Life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes, life can feel overwhelming. And this is perfectly normal. We all have moments when we think that the relationship issues, the stress at work, and the global and emotional events are too much to handle. And all of this can cause anxiety. While for some people, this is something manageable and temporary, for others, it can feel paralyzing. Nevertheless, mornings are usually the worst, even if you only suffer from mild anxiety. The main reason for this is the spike in cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone) that takes place during the first hour after you wake up. So, here are our seven tips for coping with morning anxiety.
No. 1 Improving your sleep quality
The quality of your sleep has a significant impact on your mental health. Studies show that sleep problems can cause headaches, lack of concentration and energy, irritability, and anxiety. Therefore, improving your sleep quality is vital. Here are some ideas on how you can do that:
No. 2 Paying attention to your diet
Research shows that there is a direct link between diet and anxiety. Specifically, some of the things we eat can trigger or ease anxiety. Therefore, to cope with morning anxiety, you should pay attention to what you eat. Try to add more fruits, vegetables, and protein to your diet and avoid refined carbohydrates and saturated fats.
Caption: Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet is good for coping with morning anxiety.
Alt: A table full of fruits and vegetables.
Don’t forget about caffeine. Firstly, this is a very potent stimulant that can affect the quality of your sleep, which in turn can cause anxiety. Secondly, studies show that caffeine can intensify morning anxiety in people susceptible to this. Therefore, try to eliminate or reduce your caffeine intake.
No. 3 Exercising regularly
Exercising is good for your general health but also for coping with morning anxiety. This doesn’t mean you have to exercise right after you wake up - you can do it at any time during the day. And if you’re not a big fan of sports, you can take a walk. Anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes of walking outside will do wonders for your mood and can ease your anxiety.
Apart from the usual sports and physical exercises, you can also try meditation, yoga, and stretching. These relaxing practices can have a very soothing effect on you. So, it would help if you gave them a try.
Caption: For coping with morning anxiety, try some relaxing practices, like stretching.
Alt: A woman stretching on the floor of her apartment.
No. 4 Establishing a morning routine
When you feel like curling back in bed immediately after waking up, having a solid morning routine can help you get your morning anxiety under control. Plus, repeating the same activities every day can be very soothing. But don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be very complex. Just set a wake-up time and avoid pressing the snooze button. Then, your morning routine can include:
No. 5 Thinking positively
When you’re dealing with anxiety for some time, your brain can develop automatic negative thought patterns. Thus, the moment you wake up, your mind will automatically bombard you with negative thoughts. Therefore, you must drop those toxic thoughts. Of course, this is not an easy task. Still, you can create some positive affirmations to counteract the negative ones. For example, you can counteract the negative claim “I feel horrible today” with the more upbeat “Yes, I’m feeling anxious, but it’s not the first time, and I know I can manage it.”
No. 6 Getting support from your loved one is good for coping with morning anxiety
Family and friends are the most powerful weapon you have against anxiety. They are your rock whenever life feels overwhelming. So, it would help if you relied on them. Circumstances can always change, and some of your family members can move away. Don’t miss the chance to throw them a going-away party and gather with your loved ones, as that will help both you and them. And afterward, go visit them as often as you can. Maintaining good relationships will do wonders in helping you deal with anxiety.
No. 7 Seeking professional help
Sometimes, even if you apply all these coping mechanisms, it’s still not enough. When you’re suffering from an anxiety disorder, seeking professional help might be the best solution. So, if your morning anxiety is so bad that it affects your daily functioning, find a good therapist to help you get through it. And if therapy is not enough, there are other treatment options that mental health professionals can recommend. The important thing is to acknowledge the full extent of your anxiety and not be afraid or embarrassed to ask for help.
Life throws many things at us. Therefore, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed sometimes. And when this feeling persists, it leads to anxiety. While some people suffer from mild anxiety, others have a more challenging time dealing with it. But either way, you have to do something about it. Otherwise, it can affect all aspects of your life. So, use these seven tips for coping with morning anxiety. And remember, if you feel that it isn’t working, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.
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Even the most self-assured parent may fidget when it comes to discussing complex topics with their children. It's difficult enough to explain frequent family problems to our children, such as divorce or grief. However, it might feel impossible to put them into words when confronted with major world issues like violence, disasters, and inequality. Unfortunately, trauma affects children's lives regularly, no matter how hard parents attempt to keep "bad things" out of their lives. This is why you should talk to your kids about difficult topics instead of meaninglessly trying to protect them. Although it may appear hard, taking a proactive approach and discussing such things openly can help your child feel safer.
Plan ahead of time
The first step in having a difficult conversation is to outline what you want to talk about ahead of time. You must select a single issue to address rather than several. You might, for example, opt to speak to your children about death. When doing so, try to keep it concise and focused on this one topic. Do not move on to other subjects until your child has had time to comprehend what you've talked about.
Furthermore, think about the approach you want to take, the phrases you wish to use, and the general flow of the conversation. The wonderful thing about the art of parenting is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. So, once the conversation starts, feel free to adjust the plan and go with the flow.
Adjust how you talk to your kids about difficult topics based on their age and developmental stage
Because children absorb information differently as they grow from babies to teenagers, considering their age and developmental stage is always a good idea. Even something as every day as moving to a new home needs a different approach depending on how old your kids are. For example, youngsters may not understand what's happening and why, whereas teenagers will. Nevertheless, you must communicate about this openly with both groups of children, adapting your language as necessary. Understanding how children perceive the world at various stages of development can assist you in providing information in an age-appropriate manner. Of course, each child brings their own set of sensitivities, temperaments, experiences, and other unique characteristics to any discussion. Therefore, before you talk to your kids about difficult topics, determine how well they absorb information.
Make a safe and comfortable environment
It is essential that you, as a parent, create a safe and comfortable environment in which to conduct such discussions in both mental and physical ways. Be open to discussions and do not shy away from such subjects when your child approaches you. Likewise, make a comfortable space in your home where you can sit and chat about complex topics with few distractions. If your youngster catches you off guard with a sensitive subject while you're out and about, save the conversation for later when you get home. Acknowledge the subject or topic and convey your eagerness to talk about it when you are in a more appropriate environment. You must initiate the topic once you return home, and the trip back will give you just enough time to prepare.
Keep your emotions in check
Most of the time, you will be emotionally affected by some of these challenging topics or concerns, making it more challenging to support your child. For example, if you wish to talk to your child about your seasonal depression, you must remain honest about your feelings. On the other hand, it's also essential to avoid being overwhelmed or having a negative emotional outburst during these interactions. When talking with your children, you can demonstrate that even difficult feelings (like anger, fear, or sadness) may be communicated peacefully by staying composed. Therefore, take some time if you or your child need a break to comprehend and deal with your current feelings.
Be honest, answer and ask questions
It's pointless to have these conversations with your child if you feel you have to be dishonest. Of course, we recommend that you present the facts in simple terms that they can understand and leave out any gruesome or disturbing details that they will not benefit from hearing. If your child asks you what an "abuser" is when talking about violence, be honest but pick your words. Likewise, honestly but wisely respond to any questions they may have. However, be honest with them and admit that you don't have all the answers when it comes to these topics. To remedy this, you can do research together or (if your child is too young) research and get back to them with more information. Lastly, ask them questions and hear what they have to say.
Reassure them and give them support
At the end of the conversation, your children may have a lot of uneasy feelings after learning about the terrible aspects of the world around them. Soothe their fears and worries by telling them that they are loved and that you will do everything to keep them safe. As much as you wish to take away these feelings, it's vital to choose your words carefully and avoid phrases like:
Keep the conversation open
Remember that once your difficult conversation ends, it might not be over. Your children may come up with additional questions about the subject to learn more. And, if you did a good job of communicating with them, they'll know who to turn to for answers. Naturally, if you require more time to prepare an answer, let them know and approach them once you're ready. Overall, you must recognize that if you want to talk to your kids about difficult topics, you must engage in conversations with them that will only evolve as they develop.
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Dealing with conflict is rarely easy. This is particularly true when you are a kid. Sometimes kids do not have the needed emotional capacities to be patient in the face of frightening circumstances. This is only natural - children do not have enough life experience to tackle problems in a composed way. Some kids even use conflict to vent their repressed anger or sadness. Others might withdraw to themselves. However, it is vital to address problems your kid might encounter on time. Otherwise, they might adopt damaging coping mechanisms and behavioral patterns that might harm them and, ultimately, everyone around them. For this reason, we will help you understand the way to go about teaching kids how to deal with conflict in the right way.
On the one hand, your kid might be temperamental, making them inclined to react to provocation or disagreement in a brash way. On the other, your kid might be sensitive to criticism and attacks, thus impacting their self-confidence and social skills. Either way, there is a right and wrong way to deal with conflict. As a parent, it is your job to teach your child important skills. From teaching your kids how to steward their money to helping them resolve conflict in a healthy way, there’s plenty you can do to influence your child’s outlook on life.
Take note of the triggers that lead to conflict
First of all, both you and your kid need to understand that conflict is an inextricable part of day-to-day life. After all, being a part entails much more than just financial planning for the newest addition and purchasing baby supplies – it also requires some skills that all good parents need to posses. Knowing how to handle arguments, accusations, discussions, and fights is a skill worth learning. In most cases, your child’s reaction will signal deeper insecurities or struggles. What specific triggers make your kid lash out at your parents, siblings, or peers? Once you know what the actual source of the problem is, you will be one step closer to teaching kids how to deal with conflict.
One way to help your child deal with conflict is to ask about what they feel in situations that result in conflict. Do they feel ashamed, degraded, hurt, or angry? It is also important to pin down their thought processes in these situations. They might have been hurting because of something completely unrelated to the actual conflict in question.
Teaching kids how to deal with conflict is best done by setting a good example
Children are very impressionable, and they will tend to deal with stressful situations the same way they see you do it. As a parent, it is your responsibility to be a good role model to your child. Patience can be practiced, and being patient with and around your kid will set up a behavioral model the child can look up to.
For instance, moving away from home and family and settling in another environment usually makes kids feel anxious or sad. However, setting a good example and approaching the situation calmly will help them accept it. If they see that you are yelling, fuming, and lashing out at everyone that comes your way during the transition to a new home, they will probably feel stressed, insecure, and finally, grumpy and irritable.
Address your kid’s feelings through books, movies, drawing…
If your child refuses to discuss the situation openly, there are other ways to tap into their inner workings. A few good things that came out of the coronavirus pandemic which has had the world switch to working from home, the biggest one being that now you have more time to dedicate to your children and the activities they like. The following strategies are most suited to approaching younger children as they might not even be able to put to words what they feel.
Find a cartoon or book that your kid usually enjoys and focus on the situations and facial expressions. It could be Frozen or the Bible. If your kid is too impatient to read or focus on the screen, you can ask them to draw together. Ask your kid to draw what makes him happy, sad, and angry. Or, bring a chart of facial expressions in the form of a coloring book.
With these minor distractions, you will be able to ask your kid how they feel while doing something that they enjoy. When they are relaxed and engaged, kids tend to lower their defenses. Also, such meditative and attention-grabbing activities also help the child relax and control any feelings of guilt, shame, or anger about the situation. Make use of your kid’s creative impulses. They can tell you a lot about their feelings and the reasoning behind their actions and thoughts.
Once you manage to pull this to the surface, you can teach them how they should behave without sounding patronizing. Also, it is better to use role models and third-person pronouns to do this. For instance, you could say, ‘Isn’t’ Scar’s revenge on Mufasa wrong?’ rather than saying, ‘You cannot fight with your friends in daycare.’
Talk them through the problem
For some kids, understanding what they feel might not be an easy task. There are so many physiological and emotional triggers that make self-assessment challenging. For instance, once kids turn the age of 12, the hormonal changes in their bodies might obscure rational thought processes. Entering puberty is challenging for kids because they themselves do not understand the motivations and urges that make them react inadequately during the conflict. However, verbalizing emotions and thoughts will bring the child closer to understanding what makes them upset.
As a solution, you should try to express interest in your kid’s outer and inner life without passing judgment. Your child must know they can talk to you about the inner turmoil they might be feeling.
And this is not just because of the parent-child relationship. While creating a safe space where your kid feels they can talk to you about their problems is an important building block toward a healthy relationship, it is also crucial that your child gets in the habit of discussing their feelings and opinions. Bottling up can lead to serious emotional neglect and complications that might rob your child of important social skills. For this reason, an occasional honest, calm conversation with your child might go a long way when it comes to teaching kids how to deal with conflict.
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According to the National Institute of Mental Health, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a particular type of depression that surfaces during particular times of the year. Typically, SAD affects people during the late fall and winter seasons, though sometimes it can also be associated with the summer season as well.
Those suffering from major depression will understand that mental disorder far exceeds mere bouts of sadness, but instead reflects a deeper issue brought upon by physiological and environmental factors. If you or someone you know suffers from SAD, here’s a breakdown of the causes, symptoms and solutions for overcoming the disorder.
The onset of SAD favors the winter season for a variety of factors. While there is no known cause for the disorder, there are several plausible theories based on obtained physiological data. According to studies, people with SAD have an increased amount of a serotonin-recycling protein (SERT) during the winter months. Serotonin is a hormone that dictates mood and positivity. With increased SERT, serotonin is quickly recycled back into the neuron, preventing the hormone from dispersing properly and leading to depression.
Studies also have shown that those with SAD suffered from a vitamin D deficiency, which can be attributed to reduced sunlight. This study is corroborated by data showing the spike of SAD occurs in individuals who live further away from the equator, with 9 percent of those living in far-northern regions suffering from the disorder.
Symptoms of SAD
Those suffering from SAD experience many of the same symptoms of major depression. These may include low energy, lack of interest, problems sleeping, difficulty concentrating and feelings of hopelessness.
In addition to the symptoms common with depression disorders, those with SAD may experience hypersomnia, overeating and social withdrawal. Those who suffer from, or know someone who suffers from, any form of depression disorder should be alerted to the possibility of suicidal tendencies and be aware of the signs of someone who may be grappling with frequent thoughts of death.
Studies have shown that light therapy, or exposure to natural light, can be an effective treatment for the symptoms of SAD. Of course one could spend time outdoors, but the reduced daylight times and frequent overcast conditions of the winter season may not provide enough light. To address this situation, scientists have created a “light box” that more closely re-creates natural lighting needed for the body to produce vitamin D and decrease the amount of SERT in the body.
Adding some natural lighting inside your home could help reduce stress and create more positivity in your home. Try to make this a part of your cleaning and decluttering routine, both of which can also result in a more relaxing environment. Make the most of what natural light you do have by cutting back branches or removing trees that block sunlight from coming through your windows. Trees next to the home are usually dangerous to cut down yourself, so look for a “tree service near me” and find someone with a strong reputation to lend you a hand.
Bring more life into your home environment by adding greenery. Small plants such as succulents help recycle the air, creating a fresher environment and tricking the brain into thinking that it’s a warmer season by seeing green. The colors we are exposed to can have an effect on our mood.
Speaking of colors, consider applying a fresh coat of paint on a wall or redecorating a room with warm hues such as red and orange to evoke warm, positive feelings.
Those who experience SAD and major depression know the paralyzing effect of these symptoms. If you believe that you are suffering from any form of depression, you should seek help. Remember, the first step to overcoming any obstacle in your life is recognizing that there is a problem and then making a conscious effort to fix it.
Lucille Rosetti, guest contributor
email@example.com │The Bereaved
Photo Credit: Pixabay.com
For some, Christmas is not the time to be jolly.
For some people, this Christmas will be filled with sad
memories of someone close who is no longer here.
Facing your first Christmas without someone you love can be a very lonely and daunting time.
There may be expectations that you will put up the Christmas tree, send out greeting cards, go out
Christmas shopping and join family and friends for Christmas dinner...especially because others want
to see you coping and moving on.
But when you’re grieving this can be really difficult. You may have no inclination or energy to
‘pretend’ that you are looking forward to Christmas when in truth you wish things were the way they
were last year - when you were still together with your loved one.
On the other hand, some people want to handle Christmas time by doing things in the same way
as always - not changing anything and keeping to the same routines and family rituals. Keeping to
the familiar gives them comfort. Allow yourself to have fun. It doesn't mean you've forgotten the
person or that your grief for them is over.
When you’re grieving, everyone handles their emotions and reactions differently. Here are
three tips if you’re facing the dilemma of how to handle this Christmas:
1. Give yourself permission not to do the things that you’re finding hard to do - writing Christmas
cards, putting up the tree, going to Christmas parties - it’s alright to let these go this year or
next, until you can cope with social events again.
2. Make a point of remembering your loved one in a special way - light a candle for them on
Christmas Day, place an ornament on the Christmas tree to symbolize them, buy a gift for a
needy child or family in place of the gift you would have bought.
3. Allow yourself to grieve - the days leading up to Christmas (and other significant days on the
calendar) can heighten your grief. Seeing other couples and families together just hurts.
Seeing the empty place at the Christmas table will be hard to bear. It’s alright to cry and let
people know that it’s hard living without someone special. Try not to bottle up your feelings.
Now’s the time to tell a close friend that you’re struggling to put on a happy face and that
you'd appreciate their company or simply their listening ear for support.
And if you know someone who is grieving this Christmas, give them a call, write them a special
card, invite them over for a quiet get together, speak up and acknowledge their loss, and have the
courage to mention the name of their loved one … and let them know that you understand that it may
be a hard time for them because it’s Christmas… and there are memory triggers everywhere of a
missing face, an empty chair and silent thoughts of the way Christmas used to be.
Doris Zagdanski is a leading figure in modern day grief and loss education. Her seminars are included in vocational qualifications in Allied Health, Counselling and Funeral Directing. Her books and free factsheets are available at www.allaboutgrief.com and at https://www.mygriefassist.com.au/
I have 2 sons who are transitioning to Middle School. This an exciting and anxiety provoking time for me as a parent. If that is the case for me, I’m sure my boys are also anxiously anticipating the transition. The following tips and suggestions are things that I find to be helpful and informative as a parent to both an amazing child with Autism and an amazing neurotypical child. Did I say my sons are AMAZING!?
Below are 10 tips on helping a child with Autism transition to Middle School. Followed by general suggestions for preparing the student, the parent, and the academic support team for the transition:
Now would be a good time to mention, of course we hope that all teachers would read the IEP in an effort to familiarize themselves with your student. But this is Middle School. This means several different classes, different teachers with different teaching styles and they may not see the SDI if they don’t read the IEP.
It would be a good idea for you to shoot the teacher a quick email summarizing your child’s strengths and weaknesses, SDI’s, and any other special information you think is important, to share about your child. I always say “It is better to lead with your strengths rather than letting others discover your deficiencies”. Provide the teacher with a “cheat sheet” to understanding your student.
When my son was in 3rd grade we added the computer lab on his school’s campus to his list of SDI’s where he could go daily and use a software program that helped him with writing, sentence completion, comprehension and grammar. He was already strong in English but writing was an issue due to difficulties with fine motor skills. He responded to the program brilliantly and now is much better at writing and taking notes.
After school programs are an opportunity for your student to do something fun and create relationships with others based on common interests, develop a positive association with school, and feel good about themselves! Win Win Win!
A few General tips
Over the Summer:
The following are a few things you and your child can do to prepare over the summer
With the School :
As a parent I truly hope that all of the above tips help you and your student(s) get your “Transition Mission” accomplished. I am praying on behalf of my family and yours that Middle School be an awesome, cultivating, learning, challenging, inspiring, fun experience for our children!
Sources: Vicker, B (2003), AAutisminRealLife.com
image from: Indian Grove Elementary School
It’s summer time!! I know that kids get extremely excited to be out of school for the summer. It’s finally time to relax and NO homework or tests. They’re finally FREE!!! That last day of school before summer vacation is a day they have been finally waiting for. No more having to listen to teachers telling them to pay attention, look towards the front of the class, sit still, stop all the chattering, or being picked on to answer a question when they feel unprepared. They are in the best mood ever on that day and you all go out and celebrate the end of another successful school year.
Now that you have your kids for 2 ½ months, what are you planning to do with them? I remember when my kids were younger, I would have mixed feelings about summer vacation. On one hand, it was great not having to wake up early in the morning, make them breakfast, and pack their lunch. However, on the other hand, I knew that it became my job to keep them entertained. How was I going to fill up 10 weeks and make sure to keep them happy and at the same time, keep my sanity. In the first few weeks, I took my kids to the community pool and beach. That idea worked for a while, but soon we all became burned out from the sun and water.
We still had many weeks ahead of us to fill up before school started up again. What was I going to do? Well, I admit that there were many days that I couldn’t come up with anything and they were bored sitting at home. All I heard some days was, “Mom, we’re bored?” Does that sound relaxing to anyone? Hence, I have listed several ideas to fill those days that they are driving you over the edge…
If you feel that your kids are getting burned out from the activities you have scheduled, change your course and let them relax. It’s imperative to provide a balance for your kids during their time off from school and allow some unstructured time to play and encourage creativity. According to educators, they believe that downtime helps kids’ minds relax and function better when school is back in session.
Remember, if you get frustrated with your children during these summer months, the best way they can express their thoughts and feelings is through their play. Research studies indicate that children use play as their language and toys as their words.
Written by Susie Ibrahim, M.A., Registered Associate Marriage & Family Therapist
Susie currently sees clients in Orange, CA
The material contained in this newsletter has been prepared by an independent third-party provider. The information in this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical or psychological conditions or diseases. The statements in this website have not been evaluated by the American Psychological Association or any other mental health organization or financial organization.
The information provided in this website is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician, other mental health care professional, or financial advisor. You should not use the information in this website for diagnosis or treatment of any health, mental health problem, prescription of any medication or other treatment, or financial advice.
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I think the wedding dress is a much misunderstood article of clothing. When I have premarital couples in my practice for their handful of counseling sessions before they tie the knot, this is often a significant topic of discussion. It means soooo much to the bride that her dress is absolutely perfect, not overstated, but certainly not upstaged by anything else at the wedding....often times including God.
“For the Holy Spirit knows that a thing has only such meaning and value for a man as he assigns to it in his thoughts.” – Martin Luther
Every thought (positive or negative) leads you to action (behavior). No act is done without first having a
thought. Our first example of this concept is found in Genesis 1. We find that God created the heavens and the earth, but it had no form. We can conclude that as God’s Spirit hovered over the surface, He was thinking about His master plan. Then He spoke, “Let there be light,” which resulted in action – “and there was light.”
Here, God is showing us that He doesn't just do things, but He thinks about them. He plans them out. He doesn't just react out of nowhere.
Have you ever considered how your thoughts are impacting what you do or how you feel? It all starts in your mind. Thoughts impact your life; they affect your attitudes, your fears and worries, how you speak to others and yourself, your outlook of life, how you behave with others, and how you feel.
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