Identifying Stressors and 1 Super Effective Stress Management Technique

Burnout symptoms and stress relief strategies

Let’s face it…

The beginning of the year is one of the most stressful times of the year!

With the crazy rush of:

  • Christmas and New Year’s (often spending more time with people you hardly ever see and don’t always get along with)
  • having to catch up on work (or worse having less income because there is less work around)
  • school holidays – e.g. siblings fighting, bored kids and outside school care costs
  • getting kids back to school – anxiety over going back for both parents and children plus the costs of uniforms/stationery
  • more credit card expenses – Christmas, school, lower income…
  • never-ending expenses of running a household like mortgage repayments and rates
  • relationship pressures because of all the above…
  • excess weight gain from comfort eating
  • (and the list goes on!)

It’s no wonder we all start feeling the pressure and seeing signs of burnout so early in the year. But the thing most people don’t even think about is how this affects our wellbeing and (more importantly) how to protect ourselves from the negative effects of these stressors.

Which is why today we are going to share with you a Super Effective Stress Management Technique

But first, let’s have a look at:

Signs of Stress to Keep an Eye Out For

You see, sometimes we don’t even realise how stressed we are until the pressure comes off and we start to feel “normal” again. So, what we are going to do is break this down into physical signs, mental signs and emotional signs of stress so you can increase your self-awareness.

NOTE: If you identify with the following signs of stress and are concerned about your wellbeing, please schedule an appointment with your doctor within the next 3 days to get a full check-up.

Physical Signs of Stress

Mostly, you know if a symptom you are experiencing is a result of stress, but often our kids don’t (and sometimes we don’t put 2 +2 together either – because we are so busy all the time). So, here are just a few physical symptoms that could result from stress:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Getting sick often – low immunity
  • Low libido
  • Heart palpitations (this could be serious – please consult a doctor immediately)
  • Difficulty getting to sleep or frequent waking
  • Constantly feeling fatigued

Mental Signs of Stress

There are some common psychological symptoms that people are becoming more aware of such as depression and anxiety, and what we are going to share are some signs you might not normally think of. Here they are:

  • Persistent low mood
  • Repetitive negative self-talk – what you are saying to yourself in your head can be so much more hurtful than what others are saying
  • Self-doubt, self-loathing, self-sabotage, self-medicating, self-pity
  • Constantly racing thoughts
  • Worrying excessively
  • Thoughts of self-harm – If you are experiencing this symptom PLEASE CALL LIFELINE on 131114, KIDS HELPLINE on 1800551800 or eHEADSPACE (for 12-15 year olds) at https://headspace.org.au/eheadspace/connect-with-a-clinician/ immediately so you can access professional support
  • Suicidal Ideation – PLEASE CALL 000 (Australia) NOW to get EXPERT SUPPORT

Emotional Signs of Stress

Unfortunately, emotional symptoms can often look more like bad behaviour. This might look like a problematic co-worker, a disrespectful partner or a naughty child. And although negative behaviour is never okay just because we’re stressed, sometimes being able to step aside from the label of “BAD” can allow you to see the root cause and start to manage difficult behaviour better. Here are some emotional triggers to watch for:

  • Angry outbursts and irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed, overworked and underappreciated
  • Having no motivation and avoiding situations
  • Being moody, snappy or snarky
  • Becoming easily upset and overly “emotional”

Now that you know what to look for, let’s talk about:

The Super-Effective Stress Management Technique Everybody Needs to Know (but few practise)

Protecting your wellbeing is such an important life skill, but so few people know how to do it effectively. And over some 20 years practising as a psychologist, Brad has seen this all too often. But you know, there’s still so much stigma in Australia around seeing a psychologist because people think there must be something wrong with them. But the fact is, most of the people who come to see us are just:

  • exhausted due to work commitments
  • overwhelmed by so many things going “wrong” at once
  • experiencing grief and loss of someone they cared about
  • struggling with relationship issues because they need better communication skills, or
  • wanting clarity around their work/relationship/family direction

You see…

Nothing extreme in those are they. And what those who do use it know is… the best thing about seeing an expert psychologist is you get a non-judgemental, unbiased and impartial outsider who can help you make better decisions about your situation. But that’s another story…

Let’s get back to the strategy we want you to know about today…

Self-Care

Sounds too simple, BUT… the great thing about self-care is by taking care of yourself on a regular basis, you give yourself the best chances to:

  • Think clearer – making it quicker and easier to problem-solve
  • Feel calmer (especially during times of stress)
  • Respond rather than react
  • Have more energy more of the time
  • Appreciate those around you more (resentment breeds conflict)
  • Avoid overwhelm and burnout
  • Feel better about yourself and your decisions
  • And so much more…

The benefits of practising self-care are very clear, right?

So, the next thing to know is:

What is Self-Care?

First…

Self-care is not selfish. And you need to really believe that.

In actual fact, it is essential to being able to effectively care for others. Think about the emergency procedure they share on the plane:

“In the case of an emergency, please be sure to fit your own oxygen mask before helping those around you.”

That’s because if you lose consciousness, not only does it mean you can’t help others, but you then become someone who needs more help than if you fitted your own oxygen mask in the first place.

Second…

Self-care is something that must be very personal to you. It must include things that make YOU feel good. Maybe you like to sit down on your own to read a book in peace, go out for a coffee with a friend, get to the gym at least 3 times a week, read a positive quote each day… whatever it is, it has to be things that make you feel happier and more energised. That’s the key.

And Third…

There is no point just thinking about self-care. If you really want to improve your wellbeing, then going out and doing those things you know make you feel good is absolutely critical.

That’s it.

If you want to improve your quality of life...
If you want to enjoy going to work and get along with those around you better...
If you want to look and feel stronger...
If you want to have happier and more loving relationships...
Then it's a no-brainer - you need to give it a go.

Now, we know it can be easy to read this and do nothing. But we want to encourage you to take action. And if you are still not sure where to start to take that action, then check out our Self Care Course Here or contact us today by email (bradleyeverton@hotmail.com), phone (0458360666) or through the Contact Us page because there is nothing we would love more than to help you create and implement your very own, fully personalised self-care plan.

We hope to collaborate with you soon and in the meantime – may you have a wonderful day.

Brad Everton     and           Monique Everton
Psychologist                   Registered Nurse

Synergy Mind Solutions

Teach Your Kids How To Manage Their Emotions

emotional regulation activities

As parents, would you agree we all try to support our children?

But getting the right balance can be tricky. And, that’s why today we are going to consider what giving support is not…

Giving support is not:

I’ll get back to that in a moment, but first let me explain a little about:

The Stages Of Child Development

Stage 1 is the Imprint stage and goes from ages 1 to 7.

During this stage, essentially what happens is we all come in with a blank mind and then everything within our environment is imprinted onto our subconscious mind.

Stage 2 is the Modelling stage, which is from age 7 trough to 14.

I describe this stage as “monkey see, monkey do.”  The modelling stage is where our children model everything… the good and the bad.  So, as parents it’s very important that we model good behaviours and set good examples during this stage.

Stage 3 is the Socialisation stage, and this encompasses the ages 14 through to about 21.

The socialisation stage is where your teenager is trying to gain their independence and determine their self-identity.  So, the key issues parents are often faced with during this stage are around independence.

The reason why I’ve shared these stages with you is because it’s important to support your child through each of these stages.

Now…

Back to what support is not.

Let’s start with Helicopter Parenting and what that looks like.

It’s when parents are constantly hovering around their child.  This occurs when parents obsessively check in on their child.  The child doesn’t get any time to themselves.  It’s also when parents are always scheduling things for their children.  It can be seen as smothering rather than loving.

An example that comes to mind…

When I was working at a university, during orientation week one year a mother kept ringing the staff asking them to check in on her daughter so as to make sure she was not just sitting in her dormitory room and missing out on the orientation activities.

Therefore, this is not supportive because it does not allow your child or teenager to develop their own independence.

Now, I know this example is for a teenager, but it starts when they are born and can often get worse as the child grows. Some signs of helicopter parenting with younger children include constant hovering to ensure they never fall, fail or fight, not allowing your child to try activities that are appropriate for their age for fear they might get hurt, and not letting kids try to work out their problems on their own first.

Essentially… it’s the parent not letting go.

So, what about Lawnmower Parenting?

Well, just like the picture shows, lawnmower parents want to smooth everything over for their child. The child does not get to learn any lessons and the parent handicaps the child by doing everything for them. The lawnmower parent is not providing positive support because if you smooth everything over for your child it doesn’t help them learn how to take responsibility.

And here is an interesting one…  Peerenting

Peerenting is when the parent tries to be best mates with their child. I have had colleagues who have said they often see this in single parents with an only child. It can also be seen in cases of divorce where the parents are sharing the care of the kids. And, another example is when the child is a teenager and the parent is more a peer than a parent to their child.

Because…

They want their child to like them and avoid setting limits and boundaries to keep their child on side. The problem with peerenting is the parent struggles to use the word ‘no’. They do not want to be seen as the bad guy and discipline their child. They don’t want to be the disciplinarian. Peer-renting is also allowing your child to make important decisions for you about your life.

But, parents know at times they need to be the bad guy and set limits even though it feels awful.

And here is a great concept that will help you with setting guidelines and connecting with your child:

Remember…

Relationships Before Rules = Respect

But if it is the other way around and we start dishing out rules before building the relationshipwith our child, it will often result in rebellion.

Have you ever gone straight to the rule-book before connecting?

What result did you get?

I bet it was not a good one.

Now let’s look at three key ways you can provide the right type of support to your child:

  1. Help them understand and manage their emotions.

This one is really important.  Because if they turn their emotions inwards, it can lead to things such as depression. And, if they turn their emotions outwards, it can lead to outbursts of anger.

There is a great tool that I go into detail about during my parenting workshops that is really simple and easy to use. I’ll give you a quick run-down on it now, but if you would like more information, feel free to contact us by email: info@ontrackparenting.com, via our contact page, or phone us on: 0458360666.

Here’s a quick fact:

There are 22 common emotions that human beings experience.

Guess how many of these are positive?

If you thought it was half positive and half negative, it might shock you to know that there are only 7 that are positive. That means there are twice as many negative emotions!

So…

Now you know why it can be a struggle to stay positive.

But the important thing is knowing how to manage our emotions appropriately.

  1. The second way to provide the right support is to let them discover their self-control.

You see…

When it comes to disputes it is better to settle our emotions first and then settle the dispute later.

By the way, did you know that time and space can settle emotions?

“Talking it through” is a technique which is recommended for conflict resolution, but the key to this is TIMING. And you can encourage them to give themselves some space by going outside to jump on the trampoline, doing some craft/drawing, reading a book by themselves, or something else your child likes.

Having these emotional regulation activities in mind for “time and space” is a great idea because it will give them the opportunity to feel better and manage their self-control much more easily.

Something to remember around this is:

“When emotions go up, intelligence goes down.”

Rabia
  1. Last but not least is to support your child by putting together a Personal Learning Plan.

It’s something they won’t be able do themselves but is a great habit to develop from an early age. How you do this is to help them set a goal and then identify core skills that will support them to achieve that goal.

Now…

A Personal Learning Plan doesn’t have to be fancy. Here’s an individual learning plan example we whipped up on the computer to show you how simple it can be:

By the way…

We’d be happy to make a copy for you (tailored to suit your child/ren). Simply email us at info@ontrackparenting.com with your child’s name and 3 or 4 skills you want included on your Personal Learning Plan and we’ll get your version sent to you ASAP.

Because…

“The quality of your life is dependent on the quality of the skills you have.”

Brad Everton

So, set your kids up with the best life skills now to ensure they have a great quality of life in their future.

Thanks for taking the time to learn how you can enhance your child’s wellbeing.

May you have an On Track Day!

Brad Everton

International Author and Psychologist

On Track Parenting

www.ontrackparenting.com

Download free resources & grab yourself a copy of “On Track Parenting – The Missing Manual That Should Have Come With Your Child”

How to Never Make Bad Mistakes Again

the essential life skill for decision making process

Ever experienced moments of utter despair when you child did something they knew was wrong?  Or maybe you have felt the frustration of your partner undermining your parenting…  And maybe you have done something yourself (possibly more than once) that you regretted and really don’t want to happen again.

The good news is…

Today I’m going to share with you a life skill you can use to combat all of these problems that I call:

“Advanced Decision Making”

This is a life skill that can help you with your parenting in so many different ways. And here are just a few:

  • It will help you prevent the sense of overwhelm, anger and frustration – particularly when things go wrong
  • It will help you feel a lot more relaxed because you will have more clarity, and
  • It will help you stay a lot calmer in general because you have more certainty

There are 3 tips I am going to share with you around this. They are:

  1. Prevention is better than cure
  2. Respond vs react, and
  3. How to master your self control

Let’s explore the first tip…

Prevention is Better Than Cure

As parents, making decisions in advanced will allow you to prevent future misbehaviour.

Did you know there are four main categories of misbehaviour? And one of them is demand-seeking misbehaviour (discover more about managing the 4 misbehaviours in my short course here).

Let’s use an example of our child who every time we go into a shopping centre, throws a tantrum because they want something bought for them. Well, by simply applying the concept of Advanced Decision Making we can let the child know that we are aware of the type of misbehaviour prior to going shopping and discuss alternatives with them in advance. We can also discuss some of the consequences in advance.

As a parent, we may also be able to think about some different ways that we can distract our child in a positive way.  

So, there’s an example of how to use Advanced Decision Making using the concept of prevention is better than cure.

The second tip is:

Respond Rather Than React

We should always be aiming to respond rather than react. And what I often say to people is:

“When we react, we tend to react in a negative way. But when we respond, we respond in a cool, calm and collected manner.”

Brad Everton

You see…

The goal is always to respond.

Let’s say for example our children are pushing our hot buttons by:

  • constantly nagging (think of a toddler repeatedly shouting “mum, mum, mum, mum, mum” over and over again)
  • our teenager diminishing what we do for them and angrily telling us what bad parents we are
  • one of our children blaming the other for bad behaviour just to get them in trouble

What can you do to respond instead of reacting during these situations?

The key to remember when you start to sense yourself becoming annoyed is to see it for what it really is and choose to respond rather than react.

Yes.

It is easier said than done.

But it is also a matter of conditioning ourselves to the concept of responding.

It’s also recognising when our children push our hot buttons that there is often a motive behind the behaviour. And our job is to determine what that is.

The problem is reacting makes it a lot harder to do that.

So, using the concept of Advanced Decision Making – if you have pre-determined how you will behave in certain situations, it allows you to respond verses react.

The best thing is…

You’ll find this will give you a sense of calmness and peace of mind because you have things in place. And, it also allows you to stay in control of yourself.

Which leads me to the third tip, which is:

Master Your Self Control

Another great idea is to have a Plan A and Plan B. This will allow you to be more organised because you’ll have already thought through more than one option, which will give you even more self control.

And the fact is…

Self control is something we are all looking for.

Because if we feel as though we have options, it allows us to feel we are in control of the situation, and that also helps us to respond rather than react.

So, if Plan A isn’t working, we can always resort to Plan B.

For example:

If telling your children “play nicely with your sibling” is not working (Plan A), then you can get them to do something different and suggest they both go and sit down away from each other and read a book (Plan B) as an alternative (this is another strategy I suggest in On Track Parenting called How to Use Time and Space to Manage Conflict – Page 91).

This will help you as a parent to practice self-control because you have already thought through the game plan in advance.  And part of your game plan is to resort to Plan B if Plan A is not going the way you want it.

NOW HERE’S A BONUS TIP…

Advanced Decision Making is a learnable skill.

What I encourage you to do is learn the skill for yourself and apply it into your life. Then share the concept with your children.

Now…

The first part, in terms of utilising the skill of Advanced Decision Making is to identify different areas you can implement this concept.

Just take a few moments now to come up with ways as to how you can use it in your personal life or how you can use it in your professional life. Because the more you are able to use it, the better you will become with it. 

That’s my tip for today – Advanced Decision Making.

I encourage you to use it.

I encourage you to play with it.

And as parents, you will find if you adopt and embrace this strategy into your life… it will pay dividends in many ways for the rest of your life.

May you have a great day,

Brad Everton

Committed to empowering those connecting with my message through the power of excellent mind tools, tips and strategies.

P.S. Feel free to pass this blog on to anyone who you feel might benefit from it.

The First Step To Healthy Relationships – Starting Today

Relationships are the key to every interaction. Discover how to have great relationships today.

Interpersonal relationships can be hard work and they nearly ALWAYS require attention (at least if you want to create happy, healthy and strong connections). And I don’t just mean your romantic relationships. I mean:

  • your professional relationships
  • your personal relationships, and
  • the relationship you have with yourself

These are what we call…

The 3 Categories of Relationships

Today I want you to ponder this huge, uncomfortable and in your face question:

“Have I set a relationship goal or am I just leaving my relationship to chance?”

Brad Everton

This question is so important and one we all should be thinking about. 

So…

Let’s get into it!

First, let’s look at professional relationships, which are basically the relationships in our work environment. This includes the interactions we have with our clients, work colleagues, customers or patients, etc.

Second we have our personal relationships. These are the connections with our partner, parents, children, friends or family.

And the third category (which I believe is the most important relationship category of them all) is the relationship with one’s self.

When it comes to relationship skills, I often tell people they are crucial.

And, the key thing we need to keep in mind is that they are not formally taught.

Now…

I truly believe they should be.

But the fact is…

We often learn our relationship skills the hard way, which I refer to as the bachelor of hard knocks.

Maybe you didn’t. Maybe you were lucky enough to have grown up with 2 parents that absolutely loved each other (and every child). Maybe they never fought. And even better, no one in your circle of influence ever had any disagreements at all.

However, the likelihood of this happening is very slim.

On the other hand, over the years you may have experienced relationships difficulties from things like:

  • separation
  • feeling lonely
  • conflict
  • domestic violence
  • bullying and harassment in the workplace
  • depression
  • the death of a loved one

These are just some of the examples of challenges in life that can cause us emotional trauma and lasting psychological distress.  It’s also often the result of poor relationship skills in one or more of the 3 categories of relationships.

That’s why I believe relationship skills are one of the top 5 most important life skills that we need to be working on, developing and enhancing for the rest of our lives.

Theodore Roosevelt (26th president of the United States) said:

“The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Now, what does that tell us about relationships?

It’s basically saying that it is ALL about our people skills and our relationship management skills. And that’s why they are so incredibly important. 

So the question I started with was:

“Have you set a relationship goal or are you leaving your relationship to chance?”

The great news is…

I am going to share some examples of positive relationship goals so you can enjoy more success when connecting with others starting right now.

Relationship Goal #1:

We could be aiming for more understanding in our relationships.

I share the concept of always aim to understand first, then to be understood second. And in fact, one young lady recently shared how by using this concept and sharing it with her partner during a heated disagreement, it allowed them to resolve their differences quicker and easier.

Relationship Goal #2:

Aim for more connection

Relationship Goal #3:

Aim to become a better listener

Relationship Goal #4:

Have a more fun-loving relationship

And these are just a few examples we can set for ourselves.

N.B. If you would like some more relationship advice (counselling an/or therapy) or would like me to help you set some personalised goals, simply contact me on 0458360666 or through our contact page to arrange a time to chat. Helping people get clarity and build stronger relationship is one of my strengths, so be sure to call to start moving towards your greatest relationships today.

Because…

Here is the important thing around all this – these things just won’t happen on their own. They will not happen by chance. You must commit to them.

That’s why it is so important to set relationship goals. Because if you don’t plan these things, they won’t develop. And if you are leaving it to chance, then you are running the risk of experiencing some of those negative consequences I talked about earlier for  when relationships go wrong. 

So, I want you to keep that in mind. I want you to start thinking about your relationships on that level and aiming for something that is going to allow you to create better, happier, more harmonious relationships in your life. 

May you have a great day and a fantastic week. 

Kind regards, 

Brad Everton – Registered Psychologist and International Author

How To Stay Motivated To Achieve Your Goals With Ease

set goals and smash them with this simple trick

Today, what I want to share with you a very exiting concept.  The great thing around this concept is it’s simple… and something everyone (and anyone) can do.  This concept can help you stay on track when you loose your motivation and keep you focused on your goal when you need it.  The concept is:

Celebrate the Progress

I often explain progress to people by saying it is what we are aiming to do in all areas of our lives – our careers, relationships, health and finances.

“Because the name of the game is progress.”

The thing is…

As long as we are making progress in our lives (regardless of how big it is) it always means we are on track.

I share the full concept in On Track Parenting and it has 4 steps. But today, I’m going to keep it short and sweet and just share the second step with you (which will get you started in the right direction).

Celebrate the progress is the second of the four steps.

To put it into simple terms let me share an example from when I was studying my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

My initial goal was to wait until I had completed the degree before I celebrated. And this just did not make sense to me because it always felt like I was just working and working with nothing to show for it.

Besides…

Life is about enjoying the journey.

That’s why I decided it was important to look for ways to celebrate the progress along the way.

So, I decided to celebrate every time I completed an exam or handed in an assignment… because that meant I was on track and making progress.

You see…

It’s important to remember:

“Some progress is better than no progress.”

Exercise is another great way to illustrate the point.

Let’s say you are doing an exercise program and you want to get fit – but you can only walk for 15 minutes. Applying the concept of some is better than none, you can take the approach that 15 minutes is better than 10 minutes. And 10 minutes is better than 5 minutes.

Or…

If all you can do is 20 push ups… well 20 is better than 15, which is better than 10.  And 10 is better than none.

Some is always better than none.

Then as you continue to practise, you will get better and soon you will be doing more than you were before.

The thing to remember is…

“As long as you are making progress, you are on track.”

So, if you ever struggle with your motivation, want to smash out a long-term or challenging goal, or just want to stay focused on a project until it is complete, I invite you to take this concept and find ways to celebrate the progress (no matter how small the progress is).

Our family celebrates our weekly progress by going out to our favourite restaurant at the end of the week for dinner. This way, we are celebrating our progresses together and as a family unit.

Remember…

“The name of the game is progress.”

So, as long as you are making progress (no matter how small), you are on track. Look for the progress you are making in your life (in all areas of your life) and find ways to celebrate it.

By the way…

I provide a lot more ideas and strategies in my book, “On Track Parenting” on how to implement this concept of progress. You can get a copy from ontrackparenting.com. Or call 0458 360 666 and one of our friendly staff will help get it out to you quickly and costly.