Take a deep breath
Pit of doom in my belly.
Shoulders fold inward as my neck and back roll down into hunched over mode.
It all happens in a matter of seconds….and feels like time is standing still.
Every cell in my body deflates, my breath is shallow, and my head pounds as I clench my jaw.
In slow motion I turn the phone to look at the number.
Huge sigh of relief…
Panic sets further in as I answer…
I spent years waiting, day in and day out, for “the other shoe to drop.” *
*I just learned where this expression comes from! It dates back to the late 19th and early 20th century in New York City. In the tenement buildings the floors were so thin and you could hear your upstairs neighbor take off their shoe and drop it. Then repeat the action. It became shorthand for waiting for something that was inevitably coming.
Pains me to write this and recall the fear and constriction in my body even though it’s been over a year since I’ve responded to my phone ringing in this way.
Grateful to have cultivated the resilience and mindset to shift myself from this detrimental pattern.
For me, back then, it was the school calling or the police. Though it was really the constant state of fear I was stuck in that was the challenge.
I was freed up by releasing the paralysis of fear, opening my window of tolerance, and accepting that stressful calls come, AND that I don’t need to be suffocated by the grip of waiting for them to arrive.
I hear from many of you that are exhausted...caught up in this cycle of fear.
Mama, you are the only one that can make it stop.
You and your reaction/response are the only control you have.
You can break the pattern.
Reach out for a free 15 minute coaching call. I'm here to help you.
You can also join resilientAF midlife mamas on Facebook
Heart pounding, hands sweaty, jaw tension...it all kicked in whenever I would recall a specific memory of a traumatic event with my child.
And that memory would sometimes be triggered at the most inopportune moments.
Gaining freedom from this intense reaction changed my path.
It was the defining moment of realizing I needed to bring this work to others and share one of the best tools I have in my toolbox.
Our memories are more than just images, they are made up of thoughts, feelings, and body (and other) sensations.
We hold onto them for the purpose of learning and survival. Yet, we don’t need them to have a stronghold on us.
Our sense of smell is the only inroad to the limbic system where we store our memories and we are able to tap into it with the support of essential oils and reconsolidate the way the memories are stored.
Gently going through the steps of an Aroma Freedom session gifted me the ability to now recall the memory without the negativity or miserable physical responses.
It's opened up the doors for me to create new pathways for more positive perspectives and directions related to the memory.
How could I not learn how to help others be free!?
And support them in creating goals and intentions for their future!
60 seconds...the most dynamic simple process can be done in 60 seconds to flip the switch on that part of your brain that sends you into “fight, flight or freeze”
How helpful would that be for you or your teens!!?
Mamas, we need tools in our tool boxes!
Tools we can use on the spot and tools to help clear past messes and pave the way for future possibilities.
Let’s chat about how I can support you. I offer free 15 minute consults so you can ask all the questions!
Sign up HERE to get all the info and take the opportunity to schedule time with me!
Also, join my resilientAf midlife mamas Facebook group for more mama tools and occasional free group Aroma Freedom sessions.
Impulsivity is a HOT TOPIC!
Inhibition is the executive function skill that allows one to stop their behavior, actions, and/or thoughts at the appropriate time. Impulsivity is the lack of inhibition.
That's all it means! So what does this look like?
not following directions
inconsistent performance on tasks
touching things... other people's things.. other people
restlessness or other active behaviors
difficulty turn-taking and waiting
Let’s talk strategy!
Teach them to take a breath, pause, process- even just a few seconds before responding.
Process time is so important for building this skill.
This is for those that are raising their hands before the question has been asked, or responding before communication is completed.
I love this traffic light graphic for teaching this concept.
Taking the time to verbalize the questions and create a plan is incredibly powerful.
For teens, impulsivity can have significant consequences, learning this skill to apply everywhere in their lives is critical.
Provide visual options such as a text, a note, posting on the wall, or writing on the board. Visually processing can slow down the impulsivity. Provide clear expectations and reminders.
It also helps support working memory, planning and organization.
As parents (and/or teachers) we don’t want to hover!
That said, for some students it's helpful to have someone nearby. For example, with remote schooling right now, I hear many parents concerned about limited focus and attention, which leads to impulsive behaviors.
Co-working can be highly supportive. The student is on the computer doing their classes and the parent is in the same room on the computer doing their work.
In a classroom students can be strategically placed in the front row and/or they may have an aide or a resource room teacher in the classroom.
Monitoring isn’t about squashing the behaviors, it’s about redirecting the energy.
When my kids were younger I learned about the importance of focusing on their positive behaviors. Admittedly, this has been one of my biggest struggles. This is where my impulsivity appeared...the negative behaviors always seemed to be illuminated and right in front of my face.
When we seek, focus and acknowledge the positive behaviors we are also helping build inhibition.
Emotional regulation is a sensitive topic for me.
As a pediatric speech language pathologist, I knew about executive function. I worked with younger kids so I wasn’t as tuned into it for the older kids. I also didn’t fully understand the emotional regulation behavioral component.
While in the thick of raising my kids I didn’t acknowledge and comprehend how our nervous systems co-regulate.
Lots of stuff I didn’t know that I didn’t know!
I’ve done the emotional work to release myself from the guilt of not knowing, of not doing better or different. I chose to educate myself and share with others, so other families might escape the trauma.
Emotional regulation is when it's difficult to redirect and refocus when there's a lack of emotional control. This is when we see meltdowns, tantrums, cursing, extreme crying or extreme laughter. Typically unpredictable emotional responses that are out of sync with the situation at hand.
Emotional regulation also involves co-regulation so if a parent is struggling with their own emotional regulation then they feed off of each other. For example, if Mom is really stressed out then the kid gets really stressed out. These kids are not able to not take in what is happening in their environment. Basically our nervous systems are bouncing off of each other and it's a chicken and egg thing.
One way to explain the emotional regulation is polyvagal theory as shown in this image:
Another take on it is the “window of tolerance” as in this image:
Five strategies that can be used to support teens at home and at school:
Supporting them in being aware of their outbursts and the consequences of having them on their surroundings.
Being aware of stressful situations at home and/or in school.
Clarifying expectations to reduce their feelings of overwhelm.
Creating a safe and supportive environment that fosters empathy.
Using scales to help them monitor where they are emotionally or may be heading as things escalate.
We can all widen our window of tolerance by practicing mindfulness, increasing happiness, and building resilience.
**so much more on this topic coming soon!