I teach people in my business how to use thought and emotion awareness to free themselves from diet mentality and from extra weight on their bodies. Over-eating often stems from emotions like anxiety.
Anxiety is a tricky emotion. Tricky because it activates the part of our brain that is survival obsessed. And so a simple thing like walking into a new place or making a phone call can create anything from sweaty palms to a full blown panic attack where your body goes into a state of fight, flight or freeze..
One of our most important things we do as moms is to teach our children what to do with emotions. Anxiety is at an all time historic high with everyone including our kiddos.
One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is to not avoid it but to go straight through it. I have a perfect example of this in action. I have a friend named Julia that recently shared her experience with her anxious 10-year old, Davyn.
Check it out, in Julia’s words…
This awesome kid struggles with anxiety. He was even born with a constant worry wrinkle on his forehead. New things and stepping out of his comfort zone are really hard and can lead to some intense panic attacks.
I recently realized that the more I make things “comfortable” for him (taking him to school because he panics, [thinking] he will throw up or die on the bus, not signing him up for any new sport because he will be the worst at it, not trying anything out of routine because the world will fall apart), the more his anxiety actually spikes.
He got to the point where I couldn’t be out of his sight because he was worried I would die. After reading a few books on Childhood Anxiety and talking with mental health experts, I decided that this year, I was going to stop making Davyn’s life so “cozy.”
I made him take the bus (he is first pick up and last drop off, so it makes a long day). This is huge! He has refused to bus for 5 years. He cried for HOURS when I first told him.
I signed him up for cello instead of his trusty piano. I signed him up for basketball, which he has been terrified of trying for years. It was a rough start to each new activity.
He sometimes struggles and fails, but he learns that failure is part of learning and not the end of the world.
Davyn came to me yesterday and said, “I am proud of myself for trying so many new things. I can do HARD things! I want you to sign me up for more things I haven’t tried before.” This is HUGE!
I am learning that his anxiety is conquered by facing down the worries and stretching himself. He is developing confidence in himself and is gaining true self-esteem.
Way to go Davyn! & way to go Momma Julia!
Resilience cannot be built while we try to protect our kiddos from their own emotions. Resilience is non-negotiable in developing anything in this life, self-esteem, self-actualization, without resilience building it wouldn’t happen.
Protect your kids, but not from their own emotions. Instead teach them how to feel all the emotions including the uncomfortable ones.
You got this!