Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc

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I know it doesn’t look like it but I’m on your side!! January 28, 2013

Filed under: parenting — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 4:13 pm
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I love working with people and I especially love working with parents and children. I love watching the transformation that take place as their relationships become stronger due to better communication and wanting to become a better version of them-selves. However, sometimes it can take a lot of work before that transformation takes place. Typically parents come in wanting me to fix “their kids,” and the kids want me to fix “their parents.” Both of them on opposites sides huffing and puffing about how mean or frustrating the other person is, yet simultaneously wanting the same thing, “a peaceful loving relationship.”

Here are a few suggestions that you can do to help connect with your child.

1: Pay attention to your own triggers and thoughts. If you are insecure or have fears of failure , or issues with anger, it can dramatically affect your connection with your child. Do you find your-self shutting down, interrupting or shouting when your child doesn’t do what you want them to do? If so then you need to work on your own issues before you can have any influence over your own child.

2: Ask yourself the opposite of what or expect them to do. Think about it. The most common complaints I have from parents are; “my kid is lazy, she doesn’t listen, she is spoiled, she is manipulative, etc.” Lets take the example that “she doesn’t listen.” Ask your-self all the reasons why, your daughter “SHOULDN”T” listen to you. Here are some examples of the answers parents have given; “I don’t listen, I get angry when she interrupts, I think she is manipulative so I am immediately defensive, she is probably frustrated, she probably doesn’t trust me, etc” and the list goes on.

3: Learn to stay calm in the storm by not focusing on the incident. A child is undergoing massive changes and sometimes this can trigger bouts of intense anxiety, anger and sadness. They may scream, hit their sibling, skip school, not do their homework, lie etc. What a child needs at this point is a strong leader. Someone that is going to help them get through this. If you as the parent find your-self getting angry, crying, giving orders or shutting down, then you are not in control.
First check in with your feelings and thoughts.
Second ask your-self “the opposite of what you want or expect them to do.” “Why should she skip school ?” Why shouldn’t she not do her homework?”
Third: Wait until the storm has passed to talk about the incident. In other words resist the temptation to nag and lecture

4: Find a connection with your kid: All to often I will hear parents complain they don’t like their kids choice of music, the type of clothes they wear, the shows they watch or even there after school activities. Then why should your child listen to you if you don’t take the time to get to know who they are. This is a great opportunity to understand what makes your child tick and to have some positive influence. I am not a big fan of Hip hop in fact I can’t stand it. However, I will go out of my way to keep up on the latest songs and artists. This allows me to have my input and to steer them away from songs that are truly derogatory. It is not really about what YOU like. This is about connecting with your child and celebrating who she is as a person

5: It is not about competition: I will often hear parents say something like, “well I stopped nagging but she still won’t pick up her clothes, so why should I change?” “See I was right, she didn’t like that sport.” In order to change your child’s behavior you must change your own first. Okay so she is still not picking up her clothes, does that mean you must resort back to your old behavior to prove a point? This is not about tit for tat. A child needs a leader. They need to know that you are willing to change, to compromise, to be consistent, stable and reliable. They need to see that you as a parent  are on their side and not against them!!!

 

5 Ways you may be Sabotaging Your-self! January 16, 2013

Filed under: trauma — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 6:21 pm
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Self-Sabotage is probably the number one reason so many people fail. Self-sabotage is something that you do to yourself when you feel like or believe that you don’t deserve good things to happen to you. There is a sense of guilt or shame for succeeding. Some people are afraid of success. In some cases where people have experienced trauma, they may start to associate the physiological feelings of success to same feelings of trauma.
Here are 5 ways you may be sabotaging yourself:

1: Listening to the NATs (Negative Automatic Thoughts)
On an average day we have over 60,000 thoughts a day to which we are not even aware of the majority of them. What is shocking is that the majority of these thoughts is either negative, serve no purpose or is repetitive. We refer to these thoughts as Negative Automatic Thoughts (NATs) So it should come to no surprise that these NATS control the majority of our behavior. For example; Thoughts leads to feelings. Feelings lead to Actions. Actions lead to Results. Results lead to Thoughts etc. So if I’m trying to lose 10lbs and in 3 weeks I have lost only 1lb, I may say, “this sucks, whats the point, I’m starving.” I may feel disgusted, frustrated and angry. This may lead me to eating junk food and not going to the gym that day. Which leads me to gain weight., and the results reinforce my NATs.

2: Little to no support system:
In the words of Hilary Clinton, “it takes a village to raise a child.” And if it takes a village to raise a child, how many people do you need to help you achieve your dreams? Think about it, success is rarely achieved alone. Olympic winners, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Beyoncé, Steve Jobs, etc have a support system they trust and go to.

3.: Surrounding your-self with the wrong people
How do you expect to achieve your goals if you surround your-self with the wrong kind of people. Would Donald Trump surround himself with procrastinators or negative people? Would Oprah Winfrey surround her-self with people who didn’t believe in her vision? Your only as good as the top five people you surround your-self with. Take a look at the people you choose to be with.

4: Letting Fears control your outcome:
Pay attention to your NATs. What are they telling you? Are you scared that if you succeed, life as you know it, may change? You may not be with the same friends, partner or spouse. You may not live in the same neighborhood. So ask your-self what is it about success that scares you?

5: Setting unrealistic goals
I see this many times in my office. People come in to my office wanting to lose weight, to better them-selves, to improve relationships etc. However, their goals are often unrealistic because their mindset is unrealistic. People often associate activity with success. But in order to set realistic goals you must have a clear vision of what you want which will allow you have to the right mindset. Looking for a quick fix such as loosing 20lbs in 20 days is unrealistic. Loosing 20lbs in 6 months may be more realistic. Change can be slow and difficult. In the world of instant gratification, it becomes more difficult to obtain the result’s you’re looking for. Ask yourself when you set up a goal if your setting your-self up for failure?

 

How the brain processes traumatic events. January 4, 2013

Filed under: trauma — Positive Changes 4 Women, Inc @ 8:47 pm
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How the brain processes traumatic events

Trauma can be intrusive. It can interpret and dictate your current life (Burke, T, http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/index.htm)”

Trauma is often a word that is frequently associated with soldiers at war. Very rarely is it used for survivors of rape, child abuse and domestic violence, divorce and natural disasters. Trauma is a mental response to an incident that can produce painful memories, uncomfortable feelings (such as anxiety, anger, difficulty breathing, irritability, intense fear, helplessness etc) which may resort to extreme behaviors such as drinking, taking drugs, over eating, cutting, suicide attempts to either alleviate or numb the painful feelings and thoughts.

 

“Traumatized people have alterations in their brain. Memory is affected by lapses–there are deficits in verbal recall. The frontal cortex ability is decreased. Less ability to do left-brain functions–it can’t distinguish a real threat from a false threat. Intense stress or trauma is accompanied by the release of hormones,(Burke, T, http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/index.htm)”

 

Most trauma experts agree that the symptoms and problems that determine what is considered “traumatic” is dependent on numerous factors including, the individuals own natural ability to cope with stress, how serious the trauma was, resiliency, coping skills, life experiences before the trauma, and what kind of help and support the individual gets from family, friends, and professionals immediately following the trauma. Some trauma survivors often get re-triggered causing them to experience the same mental, physical and emotional feelings before and after the trauma. Thus learning about neuropsychological processes that are involved in the processing of trauma can be an important step for the survivors, loved ones and family members to help in the process of healing.

 

Amygdala is a small, almond-shaped portion of the brain that is a part of the limbic system. It was designed to protect us from dangerous things like a saber toothed tiger or getting eaten by a grizzly bear. It’s the primitive part of the brain. It acts before it thinks (kind of like toddlers). It knows nothing about reasoning or cognitive functions. It deals with feelings and emotions. It controls emotional reactions such as fear & anger.It’s the alarm portion of the brain. If the Amygdala determines that there is danger, it will shut down all non-crucial parts of the body such as the digestive system and enlist every part of the body to fight the threat. The Amygdala is also responsible for the “fight, flight or freeze syndrome.” If the  limbic system perceives that it does not have enough time to fight or flee it will freeze as a means to survive. You will often see this action in nature. It is important to remember that your reaction to the trauma was not a thinking process and was not up to your conscious mind. It came from an instinctive part of your brain that is approximately 50,000 years and is programmed to protect you from any avoidable danger.

 

Hippocampus involves memory and encoding new information such as past experiences, facts feelings, thoughts and awareness of our autobiographical past. It has an enormous capacity to store data for future references. According to an article written by Molly Keeten, Phd, (2009), “when the brain stores a memory within the limbic system instead of processing through to the cortex, it seems to just float in the hippocampus so that it can be easily accessed.” The hippocampus controls our emotional response by transforming sensory stimuli into emotional and hormonal signals then refers this information to other parts that control behavior. So when the Amygdala in the limbic system perceives a threat, it releases the hormones to actively prepare the body to fight, flight or freeze and supercharges the memory. This is why a simple thing such as a smell of cologne or hearing a song on a radio can send a body in to fight, flight or freeze.

 

Molly Keeton, Phd (2009), further reports that “for survival purposes, it may be preferable for the brain to over generalize signals of danger than to under generalize. However, emotionally speaking, this can wreak havoc on a person’s life and health. Traumatized individuals may be more vulnerable to making false associations and interpreting danger in an environment where none exists. Due to plasticity, the more the autonomic nervous system is engaged, the more this pattern becomes ingrained. The more this pattern is ingrained, the more the ANS will be set off. This is the cycle of living with PTSD. In addition, an experience that sets off the body’s alarm response can alter the sensitivity of that alarm response. Over time, even non-sensory cues (remembering the event) can signal the amygdala and lead to an emotional response of fear.”

 

There is a plethora of information  regarding trauma and the effects it has on an individuals psyche:  Some good sights are as follows:

 

http://www.stanford.edu/group/usvh/stanford/misc/PTSD%20-%20Effects%20of%20Traumatic%20Experiences.pdf

http://karunacounseling.wordpress.com/category/abuse-trauma-recovery/

http://www.traumacenter.org/about/..%5Cclients%5CMagInside.Su09.p12-13.pdf

http://www.traumacenter.org/