I am hearing more and more accounts of college aged students who don’t know how to feel comfortable with discomfort. They can't navigate emotions, flexibly think, and to tap into resiliency. They truly believe life's challenges and set backs are meant to harm. Consequently, we see an elevation in stress, anxiety and depression.
Turns out, there is a term for not being aware of and accepting of your emotions. Having a lack of "emotional agility" is when you cannot live in the moment, read the present situation, act in accordance with your values and then respond appropriately (David, Susan, "Emotional Agility").
In order to be emotionally successful in life, kids and young adults both have to learn that pain, hurt, rejection, and sadness are normal everyday emotions. In life, there are difficult emotions and positive emotions, but neither is better or worse than the other. They are what they are...feelings. They fluctuate, visit at different times, and are felt in various degrees.
The "negative emotions" - the ones that are seemingly unbearable - don’t last. They are transient and fleeting. While they are present, it is crucial to be able to balance the positive emotions with the not-so-fun emotions and to push through the urge to resist the uncomfortable ones. Instead, become friends with doubt and uncertainty. Allow yourself to be sad. Allow yourself to be in an unknowing position. Avoiding these emotions, running from them, covering them up, and panicking merely sets the stage for depression, anxiety, and a lifetime of worry. It is a skill to be able to cope and self-rely. It is also a skill to recognize that most emotions are trying to teach you to regulate your responses and reactions.
If you ask young adults to describe what it feels like to be alone, doubtful, rejected, or scared, they’ll tell you it is the worse feeling in the world. Do you want to know why these feelings are raw and real to them?
Kids have not learned how to read their own emotions. Some don’t have the forethought to realize that in three days thoughts, feelings and outlooks will be different. They don’t know how to armor up and fight through. They haven't been taught how to build emotional strength or how to self-soothe with their own internal resources. They are used to quick fixes. They believe that feeling negative emotions makes them weak. They forget to approach emotions from a life balance perspective.
Kids want a certain outcome but not the feelings that go with obtaining the outcome.
How can parents help?
Help your students (all ages) by encouraging them to allow the pain and uncertainty they sometimes feel. Don’t heighten their emotions with your heightened concern. Listen to them talk. Have them process their feelings through you. Remind them that they are emotionally strong and able and need to invent a space between feeling the discomfort and responding to the discomfort. Have them see the worst case scenario and ask them how they will survive it. Be their voice for compassion so when they feel bad for feeling bad, you can assure them that judgement is not necessary. And...
Help them see value in experiencing all kinds of emotions:
What can they learn from the situation for use next time the same feelings arise?
What are the emotions speaking to them?
How can they become stronger through the experience?
How can they become "friends" with the fear and sadness and use this "friendship" to make them more emotionally agile next time?
No one is happy all of the time. This belief sets you up for anxiety, stress and depression. Focus on what means the most to you, what you value most in life, what motivates you and how you can believe in your abilities. This concentration protects you from the emotional ups and downs in life, helps you develop "bounce back", and helps you find joy along the way.
This is a basic explanation of some of the science behind what happens in the brain and body when we experience anxiety. There is so much more to it, but understanding these basics can help you begin to look at what is happening in the brain so you can shift thoughts from uncertainty, fear, and discomfort to acceptance. Not resisting the uncomfortable feelings associated with the thoughts all while accepting the thoughts as probably false, distorted and unrealistic can ease your physical and psychological symptoms.
This is called anxiety management. It is also called brain training or cognitive behavioral therapy. It works with practice and persistence.
February was Self-care Month at Carolina Lifestyle Coaching and Consulting, LLC. Self-care is one of the main components to our overall wellbeing. How we take care of the mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical selves determines how we feel, how we relate to ourselves, how we relate to others, and how we exist.
Here are some highlights of the month.
Thank you for joining us.
Carolina Lifestyle Coaching and Consulting helps college students stress less and manage daily life at school.
Nutrition and mental health are both topics I am not only passionate about, but I almost always discuss with clients because of the relationship and effects they have with and on one another. Assessing both are crucial for establishing optimal wellbeing, but personally, I never discuss nutritional treatments of mental states. I am not a medical doctor or a nutritionist. My role with clients is to collaborate with them on options they feel may work for them. All "treatments" are left to the discretion of the client in the professional coach/client partnership.
When visiting nutritional and supplemental options for anxiety and depression in particular, I always provide clients with information that has a legitimate foundation and a solid reputation. Even in these areas of research, you will find conflicting information. It can be frustrating for the client.
Every one is unique in both body chemistry and make-up as well as in mental and emotional health. There is not a "one-size-fits-all" natural treatment or supplementation out there. However, I strongly believe in deciding what is right for yourself, doing your own research outside of medicine, and even trying something on your own - with professional guidance and caution. There are just as many risks included in treating yourself with nutrition and supplements as there are benefits. It is scary sometimes to venture into the woods of self-diagnosis, self-care, and self-treatment.
From my personal experience and perspective, I can report things I have tried on myself and I know to work for me. For instance, I knew something was causing jittery anxiety, more than the norm. I cut out caffeine and morning anxiety subsided. I know I get brain fog if I don't eat by 11:00am (not a morning eater, but a morning liquid in-taker). I space out colorful foods early on until an appetite arrives, then I eat a larger meal. When I feel a dip in my mood ( several days in a row), I discovered that flax seed oil (Omegas) is the ticket for me. That stuff is nasty. I have learned over time that too much sugar hurts my stomach. I'm talking 5 or more Oreos. If I decide to eat 5 Oreos, I know I'll be in pain. Finally, as for those weeks that I feel BLAH! (who doesn't), I really assess what I've eaten all week. I can almost always see a connection between my mood, spirits, and physical condition and what and how I've eaten or not eaten. Alcohol makes me fatigued for days. Inadequate protein makes me feel heavy. Lacking healthy fats makes me feel depressed. And, Theanine helps me sleep better! All trial and error discoveries.
In terms of anxiety, over 70% of your bodily functioning is engaged when in an anxiety episode. Depression? There are many options for increasing serotonin production in the brain. There is an abundance of research on what outside of psychotropic medications can help relieve symptoms of both anxiety and depression. [Do not stop taking meds or add anything without consulting your doctor.] Integrative doctors and functional medicine doctors can help as well. And, you can investigate on your own.
The information available for nutritional and supplemental options for mental health and overall wellbeing is overwhelming at times, but we have the power to help heal ourselves. Initiating that process and developing an interest in helping yourself feel better is all that it takes.
So, here's to doing your research and to self- healing.
"How do you really feel?"
75%-90% of today's doctor visits are reported to be related to stress-related complaints. Chronic stress (living in a constant stress-related, anxious, worry-lead state) can sometimes be subtle. It can also be highly present when we ignore daily stressors. Either way, our physical, mental and emotional health is affected.
Here's the thing:
Stress is constant and continual. Stress is always present, but how we respond to it matters. It matters for our entire mental, emotional, AND physical health.
Our health is complex and connected and our minds and bodies cannot heal in a stressed state.
When we want to feel better, here are some things to consider:
* nutrients, vitamin, mineral deficiencies?
* effort that goes in to healing self?
* compartmentalizing what we think the "problem" is?
* sleep deficiency related to stress?
* clean foods?
* environmental challenges (relationships, allergies, cold weather vs. warm weather)?
* workplace stress/unhappiness?
* connected to self (self-care)?
* loud inner critic?
* sugar, caffeine, alcohol intake?
* sabotaging and limited beliefs?
We are NOT broken just because we experience stress. We have to choose to heal. Chose a starting point. Identify where you think the imbalance is. Take control of JUST one issue to start. Make a plan. Research. Ask for medical guidance. ACTION is how we begin to balance our lives and prioritize our health.
Did you know that the stress hormone cortisol is highest in the morning and lowest at night (called "diurnal cycle")?
Why does this matter?
When this healthy cycle is disrupted by overwhelm, stress, fatigue, and anxiety, our cells do not communicate properly. This causes us to have sleep issues, immune issues, blood sugar issues, decreased focus, and weight challenges.
What to do? Do not decrease carbs. Eat nutrient dense. SLEEP and bank sleep. Get natural sunlight. Mentally decompress each evening. Highly minimalize alcohol, sugar, and caffeine. All of this strengthens the adrenal glands and makes for the accurate production of cortisol.
For more information, research cortisol and melatonin. Also adrenal fatigue.
1/17/2018 0 Comments
Second Semester Survival Kit - How To Help Students Balance College Life
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.