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    A book for kids about anxiety. Kids can do amazing things with the right information. Understanding

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  • Hey Awesome

    If kids with anxiety could see themselves the way we see them, they would feel so much bigger than

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    The animals were mighty and magnificent, but they were miserable! For way too long, they'd been

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About Karen Young

Karen has worked as a psychologist in private practice and in educational and organisational settings. She has lectured and has extensive experience in the facilitation of personal growth. Her honours degree in Psychology and Masters in Gestalt Therapy have come in handy at times.

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A little while ago, Hey Sigmund was nominated for the 'Australia Post Local Business Hero' Awards. A little while after that, we received the news that we'd won!

Shipping is such an important part of what we do here. Creating the products is just the beginning - but how to get them into your sweet hands. Australia Post make this happen all throughout Australia and the world. We've sent well over 3000 orders just this year - and it's only July. 

Look, I wish I could say that the only things it takes to run a business are cake, comfy pants and a decent playlist, but no. That would be two things - lovely (so lovely) and a fib. What matters are the people who put their trust in us and our products (you❤️) and the businesses and people we connect to and partner with. Like all important things, we can't do it on our own. Thanks Australia Post. We couldn't do it without you.❤️
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#AuspostLBH.
The same part of the brain children need to safely cross a busy road is the same part they need to regulate. The development of this part takes time, and lots of experience. 

We need to keep our expectations developmentally appropriate. As with all important things, children don’t learn from harsh words or a harsh responses. None of us do. They learn by watching, and by doing with us, over and over. 

Let go of any agenda to ‘get them to behave’ or to ‘control themselves’. The more we hold on to an agenda, the more impatient we’ll be, and the more disappointed or angry we’ll be when things don’t go as expected.

Just like crossing the road, the capacity for self-regulation will emerge in time, provided they have the right experience. The experience they need is our calm, strong, loving presence in the face of their big feelings. Think of it like being their anchor in their emotional storm. Breathe, feel what they feel, and be with. Then wait for the storm to pass. You don’t need to fix anything. They aren’t broken. This is part of how they grow, not a diversion from it. 

During big feelings, preserve your connection as much as you can. This will maximise your influence when things come back to calm. This is the time to talk about what’s happened, what can be done differently next time, and any putting right that might be needed. When they are calm, they’ll be in a brain state more compatible with learning. There’s no hurry for this.

In the same way we have to keep our expectations of our children developmentally appropriate, we have to keep our expectations of ourselves humanly appropriate. Sometimes we’ll lose our minds (literally, lose our thinking minds) and go back to impulse and instinct when we’re in front of big feelings. We’re human, and that’s what humans do sometimes. A child in big feelings will trigger our own fight or flight, but instead of fighting or fleeing for them, we might be driven to fight with them or flee from them. If this happens, repair the rupture as soon as you can. This is an opportunity to model humility, the okay-ness of imperfection, responsibility (response-ability) and putting things right - all important growth points.♥️
Big behaviour comes from big feelings, and behind all big feelings is an unmet need. This might be a need for connection, power and influence, sleep, movement, food, a felt sense of mattering, being seen, fairness or justice - so many things. 

Before we can talk through what’s happened, what they might need, or how to put right the fallout from their behaviour, we have to bring the brain back to felt safety. It’s a necessary part of bringing the brain to a state where it can learn and be open to our influence. Validation does this. 

It doesn’t mean we agree with their behaviour or the reason for their behaviour. It says, ‘I see there is something happening here that doesn’t feel okay.’ It makes our intent clear, and our intent is to see them, hear them, and be with them. 

Flag the behaviour if you need to: ‘I know how angry you are with me. Angry is okay. Those words aren’t. I’m right here.’ Then, move quickly to the relationship. This can look like acknowledging the feeling, the need behind the feeling, or being with them without needing them to be different for a while. 

Validation lets us do the work from within the relationship. It’s from here that we will have the most influence, be most able to understand, or redirect, or talk about what needs to happen next. It lets us connect with them, which is necessary if we want to lead them.♥️
‘Scary safe’ things (brave, growthful, new things) will also feel like ‘scary dangerous’ things. Anxiety can land hard for both and drive avoidance (flight) or fight. Of course there will be times when avoidance is exactly the right response, and sometimes it won’t be. 

One of our very important roles as their important adults is to help them recognise that the discomfort of anxiety doesn’t always mean a stop sign. Often, it’s a call to brave, and a signal that you’re about to do something new, hard, or growthful.

Sometimes the discomfort of anxiety means it’s time to get safe. Sometimes it means it’s time be brave. Anxiety will feel the same for both. 

Growth is about learning that there is a difference, and being willing to handle the discomfort that comes with brave things, rather than avoiding it. The problem is that by avoiding that discomfort, they will also be avoiding those brave, growthful things and the opportunity to learn that they can truly do more than they think they can. 

This will take time, and that’s okay. Theres no hurry. It can happen in teeny steps. Sometimes it might look like taking one little step that was braver than last time. Sometimes it might look like staying with the discomfort of anxiety for a minute longer than last time. Sometimes that will be enough. 

Building  brave isn’t about outcome, it’s about process. It’s about gently exposing them to the experiences that show them that they will always be stronger, braver and more capable than they think.♥️
Faces so often say so more than our words ever could. Even more than words and behaviour, faces tell the story of where we (and our nervous systems) are right now. Receive their joyful faces and their brave faces. Their scared faces and their sad faces. When their words are spicy and big their behaviour is bigger, receive their faces. Their faces won’t lie. And neither do ours. By receiving their faces it will open the way to show them, ‘I see you. I feel you. I’m with you.’♥️

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