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Anxiety is the fastest growing problem in the US today. More and more children are presenting with problems that show up in physical symptoms and behavioral problems at home and school.
Anxiety is defined as excessive worry over a variety of topics with three or more accompanying symptoms such as tiredness, trouble sleeping, panic attacks, restlessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating and muscle aches. The presence of anxiety can lead to other medical problems such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, headaches or chronic nausea.
The better you understand what is happening your child’s body, the better you can help him or her heal from fears and anxiety.
According to the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, “serious fear-triggering events can have a significant and long-lasting impact on the developing child, beginning in infancy…Children do not naturally outgrow early learned fear responses over time…and simply removing a child from a dangerous environment will not by itself undo the serious consequences or reverse the negative impacts of early fear learning.”
A child can be triggered just by thinking of giving a presentation at school, getting their homework right, seeing someone get sick or go to the hospital, reading about a disease, imagining monsters in their room, or seeing a bug crawl across their bedroom floor. Children are naturally creative and imaginative but this can become out of control thinking that results in fearful reactions.
When children are triggered by a fearful or traumatic event, the brain and body will respond in a way to protect them from further hurt or harm. Even if this trigger is just imagined, it will have the same effect as if they are actually in a real, terrifying situation. The brain is giving the child a false signal that isn’t real or necessary. This signal comes from the emotional, mid-brain of the child in what is called a “fight or flight” response. The result is the emotional brain hijacking the thinking brain (the area in the front of the brain called the Prefrontal Cortex). This is very helpful if we are really in danger. It is not helpful if we are not.
Fear could be described as “False Evidence Appearing Real.”
Parents can help children learn how to “Face Everything and Relax.”
In order to deal with this emotional hijacking, parents must help children desensitize to stressful triggers. This is done through systematic exposure therapy, rational thinking, and bodily relaxation tools. We will explore many of these tools in this course. For additional help, it is recommended that you find a child therapist that specializes in anxiety disorders in children.
Get more tools to help you and your child with anxiety, worry, fear, and panic at FamilyHealer.tv. The courses are free and you can get power-full tools for increased peace and joy today!
Have you been faced with a stressful situation where it is crucial how you perform, only to choke just when you need to be at your best? We all have! An article, by Scientific American journal, studied this experience and found some interesting insights.
The researchers found that negatively stereotyped social groups are some are at the greatest risk of choking under pressure. For example, if women are told that they are not as good as men at math, right before a math test, then they tend to do poorer on that test then if they were not told this statement.
One reason for the may be that the women are having to fight off the negative thoughts as they are trying to also person a complex task like solve math problems. This is what the researchers called “Increased Cognitive Load”. Others studies suggest that a negative stereotype increases feelings of anxiety and stress which affect performance.
As an artist, I feel the pressure of creating a painting when someone asks me to do one or wants to commission a specific image or scene. I can do great art, when I follow my muse and don’t worry about the outcome. That is because I am not worrying about whether someone will like it or question myself about my artistic abilities.
There is also the element of our identity. How we “see” ourselves or thing that others see us can affect our performances. Another researcher studied how positive stereotypes affect complex activities and found that this actually boosts ability to perform. Why don’t positive intrusive thoughts cause people to choke like negative ones? Because positive thoughts don’t focus on our feelings of worth as a member of a particular social group. As an artist, positive thoughts about my artistic skills increase my worth in this group of people.
Is the answer than to just pump ourselves up before a difficult task or pay others to tell us nice things about we are? Probaly not! As a psychotherapist, I tell my clients to explore their audiences of appreciation. Who values them? Who will be able to notice their efforts to change and will accept them unconditionally? A lot of emotional sufferers just don’t have enough awareness of their audiences of appreciation. Maybe my role as a psychotherapist is to be one of those audience members.
So instead of finding people to be “accountable to” in your efforts to set up a new New Years Resolution, try gathering together an audience of appreciation. Now wouldn’t that feel nice for a change? S
Ready to overcome anxiety, fear, and panic? Take a free ecourse at FamilyHealer.tv today and find “Freedom From Anxiety”.
Everyone struggles with how to deal with their emotions. This is especially challenging for children whose neurological development has not matured to the point that they can use more rational thinking to deal with their emotions. It becomes even more problematic if our children have suffered a traumatic event or experienced toxic stress.
Trauma and toxic stress impair all areas of development for children causing them to act and think below their chronological age. We call this gap “Age vs. Stage” to reference how a 16-year-old can act socially and emotionally like a 6-year-old. Often, the age that the child experienced the trauma is the emotional age they get stuck at even while the rest of them advance in years. This can open the eyes for many caregivers who are puzzled by the age vs stage problem.
Adults don’t always have good solutions to this problem, however. We may not really know how to manage our own emotions. Perhaps we have had our own trauma that shuts us down when overwhelmed by stress or we haven’t had many examples of what healthy, responsible adults do with their intense feelings and so, we limp along with our own developmental journey.
What most adults do is stuff their feelings. They might do this by dissociating from their bodily reactions and disconnect from extreme feelings of intimacy or closeness. They might push the feelings down until the boil over in a fit of rage, with everyone around the just waiting for the next volcanic explosion. They might try to be super reasonable and lecture their family and be perfectionistic with expectations no one can live up to.
The healthier answer is not to try and live from our emotions at all! The secret is that you can change your emotions by changing what you believe. When you wake up in the morning, don’t ask yourself “How do I feel today?” Ask yourself, instead “What do I believe today?”
Families who are faith-based believe many things they don’t always practice. For example, we believe that God will take care of all our needs but we spend hours being worried. Our beliefs must go deeper into our subconscious minds where habits exist. You don’t think about how to do certain things in life, like driving your car or make dinner, because those thought structures are set in our subconscious mind so that we can spend more energy on other conscious thoughts and actions. Practicing what we preach has to become a natural reaction to life’s challenges as well.
Faith-based families have a strange distrust of their own souls as well. Our souls comprise our body, mind, and will. Perhaps we distrust them because we haven’t changed our subconscious habits yet. This will be an on-going process, for sure, and one we can start modeling for our children as well. We also have to live healthy lifestyles, eating good food, engaging in playful activities, and getting rest and exercise.
Our beliefs allow us to overcome shame from our past. This is what causes traumatized children (and adults) from believing they deserve a good life because they are unworthy of love, unwanted by biological parents, and damaged in some way – maybe many ways. This negative belief results in the sabotage of success, self-injurious behavior, suicidal ideations, depression, anxiety, and fear. This list could go on…
God’s mercies are supposed to be “new every morning” and the same level of grace should be extended to ourselves as well as to other. We need to offer this to our traumatized children, as well. Whatever happened yesterday must be forgiven and our thought life must be taken captive.
A powerful tool for ourselves and for our families is to make biblical declarations – out loud! Life or death is on the tongue and what we say can steer the direction of our lives (Proverbs 18:21; James 3). Speaking out our new beliefs is an act of faith because we may not feel that what we are saying is true but we are not letting our emotions guide our beliefs, we are letting our beliefs direct our emotions.
Renewing the mind is how we are to live our faith governed lives and it is a continual process of maturity for our children and will help to close the age vs. stage gap (Romans 12:1-1).
Start your declarations with the words “I believe” and see what happens to your own mindset as well as to your child’s attitude and behaviors.
“I believe” that I have all the grace I need to face any challenge or problem that comes up for me today.
“I believe” that I am worthy of love and the love of God, who is love, overflows from me to everyone I encounter today.
“I believe” that I am trustworthy, kind, and tenderhearted. I am able to forgive other people who have hurt by and not live in bitterness or seek revenge.
- “I believe” that my prayers are powerful.
- “I believe” I am great at relationships and making friends.
- “I believe” that my family is blessed and I am a blessing to everyone around me.
- “I believe” God is on my side and doesn’t hate me or punish me.
- “I believe” I can think right thoughts and make good decisions.
- “I believe” that I am successful and have the ability to think and act creatively today.
- “I believe” today is a new day, full of new mercies, and I can be happy and rejoice in it.
- “I believe” that the joy of the Lord is my strength.
- “I believe” I do not have a spirit of fear and God gives me power, love, and a sound mind.
- “I believe” that I can control what I say and everything from my lips speak love, live, and encouragement.
- “I believe” that I can remember everything I am studying and will accomplish everything that needs to get down today.
- “I believe” that believing the truth sets me free of fear and depression.
Don’t worry if you don’t always feel what you say is true. Don’t be concerned or deterred if your children don’t agree with your declarations, at first. I believe that if you practice these declarations and start to create your own personal list that you will see incredible changes in your own heart and the heart of your family, today and over time!
Take a free online course to help your family heal at FamilyHealer.tv
Anxiety is the #1 mental health problem in American society. A startling one in eight people describe experiences, every week, that would qualify as a clinical diagnosis of anxiety or panic. Fortunately, it is also one of the easiest to manage if you know how!
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at times. Many people feel anxious, or nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test or making an important decision. Anxiety disorders, however, are different. They can cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. An anxiety disorder is a serious mental illness. For people with anxiety disorders, worry and fear are constant and overwhelming and can be crippling.
Here are three powerful tools, taken from Ron Huxley’s “Freedom From Anxiety” course, that you can use to manage anxiety instead of it managing you:
- Pause and Breathe. Take several occasions throughout your day to “pause and breathe.” Set your alarm for every couple of hours to take a couple of minutes to put everything down and take 10 good inhale and exhale breaths. Notice what is happening inside of you and around you but don’t have any judgments about it or need to take any actions. Simply notice and take another breathe. It’s OK if your awareness shifts frequently. Just go back to your slow, deep breathing.
- Detect and Redirect. Play detective by cluing into what you are thinking or saying to yourself when you feel anxious. Again, don’t judge it as good or bad but take note (literally write it down) of what preceded your anxious feelings. Begin to be aware of triggers in the form of situations and socialization that make you feel anxious. Redirect yourself physically to disconnect that trigger from your life. Learn to move to another room or avoid negative conversations or take another course of action that might not lead you into an anxious state. Have a “hot list” of the 5 most anxious producing situations or thoughts to avoid. Challenge these anxious thoughts by asking how much of it is really true? One hundred percent of the time true or 50% or 10% or 1%. Even if it is true 90% of the time, what is different about the 10% that isn’t?
- Positive Declarations. Once you have a “hot list” of anxious thoughts, start doing or thinking the opposite. Make a list of positive declarations that start with: I am… I will… I can… Today, I have… I choose… I live… My life is… I know… I take back… It can be hard, at first, to come up with a list of positive statements so enlist the help of others. They will be much more objective. Say them out loud even it if feels awkward as your own voice can be self-empowering. The more you say them the more believable they will become and the more present in your life. Use these declarations whenever the anxious thoughts start up in your head. Yell them if necessary!
Are you ready to be free of anxiety, fear, worry, and panic? Take Ron Huxley’s FREE online course: Freedom From Anxiety. Just click here now!
The TriUnity Model of my online course “Freedom From Anxiety” refers to the three domains of our nature: Body, Mind, and Spirit. This faith-based approach to dealing with fear, worry, panic, and anxiety operate by focusing on our identity and destiny.
In the Bible, a favorite verse is Psalms 139 that declares, at the moment of conception, we were wonderfully and fearfully made. This original design struggles to present itself in a world full of brokenness and pain. Restoring this divine order is the central aim of the “Freedom From Anxiety” course.
To achieve this, the course addresses anxiety in the body by creating safety, turning off the false alarms, building NeuroResilience* to repair the limbic system and balance in the autonomic nervous system. It focuses on anxiety in the mind by capturing negative thoughts that lead to anxious feelings and behaviors. And finally, it concentrates on the spirit that rediscovers our true self and integrates disconnected aspects of the body and mind.
Another favorite verse is “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJB). This sound mind refers to the capacity to bounce back from traumatic events that are the root of much of our anxiety and fears. Having the correct alignment between body, mind, and spirit, allow us to build this capacity to have self-control and positive self-judgments in the face of anxious moments.
A positive, God-centered identity allows us to have “ease” in life, living confidently and courageously. When we do not have “ease” we have “dis-ease” that affects every area of our nature. Having a higher perspective of yourself, in the world, brings a greater sense of peace. Viewing things from our bodily reactions and our mental experiences give rise to fear and terror. The world can be a scary place. Life can be overwhelming. One definition of trauma is when stressors overwhelm our capacity to manage them. Building spiritual capacity is key to our new freedom.
Learn more about how you can find “Freedom From Anxiety” by taking our free course at http://FamilyHealerSchool.com now.
*NeuroResilience is copyrighted by Ron Huxley, LMFT 2018
We have created a new course for parents on “Helping Children With Anxiety”. You can view it now in our Online Courses page (click here). This course will include:
- What is Anxiety?
- Developing Your Child’s Emotional IQ
- How NOT To Pass Anxiety On To Your Children
- 8 Helpful Things (Strategies) To Say To An Anxious Child
- Children’s Fears: Create a S.A.F.E.R. H.O.M.E.
- Teach Your Child To Be A Worry Warrior and a Fear Fighter
- A Healthy Gut is a Happy Gut!
SPECIAL OFFER: Our Freedom From Anxiety program is now available as a monthly membership program. Get new tools for the body/mind/spirit and overcome anxiety for only $29.95 per month. Don’t miss this unique offer…click here for more info!
Do you spend a lot of time worrying about “what if” instead of enjoying the moment of “what is” right now? This is what happens when we worry about being hurt by other people if we get too close to them. It is also what happens when we fear something dangerous might occur, in the future, to us or someone we care about.
The emotional result of living in the “what if’s” is often anxiety and panic. I have worked with individuals who worry that they will have a car accident, choke on food, be publicly humiliated, or that someone will enter their house and hurt them or their family members. The list of possible “what if’s” could go on and on…
This worry prevents people from enjoying life in the moment. They are unable to go to parties or attend weddings and they avoid certain foods and even check doors repeatedly every night before going to sleep (if they are able to go to sleep). Their fear robs them of self-confidence and security. In order to cope, they avoid any potentially uncomfortable, painful situation.
Often these “what if’s” situations come into our lives because of traumatic events in the past. Maybe we did get sick from expired milk and threw up in the cafeteria in front of all our friends. Perhaps we did have a tragic car accident that resulted in a terrible loss! Perhaps we have had our home invaded or someone assault us. While there may be many realities to our anxieties, we don’t have to let them continue to control our lives.
We can become worry warriors and fear fighters!
The secret to making this change is to understand the true nature of emotions. Anxiety is an emotion as is anger or excitement or happiness. All emotions are “energy in motion” or e-motions.
The word “motion”, in Latin, means “to move” as in “it’s time to move out” on a trip or journey. It also means “to excite” or take action.
Additionally, e-motions are temporary. They come without warning and they will leave just as quickly, if we let them. They will stay longer if we complicate their “movement” by holding on to them with our beliefs about ourselves and the world. If our experiences are negative and our beliefs follow with more negativity, then our e-motions stop their normal movement and become frozen in our psyches.
Typical negative beliefs that can result in anxiety include:
I am a failure.
I have to be perfect.
I should have done something.
I am not good enough.
I am not safe.
I am stupid.
I am bad.
I am not lovable.
I can’t bear the pain of _____.
I am not in control.
I am weak.
I am fake.
I am ugly.
It is my fault.
There may be more but that is enough to make you feel anxious! Imagine what it must be like to live with those negative beliefs all the time. Underneath all of those negative beliefs is the idea that they cannot change and we are destined to suffer under them forever. That is not true. You can fight back!
I’ll be honest. The fight can be hard but the prize (YOU) is worth it. This the only way to deal with anxiety. You can’t continue to avoid it and hope it goes away and you can fight it directly.
That’s right, you are NOT fighting anxiety head on. You are fighting your beliefs about anxiety and how you view yourself/your world. That is what keeps it frozen and stops it natural movement away from us. Another problem with fighting anxiety is that people try to measure success based on whether they FEEL anxious or not instead of whether they are able to LIVE productively or not. You will always feel anxious from time to time. It is a natural e-motion that wants to move on. Focusing on living life is a much better measuring stick.
Use these positive thoughts instead:
I deserve to be happy.
I am great just as I am.
I am in control now.
I can do the best I can.
I am good.
I am smart.
I am beautiful inside and out.
I can make mistakes.
I am lovable.
I am strong.
It is not my fault.
I can succeed.
I am safe now.
Just like any good fighter, you have to take care of yourself. Regular exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and rest are important strategies to winning the worry war.
To help you visualize yourself as a worry warrior or a fear fighter, imagine wearing the following pieces of armor as you go into the battle:
Helmet of happy thoughts.
Breastplate of perfect love (that protects against fear).
Shield of self-confidence.
Boots (to stay grounded and moved you through the fight).
Sword of truth (that breaks irrational lies).
Chainmail of support (from family and friends).
Make up your own ideas with the following image as you become a worry warrior and a fear fighter:
By Ron Huxley, LMFT
Anxiety is a common problem in American society, perhaps globally. I have dealt with anxiety over the years and while I have learned to master it most of the time, there are occasions still, where it rears it’s ugly head. Like many people, it leaves an ugly after taste of shame and sadness.
What I have learned as an anxiety sufferer and a Family Therapist is that every feeling and bodily reaction has a corresponding thought behind it. It happens so subtly that we don’t recognize the mind-brain-connection. It takes practice to follow the train of thought and to take back control of your thoughts.
This is part of the spiritual nature of who we are. God created us to be powerful thinking, creative people. Dumbing us down is not the answer. Most of us use medicines and entertaining distractions to avoid thinking as the only tool to self-mastery. This is really body slavery. The appetites rule us instead of ruling our appetites. This results in a vicious cycle of addiction and destructive patterns.
The Truth of the Matter
The truth will set you free! You have to BEGIN to look in the direction of who were designed to be in order to be the architect of your life. ACCEPT the truth that our souls (defined as your mind/will/emotions) are part of our original design and when subject to our spiritual-ness we can put things in right order. When we are in right ORDER, we are in our right minds. Our right minds allow us to rightly control our emotions and bodily reactions.
The bible says it this way: “For God did not give us a Spirit of Fear but of a Power and Love and of a Sound Mind”. 2 Timothy 1:7 (New Heart English Bible)
Wouldn’t you like to stop emotional mood swings? Aren’t you tired of panic attacks and living a fear-induced life? It’s time to get to the truth of the matter.
What You Say About Yourself is Who You Are?
The biggest hang up in anxious thinking is believing that this is our fate. This negative reality is our only reality and others just don’t understand. That latter part might be true, however…Your belief of being stuck in this reality can create the very problem you are wanting to manage. Start catching your anxious thoughts even if you have to stop and re-trace your anxious thoughts. Where, what, who, how, when, why did that anxious feeling first start? Just notice what the situation was that got it rolling. Over time you will discover a pattern of negative thinking that triggers you. There is usually a major root thought that if pulled out of the ground of your mind will give you a sound mind.
If you can’t identify these thoughts, ask someone you feel safe with to help you. It is easier for others to spot them when they are not in the middle of them. Just the act of noticing will begin to give you power over them.
Learning to Love Yourself
God gave us a power to control our thoughts and he gives us Love. Do you love yourself? It’s a missing commandment in the Word of God. Not because it isn’t in the book but because it is missing in our lives. We are ready to love others. We can love things. We are not as good at loving ourselves.
If we are willing to practice what we preach, we must commit to trying without self-judgement. what happens when we practice a new skill, make a new resolution, decide to change, we get discouraged because we don’t get it perfect. Perfectionism is a major root of anxiety thinking!
Choose today, without judgement, to love yourself, your body, your life, your finances (yes, those too), your future with these simply daily practices:
- Use kind words when talking about yourself to others. This is different that learning to talk about yourself when no one is around. That might be a bigger discipline to take on but for now, start referencing yourself with positive comments in social situations. Don’t self-depreciate. If you find this difficult, remember your mothers words: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.
- Notice beautiful things. The bible recommends that we spend time contemplating “whatever is true…noble…right…pure…lovely…admirable…praiseworthy. Think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (New International Version)
- Take care of your body. Your body is a nasty ruler if we let it control our thoughts and emotions. It takes over our will and demands toxic products and doesn’t want to get off the couch. Start eating right, exercising even it is walking around the block, and getting a good nights sleep. No staying up all night and sleeping till noon. This perpetuates the toxic hunger cravings.
- Smile. Research shows that the act of smiling is hormonally equal to a good nights rest but don’t substitute one for the other! Smiling is a known stress buster. Children naturally smile over 400 times a day. How many times do you smile per day. It can even lengthen your life span. Really!
- Say “Yes!”. We have a negative root in our thinking that says its all about saying “no” to bad things. Start saying yes to healthy, wise thinking. Take 40 days to eliminate the work “no” from your vocabulary. Say it now. See, not hard.
- Give yourself a hug. This isn’t creepy. Just hug yourself and lightly stroke the sides of your arms and you picture a place, real or imaginary that, makes you feel safe. This is part of my NeuroResilience Program called “The Safe Place” technique.
- Read inspirational and positive stuff. Turn off the news, cancel the news paper, stop focusing on negative headlines. Take 10 minutes every day to read something that is inspirational and positive. It can be a daily reading book. There are thousands out there. Find an app for your phone that has positive quotes. Listen to positive podcasts. We live in a informationally flooded world. You can control what stress of thought you want to focus on. The old adage: “Garbage in, garbage out” is still true today.
Did you notice that there are 7 ways to love yourself and also 7 days of the week? Coincidence? Maybe, but try a new loving yourself practice each day and then rinse, repeat.
The poet Rumi wrote that “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers without yourself that you have build against it.” Let’s eliminate the barriers to getting back control of your thoughts and living the truth of having a sound mind.
NOTE: Be on the look out for our my new video training series: “Freedom From Anxiety”. Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss out. Click here now.
Fear destroys families and why you must make it “feel” safer
By Ron Huxley, LMFT
Fear is one of the biggest reasons for family power struggles and defiance in children. It shifts the atmosphere of the home and causes use to react instead of acting in a safe and sane manner toward one another. All families fight. You can create a S.A.F.E.R. H.O.M.E. to battle against problems instead of people you love.
Are you in a constant power struggle with your children? Feeling a little helpless to manage the continual arguments and competition between children in your home? Tired of yelling, bribing, and negotiating to get cooperation? Well here is a 9 step plan to help you create a “safer home”:
S = Stop what you are doing. Your probably reacting to the stress of the situation and making things worse. Take some time to…
A = Assess the situation, environment, mood and motivations of your child(ren). What are they doing? Why are they doing it? How are you handling it? Who is involved? Just notice for now…
F =Focus on one problem or priority to address. Don’t try to tackle all the issues. Try and address the core issue that affects the most people/variables. This will allow you to…
E = Empathize with your child’s feelings. State: “I can understand how you would feel this way or want to act in a certain way, however…”
R = Respond (versus reacting) by offering alternative solutions or asking for responses from the children to come up with the alternatives themselves. This activates all areas of the brain through empathy development (right brain and emotional centers of the brain) and logical thought (left brain and cause and effect areas of the brain)…
H = Help children with suggestions for things they could try if they cannot come up with their own or if they won’t do it. “Would you like some ideas? What if we do x or y?”…
O = Offer choices. Would you rather share the toy or find a new one? Brush teeth before or after putting on your pajamas? The more choices and the smaller they are spread out through the day the more compliance you will get. Choices mean power but only offer ones you can live with and be ready to…
M = Maintain your position when they go for that third choice you didn’t offer them. If they do this, you know you are playing a game that no one will win. You may have to be a broken record and repeat the choice two choices two times (this is important to only do it twice) and then…
E = Execute the choice everyone agreed to or take action if they can’t or won’t agree to one. You chose A or B. This is “do or die” when it comes to parenting. Be ready to stick to your choice and don’t back down. If you do, you give total control back to your child. The fight might be tough today but tomorrow it will be easier and easier the day after that until finally it will be a rare day that you have to fight it at all. Won’t that be nice and safe?