Christine Daverio, Lcsw -  Child, Adolescent and Adult Mental Health Therapist
 
 
Mind Your Brain-Know Your Mind
 
"Ultimately, happiness comes down to choosing between the discomfort of becoming aware of your mental afflictions and the discomfort of being ruled by them." Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
 
Our brains are constantly changing and growing-That's the Good News. Sometimes our brains do get stuck in old ways' thats the hard part.
 
The survival part of our brain sends us into fight, flight or freeze reactions no matter how minor the possibility of threat.
 
Sometimes fight, flight and freeze are very important signals—other times it’s an old reaction to a non threatening situation.
 
This is true for adults and children. The nervous system of a child is not fully developed. So imagine how difficult for kids and adolescents to learn self control!
 
If we can learn to be with ourselves with patience., we can then change our outdated reactions. When we are encouraging to ourselves we are "on our own side". 
 
Guiding children to "be on their own side" is the best way to help them. Doing this takes time and repetition and much of your own patience.
 
Here are some simple ways to balance your nervous system.They will activate your parasympathetic nervous system. This is the part of your body that helps to regulate us toward calm and balance.
 
1. Breathe; take in deep breaths-opening to feed your body and brain with oxygen.
2. Gently massage the back of your neck or gently touch the area above your upper lip.   
3. Finding the center of your chest above your sternum-breath into it or simply tap or apply gentle pressure, this can help calm you.
4. Remember something good—calling in the good! Something we love.
5. Surround yourself with supportive people.
6. Bring in your prefrontal cortex (the thinking part of our brain) and evaluate the situation. Put distance between you and the situation and look for facts and a balanced point of view. 
 
All of the above is very helpful—find what works for you. No need to avoid-or numb yourself from any experience. Face the unhappiness but know that even if your brain reacts fiercely-you can wait for the reaction to die down, problem solve or-let go….allow your parasympathetic nervous system to work for you.