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anxiety Archives - A Step at a Time

Growing resilience in families….

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, mental health, sadness, self-belief, self-esteem, Stress, worries | No Comments

Resilience describes our ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure and challenges. However, it is often misunderstood that failure is not something we are born with, or something that some people have and others do not. Rather, resilience is something that we develop, grow and foster over time and with support and guidance. So what are the benefits of resilience? Resilience allows us: Better manage stress and worries Te able to overcome obstacles To look for solutions and opportunities To navigate challenging situations Cope with rejection Process and move past failure See the lessons and opportunities in life’s lessons Without resilience children can experience: Higher stress levels or chronic stress Feeling overwhelmed Dwelling on problems Increased anxiety A feeling of rejection or feeling like a victim Feelings of disappointment A sense of failure if things do not go to plan Setbacks feel permanent Risks of depression, insomnia Risks of…

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Does your child fall apart when they get home from school?

Posted by | anger, anxiety, Children's Therapy, mental health, sadness, Stress, trauma, worries | No Comments

Does your child walk in the door after school and….. Explode? Fall apart? Lose the plot? Struggle to cope? Become distresses? Restraint Collapse is a term developed by Andrea Loewen Nair, a parenting educator. It is used to describe children who bottle up their feelings and anxieties all day, doing all they can to hold themselves together to fit in and be the same as everyone else, to then come home to their safe place and release everything. The challenge of holding in their emotional needs leaves them feeling emotionally, intellectually and physically exhausted and the entry into a safe space allows them permission to release these, often quickly and with overwhelming speed. What can it look like: Parents may see their child: Cry Scream Become angry Throw things Fly off the handle Be rude or disrespectful Being out of control Fatigued Your child being inconsolable Does it affect all…

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Signs a child is struggling with health anxiety

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, Children's Therapy, emotional eating, health anxiety, mental health, sensitive children, worries | No Comments

Health anxiety is described as when an individual spends too much time worrying: That they are ill That they could be getting ill Whilst a certain level of concern is completely normal if we have symptoms of illness, health anxiety can begin to take over life. Health anxiety is often obsessive and irrational and individuals who experience it can misinterpret normal sensations in the body as being indicators of serious illness. What causes health anxiety? The actual cause of health anxiety is not well understood. However, the concept of anxiety is created when our body perceives a stress or challenge. In this situation, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline which creates the ‘fight – flight –freeze – faint’ response in the body. This creates a number of physical and emotional feelings in the body which warn us that there may be a potential threat of danger or risk. However,…

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Does your child feel overwhelmed?

Posted by | anger, anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, Stress, trauma | No Comments

What is it? When a child feels emotionally overwhelmed it means that they feel smothered by their thoughts or emotions to the point that they feel that they cannot function. Overwhelm is an intense emotion and causes a flood of emotions and stress in the body. It can create a fight-flight-freeze-faint response which can cause a great deal of fear in children.   What causes it? Overwhelm is caused by a number of different issues. These frequently create heightened stress and sense of being out of control or things happening ‘to’ us. Including: Stress Sleep deprivation Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event Challenging life issues Changes which cause extreme stress Bereavement History of trauma Transitions e.g. moving house, a new sibling, new school Being overloaded – committing to too much Overscheduling time Overcommitting to events, jobs or deadlines Situations where we feel controlled by others / events Underlying medical conditions…

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My child’s symptoms – which resources can I use?

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, books, Children's Therapy, confidence, low mood, sadness, self-belief, self-esteem, Stress, well-being, worries | No Comments

Navigating resources, home support and therapy can be a bit of a minefield. Which is why I put together these flow charts to give you a helping hand and direct you to the resources that you can access to help them! Please note – these flow charts do not provide or replace medical advice, if you have a concern about your child seeking support from your GP or health visitor should always be your first priority. Find the resources: ANGER & EXPLOSIVE FEELINGS  Brian and the Shaky Paws- https://bit.ly/ShakyPaws5 FREE Relaxation Audio – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/57433-Childrens-FREE-Relaxation-Audio SADNESS & UPSET  Brian and the Troubling Thoughts – http://bit.ly/Troubling5  AUDIO – Releasing fears and worries – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/63359-CHILD-AUDIO-NEW-Fears-and-Worries WORRIES & ANXIETY  Brian and the Scary Moment – http://bit.ly/ScaryMoment  Brian and the Funny Feeling – http://bit.ly/Funny-Feeling  AUDIO – CHILD ANXIETY – https://astepatatime.simplero.com/products/114143-CHILD-AUDIO-NEW-Child-Anxiety-Audio    Find the resources – CONFIDENCE & SELFESTEEM Brian and the Proud Feeling – http://bit.ly/ProudFeeling …

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6 ways to help a child who worries

Posted by | anxiety, child therapy, confidence, sadness, sensitive children, Stress, worries | No Comments

When children struggle with worries it can feel impossible to know what to do for the best, do we talk about the worries? Is talking about them making them worst? Is there a risk of talking about them too much? Too little? Whilst worries are completely normal, when they become excessive, or a child is worrying about ‘what if’ or worst case scenarios then it can begin to encroach on every aspect of life. So, whilst we may not want to give them too much attention, they cannot be ignored either. What causes worries? Worries are created when our body perceives a stress or challenge. In this situation, our body releases a hormone called adrenaline which creates the ‘fight – flight –freeze – faint’ response in the body. This creates a number of physical and emotional feelings in the body which warn us that there may be a potential threat…

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Supporting Children with Sad Feelings

Posted by | anger, anxiety, child therapy, depression, loss, sadness, sensitive children, well-being | No Comments

When children feel sad it can be heart-breaking for parents, sadness is a huge emotion and quickly starts to fill up whole days and affect many aspects of life. When a child feels sad it can quickly make adults feel helpless or frustrated that they cannot make it right. However, sadness is a normal emotion and we will all experience it at times in life. So how can we support it? What does sadness look like? Struggling to find happy feelings Feeling tired or have no energy Not wanting to have fun / do things they previously enjoyed Expressing that they are disappointed in things Feeling that they are missing something or someone Complaining of feeling a bit gloomy or low or empty Being frequently tearful or expressing that they want to cry Changes in food intake Changes in sleep patterns Irritable or angry Complaining that everything is ‘hard’ Feeling…

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Bedtime, sleep and children

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anxiety, child therapy, sensitive children, separation anxiety, sleep | No Comments

One of the greatest issues that I ever speak to parents about is bedtime and sleep… Whether it is: Difficulties getting to sleep Difficulties staying asleep Restlessness at bedtime Nightmares Night terrors Separation anxiety We all know how it feels when we have not had enough sleep… and when children do not get enough sleep the impact can affect the day or the days surrounding it.   So why do we need sleep? Sleep is an incredibly important function, for both our body and our minds. Sleep is needed for: Healing the body Repair of the body organs, muscles and bones Reduces inflammation in the body Reduces stress Increases concentration and focus Improves memory Improves problem solving Improves performance (intellectual and physical)   How much do children need? So how much sleep do children need? Great Ormond Street Hospital released the following guidance on sleep: Infants 4-12 months – 12…

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How do we grow children’s self-esteem?

Posted by | anxiety, Children's Therapy, confidence, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

Self-esteem is a word that we throw around frequently, but do we really recognise the impact of self-esteem in our child’s life? Do we see the impact of self-esteem on their lives? Or perhaps you’ve started to look at your child in comparison to their peers and begun to worry about how they are feeling about themselves? So, let’s start at the beginning….   What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the value we place on our own worth. It is the opinion we have of ourselves. The way we view our worth in the world. It can be positive or negative, and the level of our self-esteem impacts the way that we see the world and the events that occur in our lives.   What does positive (or high) self-esteem look like? Positive self-esteem can look like: Being able to recognise our strengths Being able to recognise our achievements Feeling positive…

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Why we can’t hide from the dangers of social media…

Posted by | anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, computer games, depression, gaming, mental health, school, screen time, social media, Teenagers | No Comments

Every week in my office I see trends and patterns of issues that are occurring in the wider world, particularly those affecting children and teenagers. These act as great insights to my work, and allow me to then set about increasing the information, resources and targeted support that I offer to parents – you thought all these blogs were random? Not a chance…….every week there is a theme from the challenges facing parents, children and local contacts such as schools, local authorities and tutors etc. What’s occurring?  Since lockdown, social media has increased it’s agenda in my world. Whilst it was a fantastic commodity during the craziness of full lockdown, it comes with it’s own dangers and perils, often: under the radar out of parent sight not discussed causing high levels of distress Which ever is your poison, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest or Snap Chat, they all have…

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Why we need to ensure our teens are not ‘too’ busy

Posted by | anxiety, body-image, boredom, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-belief, Stress, Teenagers | No Comments

How busy is too busy?  How quiet is too quiet?  Something that I have noticed in my time as a child and teen therapist, is the far reaching extremes that can occur in children and teen’s diaries and the trends that then occur in mental health. The issues that often arise are either:  teens whose diaries are too quiet and have no focus, leading to isolation, to teens whose diaries are so busy they leave little/no time for downtime and lead to overwhelm Careful monitoring therefore becomes paramount to helping strike a careful balance. As the world operates 24/7, our diaries become filled with back to back events, commitments and social situations. However, for a child this can quickly make their world feel overwhelming and out of control. Their inbuilt desire to meet expectations can often mean that they will push through these emotions and the first indicator we see…

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Flatten the mental health curve at home!

Posted by | anger, anxiety, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, low mood, mental health, self-esteem, sensitive children, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As we exit lockdown and resume a semblance of normality mental health has become the buzz word of the moment. But, how do we ensure that we are actually planning for mental health and not just playing lip service to the current trending terminology? Mental health describes a child or adolescent who has a positive sense of self and their abilities, a child with good mental health has good coping mechanisms to manage everyday stressors. Mental health can be seen as a continuum, moving between mental health and mental ill-health. We all have mental health, and as such, we will have times in life when it may be better or we may struggle. For those who regularly read my blogs, you will have seen the timelines I released early on in lockdown predicting times and areas when we need to be aware of our family’s stressors and also key events which…

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Top Tips for Back to School!

Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, mental health, school, self-esteem, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress | No Comments

As the world prepares for the return to school, parents up and down the country are getting the uniforms ready, purchasing new school shoes and packing lunch boxes…. But what else do we need to consider to prepare our children for a successful return to school? Get organised Double check school lists and requirements Make a shopping list and do it in one hit to reduce stress Wash uniform a few times to soften it up Plan a packed lunch menu so prepping is simple Practice putting uniform on and moving around to adjust Practice the walk to school to open conversation Prep everything you can the night before so the morning is less stressful   Get consistent Start getting up earlier in the week leading up to school to lessen the shock Start going to bed at ‘school times’ to adjust body clocks Create a morning ‘school’ routine and…

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Why treating mental health is like peeling an onion

Posted by | anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, Children's Therapy, confidence, depression, mental health, parent separation, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

Mental health, and the treatment of it, causes so many families chaos, confusion and frustration. Accessing support can be difficult and in some cases impossible, and when support is accessed the expectations can differ from the outcomes. When working with clients, I frequently talk about mental health being an onion. Onions have layers and layers that you can peel back.  Some mental health issues are isolated, and therefore can be stripped in one go, therefore only requiring 1-2 sessions. Other mental health issues have developed over months, years, have multiple affects and triggers and therefore require us to strip off more layers to return to positive well-being – therefore requiring multiple sessions over a period of weeks or years. In some cases, clients will have attempted a number of therapies for only 1-2 sessions and when not finding an immediate cure give up and move to the next therapy. Others,…

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Posted by | Adventures of Brian, anger, anxiety, bereavement, boredom, child therapy, confidence, depression, disordered eating, grief, mental health, self-belief, self-esteem, self-image, sensitive children, separation anxiety, Stress, Teenagers, trauma | No Comments

As lockdown eases in some places, and starts round two in others, the world feels like a strange place to navigate. For the many parents that I am speaking to on a daily basis, the concern for child and adolescent mental health grows. The uncertainty of the world, the disruptions to education and the distortions to social lives, for many, has created a wealth of mental health issues, ranging from low level to crisis. But, as a parent, what do you need to be looking for? And at which point should you be stepping in and looking for help?   Signs and symptoms: Seeing signs of mental ill-health as warning flags is a great way to keep things in check. I frequently work with children who, in the face of adversity, coped like a trooper. However, in the months/years after, then began to struggle. Because life had resumed to a…

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