How to cope with back to school stress – chimp management style!

What a fabulous summer!  I hope all my readers took some time out to relax, spend time with family and friends and discover new horizons. Now, for many families, it's back to school mode - and with this comes the inevitable stress.  So, a few questions for you all - do you wonder -

  • Why you overreact in a situation at home or at work that wasn’t serious?
  • Why you feel constantly on alert and worry about things so much?
  • Why your brain seems to race and feel more stressed at night?

Well, it’s because your chimp is reacting, not you!  Let me explain!

On holiday this summer, I re-read an awesome book called 'The Chimp Paradox' by Professor Steve Peters.  The book simplifies the complicated world of neural science and explains why we often behave in a way that we don’t want to and why we can’t always control it. My recommendation is that you read the book as it's packed with excellent material and tips.

With 'back to school' getting every nearer (a very stressful time for all family members) I want to share my top 3 learning takeaways with you to ease that stress -

1.       Understand and respect your chimp

  •  Your chimp is a key part of your brain that is hard wired and designed to help you survive (and stills thinks it is in the jungle!)
  • Every situation you experience in life will always get presented to the chimp first
  • It thinks and reacts to situations emotionally and irrationally often with paranoia, catastrophising, and black and white thinking
  • The chimp is in total control at night

You are probably starting to understand why you don’t always feel in control of your thoughts. As Steve Peters says - “Whenever you are having feelings, thoughts or behaviours that you don’t want or welcome, you’re being hijacked by your chimp!”

2.       You don’t have to be constantly hijacked!

  • The good news is that there are two other areas of the brain that can calm down and manage the chimp
  • Your human brain reacts and thinks logically, it is evidence based (works on facts and truths), see things in context with perspective and is open minded

Here’s a personal example to illustrate how the chimp and human brain view the same situation very differently.  On the first morning of our summer holiday, tired after a late arrival the night before, my partner and I went out onto our balcony (on the 13th floor) to admire the sea view, then realised the door was stuck.  We tried three times but it wouldn’t open and both our phones were inside the apartment!

The chimp reaction was - aaarrgghhh!  We’re stuck out here, it’s hot, we’ll get dehydrated or even worse, no-one is around to help or hear our cries!!

The human reaction was - let’s try it again, look for anything blocking the door, how could this have happened, we didn’t turn a key, where is the locking part?  This doesn’t make sense, try it again (didn’t budge), try a different technique of wobbling it a bit. After 8 minutes (which felt like a lot longer!) the wobble worked, but both our chimps were getting slightly stressed about the whole thing and getting annoyed with each other! I know if my son had been with us, the chimp hijacking would have been much worse!  When we argue with family members, worry about something or feel anxious, the chimp is in control.  I’m sure you can think of situations you’ve been in where the emotional chimp brain has taken over instead of the logical human brain.

The other element of your brain which manages the chimp is your computer. This holds your view of the world, experiences, beliefs and values. The computer is the most powerful element as both the human and the chimp always use the computer as the ultimate reference source.

3.       To get the most out of life you need effective “chimp” management

Your chimp is with you for life and will never change, so the key to a happy life is to find ways to nurture and manage it:-

 

  • Ideally be in bed by 10.30pm to get a good sleep so the logical brain can recharge and don’t make any decisions at night time when the chimp is on duty
  • Recognise and take away any extra pressures or expectations that you are placing on yourself or others that are not helpful or realistic so you can all relax more e.g. have to be on time, has to be perfect, can’t let anyone down, can’t say no, has to be done in this way
  • Find ways and time to relax – the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed your chimp is!

Building up your self esteem, self confidence and identifying any unhelpful emotions or beliefs in your computer (your subconscious brain) that are holding you back include feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, fear of failure or not feeling not good enough. To effectively remove unhelpful emotions and change limiting beliefs held in your computer, you need to access the subconscious mind (which you can’t just do through talking) so talk to a professional like myself.

Every week, I help my clients to relax, to re-balance their body and mind and expertly connect them to their unique computer allowing them to make the necessary changes to get the most out of life. Moving from feelings of anxiety to calm, from fear to confidence, from restrictions in life to maximum enjoyment.  I've recently helped Emily and Viv:-

"I’ve gone from feeling total overwhelm, tiredness and anxiety every day to feeling calm, self confident and alive again - it has been life changing" – Emily, Hampton

“The emotional freedom and power you have given me feels like winning the golden ticket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I cannot thank you enough.” Viv, Surbiton

For more information on ways to help you and your family with the back to school stresses including a practical technique to instantly calm the chimp down, please talk to me.

If you would like to nurture and manage your chimp by recharging, relaxing and re-balancing, I’m offering a 15% discount on sessions that are booked in September - just mention this blog.  All readers are welcome to a 30 minute for £30 taster session.

Lou

 

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

 

 

Guest blog by Julie Clark, Nutritional Therapist - How to know if your child has a food intolerance

This month I'm delighted to post a guest blog from Julie Clark, Nutritional Therapist, on the subject of food intolerance in children.  This is an insightful blog for all parents.  Please place any comments/questions on the page too.

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How to know if your child has a food intolerance (not to be confused with food allergy)?

I have rather a lot of experience and knowledge of food intolerance. Not just professionally but also personally.  In this blog, I give you the most common reasons that children experience the symptoms of food intolerance. You will be given the signs to look out for – some of which may surprise you!  You will also find out what to do if you suspect your child has a problem. From going to the GP to getting a private test done.

You need to know this first

How to know if your child has a food intolerance (not to be confused with food allergy)?

Food intolerance is not to be confused with a food allergy. An allergy is a full blown, immediate immune response. This can be life threatening. Those with a food allergy (i.e. peanut allergy) must completely avoid the food and carry medication to counter the effects of accidental consumption.  If you suspect a food allergy (and you will know) then it is likely to have been an emergency. A food allergy will be diagnosed and treated by your GP/Consultant. It is unusual to seek private help with regards to a true food allergy; however, a nutritionist can help you plan your diet if you need to exclude a food.

What is food intolerance?

Cases of food intolerance have been on the rise in recent years, especially in young children. Personally, I have my views on this, which I won’t go in to here (it involves the gut ecology) and there are many who feel it’s rather ‘fashionable’ to be intolerant! Speaking from experience there is nothing ‘trendy’ about having to avoid certain foods. It can be incredibly isolating, anti-social, embarrassing, costly, time-consuming and incredibly inconvenient!

The Factors

When I see babies and children there is often a common theme that makes them more likely to be susceptible to food intolerance.

1.       Family history

2.       Born by C-Section

3.       Early exposure to cow’s milk (i.e. formula feeding in the first 6 weeks)

4.       Mother’s health during pregnancy (stress is a major factor)

5.       Severe tummy bug or food poisoning at an early age

6.       Use of antibiotics

7.       Colic or reflux (also a symptom)

8.       Eczema and/or asthma (also a symptom)

The Symptoms

Your baby or child may have many of the symptoms below or just one or two.

·       Bowels: loose stools, constipation, undigested foods, unusual colour of stool, blood in stool, mucous in stool. Basically, anything that just isn’t normal (normal is light brown sausage shaped stool!)

·       Urinary: bed wetting, constant need for the toilet

·       Digestion: reflux, tummy pains, bloating, noisy stomach, offensive gas, lots of gas, solid tummy

·       Skin: rashes, redness, dry skin, eczema, dark circles under the eyes

·       Immune System: excess mucous, constant cough, susceptible to illness, recurrent ear, nose & throat infections, croup, asthma, chest infections, hay fever

·       Physical: rocking, rigid/stiff, repeated actions (like tapping constantly), clumsiness

·       Sleep: disturbed sleep

·       Mood: tearful, overwhelmed, severe mood swings, emotional, angry, perceived as naughty, link with ADHD, anxious, unhappy

·       Growth & Development: failure to thrive, low weight, not hitting usual milestones

·       Energy: big swings in energy

Quite often a parent will say to me “my child just doesn’t seem quite right or settled”.

There is a HUGE emotional link with food intolerance and this can affect behaviour and mood. There is a big link between the gut, mind and immune system.

What to do?

Write a food diary. If your baby is younger than 6 months and you are breastfeeding then keep a diary of your food intake. Note the symptoms along with the food diary. Food intolerance can give a delayed onset reaction so symptoms can sometimes take a couple of days to show.

Can you see a common theme?

If you are concerned or worried about your child always see your GP or speak with your Health Visitor.  An exclusion diet can be carried out for 2 weeks. I would highly recommend you get help with this. You could exclude any food you’ve noticed from the food diary then reintroduce it to see any changes. The most common culprits are dairy, wheat, gluten, egg and soya.

The most common food allergens are as follows:

Cow’s milk, Wheat, Gluten, Yeast, Egg, Cashew nuts, Garlic, Soya, Brazil nuts, Almonds, Corn, Hazelnuts, Oats, Lentils, Kiwi fruit, Chilli, Sesame seeds, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts

Allergy UK have classified the following list of symptoms:

Abdominal pains, Aches and pains, Asthma/Wheezing, Arthritis, Bloating, Constipation, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Diarrhoea, Eczema, Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Fluid retention, Headaches, Lethargy, M.E., Rhinitis, Sinusitis, Skin problems, Stomach cramps, Tension, Urticaria, Weight loss, Restless Leg Syndrome

Getting tested

There are various ways to get tested although the NHS does not support or recommend private food intolerance tests. I personally use both kinesiology (muscle testing) and IgG blood testing. Children cannot be tested via the IgG route until they are 2 years which is why I also use muscle testing. The elimination diet is the best option but it is difficult to do and time consuming. A private blood test will usually involve taking a small blood sample via a pin prick of the finger. This can be traumatic for some children and often you will need to see a nurse to get an adequate blood sample. The blood is then sent to the lab and is tested for a IgG immune response against a panel of foods. Some consider this test to be unreliable, however in my experience I find this test to be incredibly useful.  If you would like more information about testing please contact me directly.

How to manage a child’s diet

If you have concluded that your child needs to avoid a food then you will need to make sure that their diet compensates for this. This is particularly important with regards to dairy foods. Someone like me, a Registered Nutritional Therapist, can help you with this.

Food intolerance is not necessarily a life sentence. Most children and babies I see just need some digestive and immune support. On occasions, other therapies may be used to boost their systems or correct any imbalance. Removing the food in the short term can allow healing to take place. Most children are able to reintroduce the food some weeks, months or years later.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT EXCLUDE ANY FOODS/FOOD GROUPS FROM YOUR CHILD’S DIET FOR LONGER THAN 2 WEEKS WITHOUT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE AND HELP.

For help or advice with regards to food intolerance please contact me at:- www.julieclarknutrition.co.uk and follow me on facebook https://www.facebook.com/julieclarknutrition/

Julie Clark

The key to wellness - doing the right thing at the right time

We are halfway through January and no doubt you have been bombarded by many, many different ways to improve your wellness. I believe knowledge is power but too much information can be both confusing and overwhelming. This results in you either doing something that may not be right for your body or doing nothing at all as you are unsure what to do! 

The real key to wellness, is doing the right thing for you at the right time.

Take detoxing for example. Detoxing can be helpful if it is done correctly and if your body is able to benefit from it. However, if you already have digestive issues, feel tired all the time, have low immunity or don’t drink a lot of water, it is likely that your detox organs are already struggling. A detox will put even more pressure and stress on them which will definitely reduce the benefits of the detox and possibly make them even more tired and out of balance.    

The same goes for trying to lose weight. A healthy digestive system is key for effective weight loss.

On the emotional side, if your digestive system isn’t happy, your mind is likely to be unhappy too so you will not be feeling all the good vibes you may want to feel during the winter months.

So, if you were to focus on one area this winter, as well as getting a good night’s sleep, I would say, find ways to support your digestive system.  This will improve the effectiveness of all the other changes you may plan to do as well as boosting your mood and your immune system - at a time when the bugs seem to be everywhere!

My top 3 suggestions would be;

-          Support your gut bacteria with foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, Jerusalem artichoke, under ripe banana, raw onion, raw garlic (or a quality probiotic/prebiotic supplement)

-          Chew your food more – the more you break it down, the less pressure you put on your digestive system

-          Move regularly in the day and find ways to switch off and relax in the evening

We are unique and there is no wellness plan that fits all. So the more you can understand about your body, the more you can support it in the right way at the right time. To understand how to best support your physical and emotional wellness – and reduce your stress levels this winter, call me for a free 15 minute wellness consultation.

Alternatively, if you are looking for detailed insight and knowledge of your body, call and book your winter wellness review now before the special offer finishes at the end of the month. The review includes a discussion on your wellness situation and 2 bioresonance body scanning sessions - Special Winter Offer £175.

Lou Tassell 07966 502611

lou@optimalvitality.co.uk

Natural Wellness Tips for Winter

Winter is here!  It's the coldest of our seasons, daylight hours are shorter and we’re susceptible to catching colds, sore throats and even flu!  So, to keep you performing at your best, whether that’s at work, socialising, doing sports or out on the pitch cheering your team on, here’s some healthy living tips to boost your winter wellness -

·       Reduce stress levels – Stress depletes the body of all immune boosting nutrients. Minimising your stress will release more energy for your immune system and your overall wellness.

·       Love your gut – it houses arounds 70% of your immune power. Support your gut with a balanced diet including a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, protein and good fats. Fermented products and live, organic natural yoghurt are all full of good bacteria which will protect you from the winter bugs.

·       Drink water – Dehydration reduces our immune system and energy levels, so stay hydrated this winter. The moisture also boosts the bacteria fighting powers of mucous membranes, including those in your sinuses. If you do get mucousy, cut out dairy. Plus, your muscles are 75% water, so water will also help you avoid injury and maximise performance.

·       Sleep - The body rebalances, recharges and regenerates overnight and 11pm to 3am is a key time for this crucial wellness process, so ideally be in bed by 10pm to get the sleep your body deserves and needs.

·       Exercise – regular exercise helps your immune and digestive system work more optimally and produces happy hormones in the colder weather. Exercise moves the lymphatic system which takes all the toxins, bad bacteria and other waste chemicals away, so keep moving!

To understand how to best support your physical and emotional wellness– and reduce your stress levels this winter, book a consultation with me for a winter wellness review.

The review includes a discussion on your wellness situation and 2 bioresonance body scanning sessions. - Special Winter Offer £175.

Keep warm!

Lou Tassell

07966 502611

lou@optimalvitality.co.uk

 

 

How to cope with back to school stress

The new school year is full of stress for the family.  Some school things you’ll know about, some things you won’t know about.  What makes this a challenging time for parents is that stress is contagious. Children pick up on your feelings and you pick up on theirs!  You know what to put in their lunchbox and what uniform to buy, but how can you cope with stress and help your child deal with their anxieties about going back to school for a new year? 

The answer is to have some emotional freedom techniques on hand and say to the kids “You have Superpowers in your fingers!” -

  • Explain to your children that it is normal to feel anxious or nervous, you sometimes feel like this too but you can show them how to feel better
  • Ask your children to tell you the biggest emotion they are feeling about going back to school e.g. fear or worry and get them to describe where they feel this most in their body
  • Talk to your children how they want to feel about going back to school e.g. calm or confident
  • Start doing breathing exercises together - breathe in deeply and have one hand with the palm upwards.  With the other hand use three fingers to tap gently on the middle area of your wrist about two fingertips width down from the bottom of your hand.
  • Breathe in positive feelings like calmness and breathe out negative emotions like stress.
  • Stress headache too?  A quick way to help a headache (and stress) is to rub the pad of the thumb with your other hand.

Using Emotional Freedom Techniques, also called Tapping Therapy can help shift and reduce unhelpful emotions until you or your child feel calmer. If you’re watching sport on the television, you’ll often notice many athletes ‘tapping’ to control emotions, now you can too wherever you are.

To help support your family’s wellness, contact Lou Tassell at Optimal Vitality.  Appointments available in Richmond, New Malden and Surbiton.

Mention 'Back to School with Optimal Vitality' to receive a special offer individual 1 hour wellness review for £65 or a 1.5 hour family review for £85. 

What to do when our emotions just get the better of us

Let’s face it, there are times when our emotions can get the better of us - we all get stressed, overwhelmed or frustrated with ourselves or someone else. Unhelpful and negative emotions affect how we behave, how we communicate with others - they limit our capabilities and always (as proven by science) have a physical effect on the body.

Well, you can finally relax as you don't have to carry on putting up with these feelings, I will explain how you can change them and move forward. 

I often say we are made like onions - with many layers of emotions and beliefs! 

The ability to feel emotions differentiates us from most other animals and is hugely important to our lives. However, our brain is naturally wired to be negative so our default program is to feel the negative emotion, rather than the positive one. That often triggers the fight or flight emotion and at this point your logic, clarity and focus switch off - which is not helpful when we need a solution. It's an automatic reaction that you can't stop!

This pre-wired automatic negative response to situations means that unless we learn new ways to effectively manage that emotional reaction we will always plunge into the debilitating stress response which does not help us achieve the outcome we are looking for (unless you are in a truly life threatening or dangerous situation, then you definitely need it!).  

Tapping is a form of acupuncture for emotions without the needles.  Instead of using needles we tap on the meridian points of the body to access the unhelpful emotions and beliefs that we have collected over our lifetime which are held in our subconscious mind. Negative or unhelpful feelings such as anxiety, unable to cope, and not good enough disrupt the flow of energy (chi) in our body.  The process of talking about that emotion at the same time as tapping releases the energy disruption in our body and sends calming messages to the brain. This clears and rebalances our nervous system and also reduces our cortisol levels which is a stress hormone. Once you clear the negative emotions, the mind is ready to fully experience the benefits of positive emotions and regains logic, clarity and focus allowing you to move forward. It is very powerful and often used by sports men and women.  You see Olympian athletes release pre-event nerves and promote maximum performance – see 400m runner Bralon Taplin tapping before a race here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfnsV3URoRU

The great news is that your whole family can use this volume control button for emotions to turn down emotions any time - at home, work or school. Adults who might be feeling overwhelm of responsibility or work stress and children/teenagers who may be feeling the pressures of school, exams, friendships or lack of confidence. 

Once you learn the technique, you have a tool for life which you can always turn to for emotional support and share with family and friends.  Emotions are an important part of our daily life and cannot be avoided!

If you would like to learn this empowering, always available and highly effective tool that allows you to turn those unhelpful emotions into positive ones, take back emotional control and allow you to get the most out of life, then please give me a call today for a free 20 minute wellness chat on 07966 502611 or email me at lou@optimalvitality.co.uk.

 

 

 

 

Special Spring Vitality Offer

With the warmer Spring weather here and the Spring flowers all around us it's a good time to check up on what your body needs so you can get that bounce back in your step and enjoy life even more!

Here's my special Spring Vitality Offer to you - come and see me for 2 bioresonance sessions for just £199, a Spring saving of £50.

The offer includes -

Tailored bioresonance scan & rebalance plus effective wellness recommendations - just for you

Bookings must be made by 30th April and appointments taken before the end of May please.

If you have any questions, please email me at lou@optimalvitality.co.uk or call me on 07966 502 611.

Are you taking synthetic or natural supplements?

Are you taking synthetic or natural supplements?

Our bodies were built to obtain the nutrients they need from food. Food comes in a food matrix where it is mixed with other biological components that means your body knows exactly what to do with it, likes cogs working together in a machine. With this, your body absorbs and uses the nutrients optimally.  However, with mass market food production the nutrition in food is decreasing and we are suffering from a nutrition gap

How to reduce radiation exposure from mobiles

I am sharing this insight with you, firstly as a parent of an 11 year old who is part of the tech generation and secondly as a wellness practitioner, who sees imbalances in the body most days of the week when treating clients. There are many research papers out there that discuss the negative impact of radiation from mobile devices, computers and Wi-Fi on our health, and there are those that will argue it is not a serious problem.