, with no guidelines and no rule book or manual to speak of.

Can you imagine starting a new job and being thrown in the deep end with no instructions, help or flotation devices to speak of.  Just wouldn’t happen right, hello HR we have a problem.

So of course mums experience different levels of stress throughout their child’s life, I’m just learning now with teenagers, one nearly 18, it doesn’t get better, or worry less, it’s just different.

“The older they get, the bigger the age number, the bigger the problems”

Stress Busters for Mums

 

So let’s look at some strategies aka Stress Busters For Mums to help you through some of those stressful periods as a Mum.

  1. Breathe

Breath work is very powerful in lowering your stress levels, helping you to self-regulate your emotions and then respond in a more calm manner.  Ensuring you are breathing deeply, in through your nose and out through your mouth.  Note: Shallow breathing will cause your anxiety to spike, in turn making your stress levels worse.

2. No comparing

STOP comparing yourself to other women and other mothers, even your own.  You are not them and they are not you, also they don’t have your children, they don’t know your children like you do.  You know what your children need, comparing yourself to others is only going to bring more misery and possibly trigger you in ways of self-worth and self-confidence.  You are doing your very best and that is Enough!

3. Adult Time Out

You need some time-out, time to just breathe (see strategy #1), to tend to your needs without being pulled in a thousand different directions.  Time out for you will be different for time out for me or any other woman, you do you and let others do them.  If you could take an “Adult Time Out”, what would that look like for you?

Taking a time out is not neglecting your children or your role as a mum, you are doing it for them not to them.  A calm and relaxed mum is way more fruitful for your children than an exhausted, stressed and overwhelmed mum.

4. Emotion Regulation

You are human despite you proving otherwise with your amazing skills at being in a million places at once and being everything to everyone.  So yes you have needs and you have emotions that need tending to, emotion regulation is going to help you to feel calm within the chaos that is life as a mum.  Along with the first three strategies this is important in keeping you grounded and allowing you to cope with life’s hard knocks.

EFT or Tapping is a great modality to be using to help you self-regulate (you can teach it to your kids too), its easy to learn and very effective at lowering both yours and your children’s stress levels.  In my mind a calm mum is a calm child and a calm child is a calm mum.  Check out the video below where I take you through a quick process of what EFT or Tapping is and how you can use it in your life.

 

 

I hope you enjoy trying out these stress busters for mums, I would love to hear how they work for you, comment below.  Any questions about any of these strategies, comment below or contact me here.

Nicole Ivens Holistic Counselling

I work locally with offices in Burleigh Heads & Robina and also online worldwide.  I support soulful women to cope with the ups and downs of life, releasing negative experiences and processing the grief that comes along with integrating change and embracing your new normal.   Book your free call here.

Emotional Wellbeing – Is it really all that important?

Emotional Wellbeing – Is it really all that important?

In two words I am going to answer that for you – HELL YEAH!

Let me tell you why, each of us has three parts to our wellbeing:

Emotional Wellbeing

Each part needs and deserves equal attention, physical wellbeing receives more attention and is more socially acceptable than emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  Yet doesn’t mean it is any more important or vital to your overall wellbeing.

Stress has become a leading cause of disease in the physical body and your emotional wellbeing is a huge factor in managing your stress levels and in turn the Dis-Ease you are experiencing.

There are many ways that you can deal with your stress levels and emotions that DO NOT support your overall wellbeing, for example:

  • Distraction techniques such as:
    * Emotional Eating
    * Smoking
    * Drinking
    * Drug Use
    * Excessive Shopping

These distraction techniques in avoiding dealing with your emotions then have a negative effect on your physical wellbeing.  So yes your emotional wellbeing is IMPORTANT!

Let’s talk about ways in which you can make your Emotional Wellbeing an important part of your life.

  1. LISTEN to your Feelings and ask these questions:
    * What are you trying to tell me?
    * Where is this feeling coming from?
    * What action should I take?
  2. FEEL your Feelings, just let them come and go without judgement or dissection
  3. RELEASE your Feelings, let go of the experience that is the cause of the feeling.

To support you in this process I work with clients 1-1 both locally and nationally.  Click here to learn more and book your session.

 

Tap Away Your Child’s Anxiety

Does your child or children suffer with symptoms of Anxiety?

As a sufferer of anxiety as a young child myself and raising two teenage girls who have also experienced symptoms of Anxiety, I know the pressure this puts on you as a parent and your family as a whole.  Childhood anxiety has two sides to the coin, one side is your stress as a parent in dealing with your child’s anxiety symptoms and behaviour and the other side is supporting your child to cope with the anxious symptoms and feelings.

Recently, I have come to realise that not all parents are able to recognise the signs of anxiety because that has not been their experience growing up or in their adult lived experience.  Luckily for me and my girls because of my exposure to anxiety, I can recognise it in a second and felt called to educate parents on what to look for in their child and of course tips on how to cope with it as well.

Anxiety can come in many forms and the important thing here is to understand the distinction between a child just acting out and one who is suffering from anxiety and their behaviour is completely out of their hands and not something they are doing on purpose.

What can anxiety look like?

Perfectionism – a child needing everything to be perfect and in order
Fear of trying new things – this could be a new activity or simply a new food
Worrying about events in the future
Not wanting you as their parent to leave them
Needing to know what is going to happen and when it is going to happen – who is picking me up from school today?
Fear of Failure – For example: Tests and exams at school
Overthinking is a big sign of anxiety – if you notice your child just can’t stop thinking and worrying and analysing – their big questions will be what if this happens? what if that happens?
Sleeping problems

Now not all anxiety is bad, it is completely natural for your child to feel anxious when they are starting something new, meeting new people etc.  When anxiety becomes a problem is when it starts to affect both your child’s life and is causing you stress as their parent.

Anxiety happens when a part of your child’s brain called the ‘Amygdala’ senses a threat of some kind and sends a signal that your child is in some kind of danger and they need to protect themselves.  This is where the flight, fight or freeze response comes in, they show up in the following ways:

Flight – running away and hiding in the room or not wanting to attend something
Fight – may show up like tantrums or unusual outbursts
Freeze – they may just stop and not be able to move or tell you what is wrong

So, how can you help your child if you have recognised they are suffering from anxiety symptoms?  Following I am going to teach a quick technique so you can both help your child and reduce your stress all at the same time.

  1. Tapping – EFT or Tapping is a stress reduction technique and works to quiet that part of the brain that is sending the signal of danger.  It is a very quick and effective technique that is self-applied using acupressure points on your upper body.

 

 

If you would like to learn more about this wonderful quick and effective technique, I am running a Stress Management Workshop for Parents and one of the modules is on Childhood Anxiety.  Click here to book your spot.

 

I Just Can't Meditate

Have You Ever Said “I Just Can’t Meditate”?

I Just Can’t Meditate

Have you said that to yourself or others?

Yes you!  Don’t worry I’ve got your back, so many of my clients have said this to me when I set them homework of meditating every day.  The look of fear on their face is priceless like I have asked them to give me their first born child.  Don’t worry I will never ask for your first born child, I have two teenagers and my hands are already full with as much teenage attitude as I can take.

You lay down, close your eyes and all of a sudden you are thinking about the washing  you haven’t done or the ironing piling up on the back of the couch and hang on a second did I leave the stove on, oh no it’s okay I haven’t cooked dinner yet.  Oh man I really should be cooking dinner, instead of lying here trying to meditate, oh geez I am so bad at this meditating thing, I can’t even stop thinking.   Sound familiar?

I just can't meditate

I get it and trust me I have been there so worried I was bad at meditating because I just can’t stop thinking and drive myself crazy trying to stop my thoughts and then I think about stopping my thoughts, a vicious cycle right?

It always reminds me of the saying “What You Resist Persists”, so resisting your thoughts or thinking actually causes you to think more.  Very unhelpful when you are trying to have a nice quiet moment to yourself, very rare I know.  So, what is the answer?

I have some great refreshing news for you, stopping your thoughts is very unrealistic, you have over 100,000 thoughts every day so no matter how hard you try you can’t stop them all.  Instead of trying to stop them I want you to become an observer of your thoughts, where is your focus right now?  What area of your life are your thoughts focusing in on?

That’s a big relief isn’t it, you get to just pay attention to what your thoughts are instead of trying to stop them.  I always get my clients to look at it like a courtroom, you are the judge and there is a prosecutor and a defense attorney.  You hear each side out and then  you get to decide (judge) what you keep and what you toss out and this allows you great information to what is going on in  your life and what affect your thoughts are having on your day-to-day life.

I just can't meditate

 

The other thing I like to share with my clients is meditation comes in all shapes and sizes, its not a one size fits all.  What works for someone else may not work for you, you need to do what feels right to you and something you can fit into your schedule.  I want you to think about just for a moment of an activity where you just completely lose yourself, time gets away from you and before you know it, the suns going down and the kids are yelling for dinner.

This is also a form of meditation because you are focusing on the task at hand, losing yourself in the moment and feeling a sense of joy and fulfillment.  It’s bringing you out of the external world into your internal world and giving you a break from all the stress and overwhelm that life bestows upon you sometimes.

Follow after me – “I can meditate in my own way and in my own time”

Would you like to feel supported with your meditation?  I work with clients 1-1 to support you in learning how to meditate and make it a part of your regular routine.  www.nicoleivens.com/services

 

Living with stress

A Guide to Living with Stress

Let’s start with the acronym for Stress:

STRESS = Situations That Release Emergency Signals or Stimuli

Stress is something we all experience in our lives be that us as adults or our children and sometimes our children are the source of our own stress.

So how do you live with stress in your life without allowing it to be detrimental to your health and inner peace?

It really comes down to having a plan in place and go to strategies that you can use in the moment to reduce and cope with your feelings of stress, either big or small.

In times of high stress I have always found the following quote a great reminder of the control I have in each and every situation.

The situations that appear in our life are not always in our control, but how we react to it, now that is where our power lies.  There are always going to be times in your life where everything goes belly up and your response to it is going to be the catalyst to what happens next.

This is especially important when dealing with our children, when they are acting in ways that cause us stress, it is because they are experiencing their own level of stress, so our reaction to it is paramount to again what happens next.

I am sure you are seeing a pattern here:

Situation > Response > What Happens Next

As you can see our response is the middle ground here which is a very important place to be and as such just as important to have the strategies available to you to gauge your response in each situation.

5 Strategies to Living with Stress

  1. Calm Tone of Voice – This is imperative for how you speak to yourself during times of stress and your children.  This will allow you to calm yourself and those around you, aka your children.
  2. Deep Breathing – Your breath is the biggest natural asset that you have, using it to calm your mind in times of stress will allow you to think in a logical way.  Use 4>4>4 method, breathe in for a count of 4, hold your breath for a count of 4 and exhale for a count of 4.
  3. Smiling – Utilising another natural asset your smile, this will help to relax your muscles, notice more positive options and lower your blood pressure
  4. Stay in the present moment – Ground your energy through using this statement “I am Nicole; I am 42 years old, this is the present and not the past; I am safe here, today is Thursday”  Using this statement with your personal information will bring you back into the present moment where you are safe.
  5. Gratitude Practice – Each day write down one thing you are grateful for and put it in a box and then on days of stress reading these entries will help to lower your stress levels.  Another great thing to do as a family is read these entries on World Gratitude Day – 21st September.

Using these simple strategies in your daily life will help you and your children to start to self-regulate and live with stress in a way that doesn’t affect your health or inner peace.

Learn more about Nicole http://www.nicoleivens.com/about

 

Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is a bit of a buzz word right now, isn’t it?

So, like the old saying goes if you can’t beat them, join them.  Let’s dive in and look at what meditation is and the benefits you can expect to experience with a regular practice of meditation.

Meditation is having an inner focus and a thought awareness to achieve a state of relaxation and a calm mind.  Sounds pretty good to me, I am sure we can all do with a technique to allow us to have a calm mind.  Although I may be a little biased after all my business is “Calm Your Mind Wellness”.

I’ll start by sharing with you my own personal experience of meditation, as you all may know, I never share anything with you that I haven’t tried myself.

When I first started meditating I felt like I wasn’t very good at it, as my thoughts just kept on coming.  I said things like “I am just not good at this meditating thing” and “I am never going to be able to stop my thoughts”.  I just kept at it and my thoughts kept coming and it wasn’t until I learned that stopping my thoughts wasn’t actually the goal anyway.  Hallelujah!

The release of pressure of my shoulders when I realised this was amazing, now not stopping my thoughts, that I can do.   So if I am not stopping my thoughts what am I doing, I hear you ask?  Well, all you need to do is just let them be, allow them to come and allow them to go.

Thoughts like feelings, just want to be heard in a sense.  Let them come and let them go, the letting go is the important part as at times we tend to hold onto a thought like it is gospel.  I thought it so it must be true, right?  Not necessarily, our thoughts are coming from past experiences, so each person can have a completely different thought over the same situation.

What I want you to start to do is become an observer of your thoughts, a bit like a judge in a courtroom.  You have the prosecutor and the defence attorney, fighting it out and the judge just sits back and observes.  That is your job now, observe your thoughts and decide whether they have merit or not.

5-minute meditation practice

 

Step 1 – Find a quiet place

Step 2 – Sit or lay down

Step 3 – Start 5 minute timer

Step 4 – Close your eyes

Step 5 – Start concentrating on your breath – nice deep breaths

Step 6 – Observe your thoughts

Step 7 – Let your thoughts come and go

Step 8 – Open your eyes and feel refreshed

 

Over time you will be able to increase your time, 5 minutes is a great place to start.  “The Insight Timer App” is perfect for your meditation, it plays music and will sound a chime when your time is up.

The Benefits of Meditation

 

 

  • Relief from stress and anxiety
  • Decreased blood pressure and hypertension
  • Lower cholesterol levels
  • More efficient oxygen use by the body
  • Increased production of the anti-aging hormone DHEA
  • Restful Sleep
  • Feel more grounded
  • Connected to your higher self
  • Increase your intutition
  • Feel more calm and relaxed

As you can see there are so many benefits to meditation and for me the one that stands out the most is just that feeling of overall calm, allows me to deal with situations in my life easily and effortlessly.

Give it a try and let me know what your favourite benefit is.

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/about

Emotional Freedom Techniques

What is EFT?

What is EFT?

You may have heard a bit about EFT recently and wondering what it is exactly, or you may be thinking I have never heard of it.

Then you are in the right place to learn all about EFT and how it can help you in your life.

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques and is also referred to as Tapping, due to the action of tapping on acupressure points on your upper body.

It is best described as a calming technique. Also known as tapping, as the process includes tapping using two fingers on 8 acupressure points on your face and upper body.

Emotional Freedom Techniques or Tapping is evidence-based modality in energy psychology, allowing you to heal from past hurts and gain freedom to live the life of your dreams.

Known as relaxation, stress reduction technique and a psychological version of acupuncture without the needles. Brings you back to a state of calm and neutrality to allow you to respond instead of reacting to life’s experiences.

EFT is an amazing technique to help you with managing stress, overwhelm and anxiety.

Now, that we have the technical part out of the way, let’s talk about what it can do for you in your life.  I will start with talking to you about the difference it has made in my life.

I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks since I was a young child and boy do I wish this was around back then, I spent a lot of my time either fighting against my own thoughts or running away from situations that scared me.

Fast forward to today I can happily say I haven’t had a panic or anxiety attack in two years and yes since I learned about Tapping.  At first I have to admit it felt very strange and I really wondered whether it was doing anything, or was it just my imagination.

The affects I feel from tapping are just too real for it to be my imagination, I have never come across anything else (yes I have tried a lot of different modalities) that was able to calm me in the moment of high stress.

For those of you that have been following me for a while will know I have had a lot of stress in the past few years with my two daughters illnesses.

The wonderful thing about EFT or Tapping is that it is backed up with over 100 clinical trials to show its effectiveness in so many areas within your life, from stress, trauma, depression, PTSD, Anxiety, chronic pain and weight loss.

I can’t impress enough on you how amazing this modality is and the difference it can make in your life.

So that you can experience tapping for yourself I am offering a free online session to allow you to experience it in your own life.   Book your session here

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/about

Energy

Review Your Year

Each year carries its own unique Energy

We started out this year in mercury retrograde and December saw us experiencing another mercury retrograde, the energy of the year has been one of endings.

Have you noticed that over the past year?  Endings of relationships, jobs, friendships, loss of loved ones.

As we finish out the year over the next 5 days it’s important to do a review, a review of your year, what worked and what didn’t.

A review of your year allows you to start the new year with a clean slate

Review Your Year

  • Grab yourself a notebook
  • 1st page titled – This year I enjoyed the following:
  • 2nd page titled – This year I learned these lessons:
  • 3rd page titled – Next year I will do this differently:
  • 4th page titled – This year I am grateful for:

This will allow you to gain a deep understanding of your experience of the past year and allow you to release and leave in 2017 the things that no longer serve you, for some of you, this list will include people and that is okay.

Some people are with us for the long haul and others just for a short moment in time, the important part is to differentiate between the two and know when it is time to let go and move on.

This is going to allow you to free up your energy and space for new people to enter your life in 2018.

Do you have experiences that you are finding it hard to let go of?  Nicole can help you to gain an understanding of the experiences and release the emotions that are keeping you stuck.

Written by Nicole Ivens

Nicole Ivens is an experienced Professional Counsellor, Wellness Coach and EFT Practitioner.

Nicole helps women to reduce fear and anxiety and take back control of their life by kicking fear to the kerb and getting back in the driver’s seat of their life.

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/meetnicole

Expectations

How to have a drama free Christmas Day

Expectations can be the source of your pain and disappointment

Expectations

A very normal part of life is having expectations!

  • How your life should look
  • How others behave
  • How people in positions of authority should act
  • Yourself and what you need to achieve in your life
  • Your loved ones

As you can see we can have expectations in so many areas of our life, now those expectations can be balanced, low or high.  Which of those do you think can cause you pain and disappointment?

High expectations can let you down, especially within relationships.  Expecting something from another person and then they don’t deliver can set you up for disappointment and cause you hurt and pain.

So, what should you do?  Have low expectations?  Because having low expectations would mean you would never be disappointed or hurt right?  Well, no because then you are not going to have the life you want and deserve as you are worth so much more and capable of so much more.

The answer is balanced expectations, so what does that even mean?  Balanced expectations is having a look at what you expect of yourself and what you expect of others and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this realistic?
  2. Is this possible?
  3. Am I asking too much?
  4. Will this bring me happiness?
  5. Is this fair?

It is important to remember, no one else has your heart, so they are not going to respond in the same way.  Having thoughts like “if it was me, this is what I would of done”, can be a cause of pain and disappointment.

As the way we would respond is due to our past experiences and our caring heart, just because others respond differently doesn’t mean they are wrong and we are right, it just means they have a different heart and different experience.

At this time of year it is important to check your own expectations before interacting with family and friends, emotions can be heightened and cause unnecessary drama-filled interactions.

It is also good to remember if you don’t have a good relationship with all of your family members, that is okay, we tend to all come together at this time of year and expect to get on with people we don’t normally see.

If you need some space, take it, for your sake and for theirs.  Giving your self an adult time-out is perfectly acceptable and this comes from someone who has had some blow-ups with family members at Christmas time.

I am wishing you a beautiful Christmas Day filled of love, respect and understanding.

Written by Nicole Ivens

Nicole Ivens is an experienced Professional Counsellor, Wellness Coach and EFT Practitioner.

Nicole helps women to reduce fear and anxiety and take back control of their life by kicking fear to the kerb and getting back in the driver’s seat of their life.

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/about

 

Thought

Are your thoughts betraying you?

What is a thought?

A thought is made up of words, words you have spoken and words you have heard.  Within your mind this then becomes a thought that can either be taken at its ‘word’ or be subject to assessment.

How often are your thoughts subject to assessment?  Do you just believe everything you think?

Your thoughts can be very convincing and feel very true, you can even convince yourself of things that once spoken out loud may seem outrageous?  This just shows how powerful your thoughts are and how they can betray you.

The thoughts that you think are reliant on the experiences that you have had and your level of self-confidence and self-esteem, look at the two following people and decide which one you can identify with.

Person A is walking down the street and sees a friend walking towards them, the friend is looking straight at them but then ducks into a shop without acknowledging person A.

Person A then thinks about this occurrence and starts to think wow that was rude, she didn’t even stop to say hello.  I wonder if I have done something?  Maybe I upset her in some way or said something inappropriate?  Person A then surmises that the friendship is over, if she can’t even be bothered to talk to me than I am done.

Person B is walking down the street and sees a friend walking towards them, the friend is looking straight at them but then ducks into a shop without acknowledging person B.

Person B then thinks how funny, she was looking straight at me and didn’t even see me.  I guess she was busy, I’ll call her later and we can laugh about her not even seeing me.

Person A suffers with low self-esteem and self-confidence and Person B has a healthy level of self-esteem and self-confidence.  Can you see how one situation can be interpreted completely differently depending on the experience of the person?

So, which person can you identify with?  Person A or Person B?

Thought

It can be very helpful to start to have an awareness around how your past experiences can be affecting your current experiences and the affect they may be having on your relationships.

Do you notice a pattern in your relationships and friendships?

Does the same thing tend to happen over and over again and you wonder why?  The reasoning is that your sub-conscious is always looking for past times when you have been in a similar situation to help you to know how to react.  Is this helpful?  Sometimes it can be but sometimes is can feel like a betrayal and you start to wonder what is wrong with you, why am I acting in this way?

So, how do you stop this from happening?

It is important to start to heal past experiences so they stop affecting your current situations and your sub-conscious allows you to respond to only the current situation with no baggage attached.

There are a number of ways to start to heal past hurts and experiences, my number 1 go to modality is EFT/Tapping.  It is such a quick and effective modality that will allow you to release the old patterns and behaviour.  New to EFT?  Learn more here.

Written by Nicole Ivens

Nicole Ivens is an experienced Professional Counsellor, Wellness Coach and EFT Practitioner.

Nicole helps women to reduce fear and anxiety and take back control of their life by kicking fear to the kerb and getting back in the driver’s seat of their life.

Learn more about Nicole www.nicoleivens.com/meetnicole