Archive for Stress

5 Strategies to a Smooth Transition

Posted on General, Parenting, Stress May 31, 2019 by Mary George

A less anxiety-ridden adjustment to College

Stress and anxiety can be paralyzing and an emotional roller coaster especially for our teenagers as they make the leap to college. For many it is the first time that they have left home and are no longer under the watchful eye of an adult. They immediately have quite a significant amount of responsibility put upon them coupled with no longer having day to day interactions with their friends that have supported them throughout their high school years. To help combat the stress and anxiety that they will feel, here are 5 strategies to help them make a smooth, less anxiety-ridden adjustment to college life. These are wonderful points of discussion to sit down and go through with your young adult.

1.Know your academic strengths and unique qualities

Remember who you are and your unique qualities and talents that make you special. Take those with you and embrace them as you gain more independence. If it is helpful, write them down and put it in a place that you will see and read everyday as a reminder to yourself. 

Knowing where your academic strengths lie and choosing classes in these areas will help as you are initially getting used to a new place, schedule, and managing your time. Do you prefer to write papers or take multiple choice tests? Check the requirements of specific classes to help guide you. Maybe you are not a morning person – think before deciding to take an 8 am class.

2. Trust your inner voice  

While you have been maturing and trusting who you are as a leader in your high school, the uncertainty of a new setting and new life can make you question your confidence and the decisions that you make. Remember your special inner voice that has guided you and will continue to guide if you listen carefully. 

3. Do not repeat previous mistakes

Throughout your high school years there have been many times that you have made mistakes – waited until the 11th hour to study for an exam or had a lofty goal to get involved in 4 clubs which spread you too thin. Reflect on these times, think about what your needs are to create balance and put into place strategies and set realistic goals that will lessen your stress. 

4. Know who you can call

Think about the amazing friends that have supported you along your journey. They will still be there for you. You can live in different places, experience different things but you can come back together and the foundation of your friendship will still there. 

Trusted friends who can be supportive are incredibly important not only throughout your life but as you transition into college. Know who you can call, Facetime, and/or talk to whenever you need someone. Ask for help. As you move on there will be situations that arise in which you will feel lost. Remember that it is okay to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of intelligence. Ask for it, you are not alone. Failure will occur, you are living and learning, it is a part of life. Grow from the experience and forgive yourself. 

5. Remain positive and be open to new possibilities

College is a time to explore and learn about different people, ideas, and subjects. Staying positive about your experience and being open to new possibilities can lead you to a passion that you may never have known about.  Getting involved in clubs or groups are a wonderful way to meet others that may share similar interests. 

Again knowing who you are, what you are capable of, and listening to your inner voice will keep you moving in the right direction and help you make positive decisions as you move on to college. 

—Mary & Claire

**My Remarkable Self is available to give private workshops, school/camp workshops/assemblies and classes for parents, students, educators and businesses. Please contact us at info@myremarkableself.com for further information.**

Stress & Anxiety – Our Children’s Mental Health

Posted on Feelings, General, Stress April 30, 2019 by Mary George

Today, our children face more stress and anxiety than ever before. According to the 2018 Children’s Mental Health Report, by the Child Mind Institute, 

  • ​* Anxiety disorders are the most common disorders of childhood and adolescence, affecting 30% of young people at some point before the age of 18.
  • * In the past 10 years, there has been increasing recognition of anxiety in young people by health care providers, including a 17% increase in anxiety disorder diagnosis.
  • * Untreated anxiety disorders are linked to depression, school failure and a two-fold increase in risk for substance use disorder.

It is important that as parents we learn how to talk with them about what they are feeling and why, and how to best handle it. Below, we have put together a few tips & tools to help you guide your child and adolescent through life’s pressures. 

1. Confront stress & learn to manage it
When your adolescent is in the middle of a meltdown is not the best time to offer help. Once they have calmed down, talk with your child about what was causing their distress. Have them ask themselves the questions:”Why am I anxious?” “What is the source?” Being able to identify the cause and name the feelings that were occurring during their meltdown will help put your child back in control of the anxiety that overwhelmed them. Then discuss with them a plan that they can put into place when this situation arises again. 

2. Respect their feelings of fear without empowering them
One of my children got anxious every time we went to the doctor because she feared getting a shot. Many times my response was, “You will feel it for less than a second. It is just a quick prick. No big deal.” But it was a big deal – to her. So after some research, I learned to listen and empathize with her about her feelings and helped her understand what she was anxious about.This helped to validate her feelings but not amplify them. 

3. Think through things & have a plan 
Many times anxiety can can be caused by the great unknown or the “what ifs.” “What will happen if I fail my math test?” “What if I cannot find anyone to sit with at lunch on my first day of school?” What if I miss the bus?” Talking with your child about their “what ifs” and making a plan together can put the situation into perspective. For example, if your child misses the bus, they walk home and you drive them to school. If they are late then you walk them into school and sign them in. Taking the time to discuss these situations can help them gain a sense of control over their stress.

4. Avoid avoidance
Helping a child avoid what causes them stress in the short term may make them feel better, but in the long term it feeds the anxiety and fear making it worse the next time the situation arises. Take baby steps towards what they perceive as the threat. If your child is afraid of dogs, start by looking a pictures of dogs, then move to standing at the edge of a dog park and watching them. When your child is comfortable, find a friend’s dog that you know is good with children, and you pet the dog followed by your child petting the dog when they are ready. 

5. Breathe
I recently learned in Lisa Damour’s book, Under Pressure, that there is an actual science behind why breathing calms us and our anxiety. She shares that when we are anxious our breathing becomes shallow and our brain senses that we are suffocating and tells the brain that our body needs to start freaking out. When we deliberately deepen and slow our breathing our lungs send a message to the brain that all is well and then calms the nervous system. One easy exercise to use with children, especially in situations of test anxiety, is “Five Finger Breathing.” Have them open one of their hands and trace each finger with their other pointer finger, breathing in as they trace the finger up, and breathing out as they trace the finger down. Depending on the child, they can do it as many times as they need. 

—Mary & Claire

**My Remarkable Self is available to give private workshops, school/camp workshops/assemblies and classes for parents, students, educators and businesses. Please contact us at info@myremarkableself.com for further information.**