0 comments on “Am I sad or depressed?”

Am I sad or depressed?

US trained psychologist in Hong Kong counselling and therapy services

Sadness is an emotion that slows us down and teaches us that we made a mistake, or that something or someone hurt us.  Usually, when we are sad, we are still able to get out of bed and maintain our daily routines.  Depression is a deeper emotion that often feels like darkness or heaviness.  We find ourselves unable to go about our daily routines because we are too tired or unmotivated.  If you have been feeling depressed for more than a couple of months, help from a professional is a good idea.  Here are some warning signs that you might be depressed.

1. Your sleeping habits have changed:  You might find that it feels almost impossible to get out of bed.  You want to sleep for days because when you are sleeping, you can’t feel the pain.  Or you might find that you can no longer sleep at night.  You might feel tired all the time.

2. Your relationships begin to suffer: Your relationships might be suffering because you are so overwhelmed with pain that you feel like you can not deal with anyone else.  You might feel agitated with others and have little empathy for what they are experiencing.  You might withdraw because you do not want to burden anyone else.  This is exactly the time when you should reach out to others who are caring and supportive.

3. You feel hopeless: You begin to feel like you will be suffering forever and that there is nothing you can do to alleviate the pain.  You might feel like you will always fail, never reach your goals or always be stuck.

4. Your body aches for no reason:  You might find that your muscles are sore and stiff, but you haven’t been exercising.  You might also have a change in appetite, either eating too much or too little.  Your body might feel heavy.   Though you feel tired and unmotivated, exercise will help you.

5. You can’t focus: You might not be able to focus at work or school.  You might become easily distracted or feel like you are dreaming.

6. Difficult to find joy in anything:  You might not be able to enjoy things that you used to love, or have a difficult time enjoying anything.

7. Your hygiene has suffered: You feel like taking a shower, doing your hair or brushing your teeth is too much effort.

8. You think badly about yourself: You feel like you are worthless, and that there is little to nothing good about yourself.  You are stuck in a negative mental loop.

Depression can be difficult to overcome on your own.  It is not something to be ashamed of or hidden from others.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Skype or private session available

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Overcoming Rejection”

Overcoming Rejection

Hong Kong counseling therapist services offers private professional therapy - Teenager therapy

Being rejected is a sign that you have pushed yourself out of your comfort zone and have tried to achieve something.  Rejection can sting and hurt our self-esteem if we don’t manage it properly.  We can use rejection to learn and gain what we originally set out for. Here are some pointers on how you can use rejection to your advantage.

1. Create some space to feel your emotions.  Avoiding your emotions by distracting yourself, using alcohol or drugs will eventually make you feel worse.  You can make space for your emotions by acknowledging and accepting the fear, loneliness or sadness that might come from rejection.  You do not need to let your emotions control you, but you can get comfortable with them by accepting that your emotions are there to teach you something.  Sadness allows us to slow down and analyze, fear pushes us out of our comfort zone, and loneliness enables us to reach out.

2. What did you learn? Rejection enables us to take a step back and learn about our priorities, goals, motivations and what we can do better next time.

3. Practice self-compassion.  Speak kindly to yourself.  Imagine you are speaking to a close friend who has just been rejected.  Would you belittle them or make them feel bad about themselves?  Or would you encourage them to try again and acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes?  Do something kind for yourself on a daily basis, whether it is meditation, reading a book, getting a massage, or just spending time alone to reflect.

4. Reach out for social support.  When we feel down, it is easy to isolate ourselves.  Social support reminds us that we are not alone and that others have gone through what we have gone through.  Sometimes just talking about it with your friends or family helps you to feel better.

5. You are so much more than this one rejection.  Remember that this rejection has nothing to do with who you are as a person.  The rejection does not mean that you are fundamentally flawed.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Becoming confident after abuse.”

Becoming confident after abuse.

US trained psychologist offering therapy services

If you have been abused as a child or as an adult, you might feel worthless.  If as a child you underwent neglect, rejection or abuse from your parents, confidence might be harder to find.  A child who has experienced verbal abuse and neglect will begin to believe that they are worthless and horrible.  The damage from abuse might take years to undo, here are some pointers to set you in the right direction.

1. Don’t judge yourself or others. When you judge other people, you also judge yourself.  If you change your mindset to acceptance of others, you also learn how to accept yourself.  This takes patience and practice as it is human nature to judge.

2. Speak kindly to yourself.  Notice when you are abusing yourself and rephrase.  For example, “I’m an idiot,” becomes, “I am capable of fixing that mistake.  I can handle this.”  Speak to yourself like you would speak to someone that you respect and admire.

3. Understand the abuse has nothing to do with you. When you are abused, you might begin to believe that you deserved it, or that you are worthless.  Understand that people who are happy and comfortable with themselves do not abuse others.  Abusers tend to be people who are hurting deeply and want to control by devaluing others.  Break the cycle of abuse by healing your emotional wounds and treating yourself and others with respect and compassion.

4. Set boundaries.  Learn how to communicate and put your needs before the needs of others.  Don’t allow people to violate or own your physical or psychological space.

5. Explore your fears and insecurities.  When we have been abused, we might have more fear of rejection and failure than others.  Be brave enough to look at your insecurities and ask if they are preventing you from reaching your potential.  Some fear is a liar.  You are not worthless, and you can accomplish goals.

6. Set goals and accomplish them: Push through your self-doubt and set manageable goals for yourself.  As you reach your goals, you become more confident.  Believe in yourself and tell yourself you can handle it.

7. Reach out for support: Speak to those who support you or reach out for professional help.  The effects of abuse can be unconscious and hard to detect.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Perception is everything”

Perception is everything

Hong Kong counselling therapy services

Everyone views the world through the lens of their own reality.  In a sense, we all live in a different universe.  Though we may be experiencing the same events, the way we interpret the event may be different.  When we are depressed, anxious or grieving, we have a tendency to forget that things will get better.  When all you can see is darkness, you forget that the other side of darkness is light.

For example, you might feel rejected by a job, family, society or someone you love.  One person might see the rejection as an opportunity to learn and grow, to find another solution to what they want.  And another person might see the rejection as proof that they are a failure.  Everyone fails sometimes.  What counts is how you react to the failure or rejection.

When we are grieving, depressed or anxious, we can’t understand how we will move past our intense emotions.  We can’t understand how other people can be so happy when we are suffering so.  Each feeling that we have gives us information.  Grief teaches us to appreciate the ones that we love, depression lets us know that something is out of balance, and anxiety tells us that we do not feel safe.  We can use these emotions to become introspective and more aware of who we are.  Here are some points to perception and how it can hurt or heal us:

1. We are a product of our genes and environment: When we fail to understand that other people see the world differently than us, miscommunication and tension develop.  We can have healthier and happier relationships in business and in our personal lives if we take the time to listen to someone else’s perception without judgement.

2. Focus on abundance and not lack: Sometimes we get stuck in the negative cycle of longing for what we don’t have.  This might make us anxious or depressed.  If we focus on what we do have, we become calmer and more focused.  Appreciation and gratitude is an easy trick to be a happier person.

3. Take criticism with a grain of salt: Sometimes people criticise us in a way that helps us to grow and develop.  This sort of criticism is coming from a place of care and love.  Destructive criticism comes from a place of jealousy or judgement and should be filtered out.  Do not internalise other people’s negativity towards you as it tends to be a projection of how they feel about themselves.

4. Be patient with yourself: Sometimes we might feel annoyed with ourselves because we think that our emotions are a sign of weakness.  This is not helpful.  When you feel down, give yourself some space.  Space to respect and grow from your emotions, and space from self-judgement and criticism.

5. Know yourself: Understand your emotions and what triggers them.  Knowing yourself helps you to avoid conflict and understand what you need to meet your goals.

6. Social support: Spend time with people who offer emotional support and support your growth as a person.  Stay away from people who are motivated by jealousy and anger.

7. Reach out to a professional: If you feel unmotivated, and can’t find joy in anything, it is a good idea to ask for help from an expert.  A professional can help you to understand yourself better and help you reach your full potential.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist

Reach out to Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for a private or skype session

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “The Little Details Of Parenting”

The Little Details Of Parenting

Hong Kong psychological and therapy services

Parenting is both a rewarding and challenging task.  There is no such thing as a perfect parent; just a well informed good enough parent.  Certain parenting behaviours that have been passed down from generation to generation have dire consequences.  The current generation has pressure from all directions, academically and socially.  It is important that the home is a safe place for everyone in the family to retreat too as parents are also tired and stressed.  There are some key points to remember that will ensure a safe and stress-free environment for parents and children.  Most of you reading this article, I am sure, know not to treat children as such.  However, certain parenting habits are critical for our children’s future.  Here are some typical examples of practices that parents may do but may not realise the effects on children;

Physical punishment is not a good idea.

Children are smaller and weaker than adults, and often feel powerless.  When you hit your child or punish them physically, you teach them that the world is not a safe place.  This can lead to difficulties for children to develop relationships with peers and other adults.  It may also lead to depression, anxiety and in severe cases PTSD.  Physical punishment also teaches children that it is ok to physically punish others.  This may also result in more aggression at school.  Bullies are a prime example of children who are victims of domestic violence.  It does not just end at school, in fact, researchers have found a link between men who abuse their wives or girlfriends were most likely exposed to domestic violence as children.  (http://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/pn.47.1.psychnews_47_1_12-a)

Consequences of neglect.

When you neglect children physically or emotionally, they are more likely to develop symptoms of depression. Neglected children fail to thrive and have a difficult time finding meaning in life and other relationships.This is because they believe that they are not good enough to be loved. This has severe consequences for a child’s self-esteem.  Neglected children tend to achieve less in school, and lose motivation.  Neglected children will have a slower brain development, which can lead to poor physical health later in life.  When neglected children become adults, they tend to show signs of problems in social skills, learning and cognitive disabilities, and they struggle maintaining relationships.

Consequences of verbal abuse.

Children have an inner dialogue that is a reflection of their parent’s voices.  When you tell a child he is lazy, fat, stupid, etc.; he will believe he is lazy, fat or stupid.  When a child believes this, they act that way.  They lose motivation and their self-esteem drops.  Negative self-talk that results from verbal abuse often leads to symptoms of depression and lowers your child’s ability to be resilient.  If your child needs to change behaviour, such as grades in school, provide constructive criticism.  For example, “You have been doing well this year in English, but we need to figure out how we can improve your math skills.  Let’s sit down together and work on your addition.”  What many parents may not know is that verbal abuse has long-lasting effects on a child and it can take decades to overcome.  It can also affect the child’s brain development.  “Born into a safe, attentive, and attuned environment, the child’s brain develops normally; when born into one which is either unsupportive or hostile, the brain does not.”  Studies show that various parts of the brain are affected by a hostile situation.  (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tech-support/201611/the-long-lasting-pain-childhood-verbal-abuse)

Children model behaviour; they will do what you do.

Children learn how to cope with emotions by watching you.If you want your child to speak about their emotions instead of shouting or throwing things, you need to show them how to do this.If you want your child to show you respect, you need to also show your child respect.Children are little people and should be treated like little people.Children are kinesthetic and often feel what you are feeling.When you are angry, they will feel angry.A good rule is to breathe and speak in a calm voice. Children are a blank canvas on which their world would be shaped and seen depending on what you choose to expose them to.

What we can do as parents:

A child will be more resilient and motivated when he feels safe.  To create a safe environment, predictability is required.  Predictability is ensured when the child is aware of all of the rules and consequences.  If you know that your child will want to pour glue on the table, before you give them glue say, “If you pour this glue on the table I will take it away, and you will have to clean up the mess.”  Ask them if they understand before you give them the glue.  This way there will be a less likely chance they pour the glue on the table, and if they do, they are less likely to have a temper tantrum when you take the glue away.

A child’s play is his work.  When you need them to stop playing, always warn them that they have five minutes left to play before they clean up.  This way they are not surprised when it is time to put the toys away.

It is also a good idea to let children know what will be happening that day.  Try to keep surprises and unpredictability to a minimum.

Practice self-care and compassion.

Parenting is difficult when you are tired and stressed.  Make sure to take time out for yourself; you deserve it.  Parents often feel guilty for this, but timeout leads to a more patient and understanding parent.

Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Connecting Through Play”

Connecting Through Play

Hong Kong psychologist counselling services-child therapy

People are social and long for human connection.  This connection includes the knowledge that you are seen and heard, and that you are respected and appreciated for who you are.  Children also need human connection; we can connect with them through play.  Play is a child’s way to innovate, problem solve and relax.  When we play with our children, we can teach them how to interact and play with other children on the playground or at home.  Here are some quick tips on how you and your child can connect and build a strong relationship through play.

Always ask first

This models the kind of behaviour that you want them to have with their siblings and other children.

Ask your child if you can play with them.  If they say no, do not be offended.  They might be in the middle of figuring out a solution to a problem they have been working on.
Ask them which toy they want you to play with.

Let them lead the play

This shows your child that you care about them and that you are willing to step into their world.

Do not tell them what you two are going to play.  Follow their lead.  Ask, what do you want to play?  What do you want me to do?

Make eye contact and excited facial expressions

This helps your child feel seen and loved.  When you act excited, they will be excited.

Sit on the floor with them; get down on their level.

Children have little control or power.  This is a way to show them that the two of you are on the same level leading to a deeper connection.

Set boundaries, rules and expectations. 

Let them know that hands and feet are for playing and not kicking.  Explain that if they throw toys, they will be taken away.  Rules and boundaries keep a child feeling secure.  This way he understands what is appropriate behaviour and what consequences will be if rules are broken.  The rules and boundaries set are also for parents to follow.  Parents also should not hit, kick or throw.
Monica_in

Dr Monica Borschel is Clinical Psychologist in Hong Kong

Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Increasing Self-Confidence”

Increasing Self-Confidence

Hong Kong Psychologist Counselling Therapist

Standing in the train or lift can be a scrutinising experience in Hong Kong, as well as other international cities. We all like to look at our peers to socially compare ourselves to them, and them to us. This increases or decreases our false sense of self.  The false sense of self is the self that is attached to external validation, meaning the approval of others.

Our self-esteem rises and falls depending on our accomplishments, failures, and health of our physical body. When we are accomplishing things such as excelling in a sport, academics, relationships, or our career; we are on top of the world. When we experience failure loss or rejection, our confidence and self-esteem decrease.

The key to balancing our self-esteem, our confidence and our self-image is to realise that wins and fails are only temporary. Nothing lasts forever. Recognise that you are more than those circumstances, more than your accomplishments and your failures. Learn to recognise that approval and security come from within yourself.

Some of us may feel unsure of who we are because we’ve let our parents, our friends, authority figures or society tell us who we should and should not be. There may be points in your life where you are being pulled in many different directions by many different people.

Here are some key points to enhance your self-confidence along your journey to self-discovery

Recognise and reframe negative self-talk.

When we recognise that we have a cynical internal monologue – such as calling ourselves “stupid, fat, or ugly,” we can reframe that thought to constructive criticism. For example, “My boss is upset with my performance. I need to try to make it to work on time and make sure that I get more sleep.” Instead of “I’m a worthless failure.” The first phrase provides a workable situation that enhances growth, whereas the second phrase leaves you unmotivated.

Grow as a human being.

Set goals and challenge yourself. When you accomplish goals, you feel better about yourself. On the journey to self-growth and goals, we might meet some failure or rejection. Realise this is normal and everyone faces these challenges. Allow the failure and rejection to inspire you to try again or find another creative avenue.  When a child is learning to walk, he falls and then gets up.  He might cry for a minute, but he always tries again.  As we mature, we encounter more failure and rejection, we can either get up or give up.  Those who give up will never know what they are truly capable of.

Sit in non-judgement as much as possible.

Human beings are judgemental by nature. We have been taught since day one to be “good” and not “bad.”  When we label people, we fail to recognise that all of us are a unique blend of biology, culture, and beliefs. When you accept that people are living their reality based on their life experiences, you realise that there is nothing to judge.  This non-judgment helps you to feel more comfortable in your own skin because you will also stop judging yourself as much.  You begin to realise that it is a waste of energy and time to judge others, just as it is for others to judge you.  Focus on yourself and what you need to accomplish to become a better person.

Have boundaries.

Don’t allow others to take more of your time, energy or resources than you can give. Do not let others abuse you emotionally, verbally, or physically.  It is ok to say no.  When you give more than you want to, you become fatigued and drained.  Often times this may lead to resentment.  If you enjoy helping others, make sure that you are helping yourself as well.

Get rid of toxic people

Toxic people are people who treat you with disrespect or make you feel bad about yourself. Start to recognise your emotional state around others and be curious about that. Surround yourself with people who have similar goals and objectives as you. If you have a toxic boss or co-worker and you need to deal with them, don’t take their negative behaviour personally. Here is another excellent article on how to manage these sorts of people

http://www.entrepreneur.stfi.re/article/290372?sf=nxprpeg#aa

Remain balanced

When we are out of balance physically, emotionally, or spiritually, we feel down. To remain physically stable, eat nutritiously and exercise as well as get enough sleep. Connect with yourself through meditation and self-reflection to stay spiritually balanced. Remain emotionally balanced by recognising and respecting your emotions as well as the feelings of others. Emotions give us information about our behaviour as well as the behaviour of others.

Practice gratitude

Express appreciation to those around you who are kind or do kind things for you. Express gratitude towards yourself and your body. Expressing gratitude rewires our brain to feel and think positively.  When we feel positive, we attract positive people into our lives.  The majority of people in the world want to be appreciated and respected.  Expressing gratitude to others enhances relationships with others and yourself.

Monica_94

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Love and attraction”

Love and attraction

Hong Kong Psychologist offering counselling and therapy services

Attraction is both physical and psychological.

Psychologically we may be attracted to people for many reasons. We tend to be attracted to people who: have the same or complete opposite personality traits as we do, seem familiar because we see them often, or remind us of one of our parents. We may also be psychologically attracted to certain people based on our culture or religion. Unfortunately, if we have been abused as a child, we can be attracted to people who abuse us.

The Beginning Phase of Romance

In the beginning phase of dating, the hormone oxytocin and the brain chemical dopamine leave you feeling high. Just like a drug, you physically yearn for this other person and may find yourself thinking about them often. This is the lust phase. During this phase, your body might overrule your brain. During this phase, it is easy to fall in love with the person you think you are dating, rather than who that person truly is.

During this phase, do not rush into a relationship.  Ask your partner questions about who they are and their background to get a better sense of who they are as a person.  How do they cope with disappointment, and manage other family and peer relationships?  Do they have the same ethics as you?  Do they want the same thing out of a relationship as you do?  Does this person leave you feeling drained or energised?  What does this person expect from you and what do you expect from them?

The Transition Phase into Love or Loss

At some point, your hormones and dopamine levels stabilise, and you begin to analyse the other person as a romantic partner. If you have had a history of abuse or low self-esteem, this phase may frighten you. You may seek to desperately cling to or avoid your new romantic partner. If your new romantic partner is also feeling avoidant, this partnership will most likely lead to loss rather than love.

Here is a scenario to illustrate this point:  Frank is a man who recently got out of a long-term relationship.  His heart is broken, and he is scared to get into a new relationship.  However, he has been dating Sally for the past four months because he is attracted to her physically.  At first, the chemistry was great, but now he finds that Sally wants to settle down and have children. He has told her that he does not want that.  Now Sally has become clingy and texts his phone constantly to see where he is.  She is concerned that he is with another woman.  She fears that she is going to lose him.  Sally does not believe that she is worthy of love because she grew up in a verbally abusive home.  Frank is normally secure with love, but since he just got out of a relationship, he is afraid to get into another relationship.  The more Frank avoids Sally, the more clingy Sally becomes, and the more clingy Sally becomes, the more avoidant Frank becomes.

In an ideal situation, both partners would feel that they are worthy of love and that their partner is worthy of love. Both partners would recognise that both individuals have needs within and outside of the relationship.   Both partners would want the same thing out of the relationship as the other.  For example, both are ready to commit, or both just want to be friends.

Love

Love and commitment are not always the same. For a committed relationship to take place, both people need to be looking for commitment. Both people need to accept the other person for their strengths and flaws. This is often easier said than done. Often in relationships, the fear of losing the other brings our insecurities to the surface. If both partners can communicate effectively, this can bring two people closer together. Love is saying “you are a person, not a possession. I respect your needs as I respect my own. I will not ask you to change your personal identity to fit mine, and I will not change my personal identity to fit yours. I am an individual, but I am a member of your team, I am on your side.”

Monica_94

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Understanding your teenager”

Understanding your teenager

Hong Kong psychologist offering teen therapy

Parents and teenagers often get frustrated with one another because they feel as if they are misunderstood and unheard.  As a parent, if you understand some of the developmental needs of a teenager, you may feel less stressed when they act out.   Here are some key points on how you can better communicate with your teenager.

1. Social Pressure: Teenagers are under pressure to fit in with their social group.  They are constantly looking for validation from their peer group because they have not yet developed a solid sense of identity.  They might ask to do things their friends are doing, or have what their friends have so that they fit in. It is important to be flexible with this while still setting clear boundaries around what is safe and reasonable for your teenager.

2. Rejection: Teenagers often feel rejected if they have not found a peer group that they fit into.  They might also feel rejected by a love interest.  This sense of rejection can be horrible for your teen’s self-esteem.  It is essential that they come home to a safe space that is free of judgement.  As a parent, you might feel stressed by your teenager’s emotions and actions.  It is in these moments that you remind your teenager that you love them unconditionally, but you have to set boundaries to keep them safe.

3. Cutting: Sometimes teenagers feel overwhelming emotional pain, rejection or pressure.  They might resort to cutting to punish themselves, distract themselves from the emotional pain or to help them feel something other than numb.  If your teenager is frequently cutting, a professional should be consulted.

4. Self-Identity: Sometimes it might seem like teenagers are rejecting their parents.  This is in part because they are forming a self-identity.  This is part of their developmental process as they figure out who they are.  Try not to take this personally as it will increase conflict.  Instead, ask what activity you can do with them.  Set time aside to be with them.

5. Respect: Teenagers are often said to be disrespectful.  People in general, including teenagers, are more likely to respect those that they feel offer them respect.  If your teenager is disrespectful, be curious if you are respecting them.  Make sure to take the time to listen to their concerns.

6. Sleep: Teenagers need more sleep than adults.  Allow them to sleep in on the weekends.  Try to get them to sleep earlier at night.  Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help with fatigue.

7. Impulsivity: Teenagers are more impulsive than adults because they are still developing the frontal lobe region of their brain.  This can be dangerous if they are having suicidal thoughts, cutting or abusing substances.

If you feel overwhelmed by your teenager’s emotions and behaviours, reach out to a professional.  Practice compassion and empathy towards yourself and your teenager.

Monica_94

Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

0 comments on “Easing Academic Stress in the Home.”

Easing Academic Stress in the Home.

Hong Kong counselling therapist services-child therapy

Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. 1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise in order to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

Dr Monica Borschel is a US trained Clinical Psychologist Get in touch with Dr. Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com for an individual or Skype session.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel