How would you FEEL if you were able to TAKE CONTROL of your ANXIETY?
What about if you could prevent it from affecting your family too?
If you’re a mother suffering with anxiety, it can sometimes feel a lot like riding too fast on a spinning carousel at an amusement park.
It takes hold of a particular thought or fear you have and spins on it non-bloody-stop making you feel FRUSTRATED, EXHAUSTED and even OUT OF YOUR CONTROL.
There’s a few things you can do that may benefit you and help when you’re around your children and here’s MY TOP 4 BEST TIPS:-
1. NAME IT
If you’re stressed or anxious about making a phone call or going somewhere new, say so out loud. Naming your feelings can reduce the strength of the feeling and make you feel more in control. It also opens the door for you to talk about your feelings openly and that’s good for your kids to see. They’ll know it’s okay to talk about it with you if they feel anxious too.
When you feel anxious or stressed, can you feel yourself reacting instead of responding…you know like going from 0-60 in an instant and exploding at the nearest person to you? Don’t worry…we all do it, but try to be aware of that rising feeling and PAUSE, take a deep breath, and think about what you want to say and how you want to say it before you respond.
Sounds SO easy right but it’s not to begin with…it takes practice, but you’ll feel really proud of yourself for taking control when you do this and it allows you to RESPOND in a more purposeful way. Modelling how to be LESS REACTIVE will help both you and your children to communicate better and that means HAPPY MOTHER = HAPPY KIDS
3. ASK FOR HELP
This tip might seem bloody obvious, but reaching out for help isn’t always easy. When you’re feeling stressed, you might judge yourself and you can feel a strong sense of guilt wash over you. It’s THAT combined guilt and stress feeling that can make it hard for you to reach out for help. Talk with a close friend or a close family member you feel comfortable with. Opening up IS not you admitting you’re a failure…that is ANXIETY LYING TO YOU!! Asking for help will give you a chance to reset and recharge your anxious brain and KICK that anxiety OUT! By doing this, your kids will also learn to ask for help when they’re feeling anxious.
4. WRITE IT DOWN
When your mind is just full of too much ‘stuff’ whirring around, the anxiety you’re experiencing creates a story in your head. Sounds weird, but first, try to figure out the words the anxiety is using to scare you. Perhaps they’re saying “don’t bother applying for that job, they’ll never say yes.” Or “if you got to the gym class, you’ll be the biggest person there.” Just write down those words, then see if there’s any deeper message underneath it. If you’re afraid of applying for a job, there could there be a fear underneath that such as “no one ever likes me”? Does anxiety about going to a gym class also include the larger worry that “I care what strangers think about me”? When you uncover these real messages, you can sometimes see that it’s exaggerated, but devastating to you.
ANXIETY creates a huge generalisation AND IT LIES TO YOU.
If you think your kids maybe showing the early signs of anxiety like mine did, you can do this with them too. My eldest daughter, Drew, is 12 years old. She showed signs of anxiety from about the age of 7 which is about the time I was suffering from post-natal depression and it came out in different forms.
For Drew, she had vocal and facial ticks, but these are getting less and less now because together we follow the tips above. Not only has it helped ME to take control but I’m pleased that rather than me feeling like I’ve passed on this anxiety gene to Drew, I feel like I’m teaching her to prevent anxiety from taking over her life, like it did mine at one point.