When the stress in your life just doesn’t let up, and it feels like you have no support to get through the day it can seem like there’s nothing that can make it better.
But there are resources that can help, and this kind of stress, known as “toxic stress”, doesn’t have to define your life.
Everyone needs support in difficult times, but it can feel hard to find, especially when experiencing toxic stress means making plans is even more difficult than usual!
With toxic stress, parent may have difficulty maintaining routine in their life. It can be harder to get up on time, think ahead about travel times, or plan out transportation.
Trauma is also held in our bodies. A physical response is the first reaction. You might not sleep well, have an increased heart rate, the sweats, nightmares, or negative thoughts in your head.
Parents can come in being aggressive, even threatening or hostile. You’re activated by what’s happening, and once you’re in an activated state, it’s hard to get out of it.
I help parents take a couple deep breaths and pause. “Grounding” exercises are simple things like sitting down, putting your feet on the ground, your back against a chair, and closing your eyes. Saying to yourself, “I’m planted, I’m present, I’m here right now” and feeling your body in the chair.
Also, playing with your child can create a moment of connection and help to build resilience.
Toxic stress is never the whole story, even for those who may have experienced a lot of it, or are feeling it now. Building resilience and strength in families and communities is one of the most important investments we can make as a society.
(Source: Center of the Developing Child – Harvard University)
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If you are not in my Conscious Parent Accelerator Program yet, it will be very hard to change your default reactivity on your own: Here’s what one parent said about the program:
I just wanted to say I’m very happy I’m taking this course now. I’m learning a lot of things I didn’t know. Although I was expecting to go straight into our children, I find that the introspection you prompted at the beginning was absolutely necessary. I’m actually surprised that after years of therapy and self improvement I still find all these emotions and unresolved conflicts in me. Somehow, the fact that it’s a course and not therapy makes me wonder if now I’ll finally be able to close those chapters in my life that are still clearly open. I can see that the tools you are giving me are for life. I also like the small group discussions; I find there’s a lot to gain when others put into words things I may be struggling to describe, or that I thought I had overcome but someone expresses it more clearly now and I can see it under new light.
I can’t wait for the rest of the course!