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5 steps to start teaching emotional and social intelligence to your children

Children E

How many times have you felt frustrated with your child’s behavior and simply exploded in anger, saying things that you regretted later? How many times have you asked yourself if you were in the right track raising your child?

I always ask my client’s parents what they want for their children as they journey into adulthood. It is very clear to me that they all want the same thing: a reliable, responsible and happy adult. Someone who is accomplished, emotionally balanced, socially and emotionally intelligent. They all want their children to be self-confident, have good opportunities in life and make a difference in this world. They want their children to be SUCCESSFUL and HAPPY.

When we have these kinds of objectives in mind for our children, it is very important to focus on what we are doing now to help them to get there. What are you teaching your children? As parents, it’s your job to model good behavior, as children usually take after their parents in the way they deal with problems and emotions. If you become aggressive and yell when you are angry, your children will probably do the same thing simply because it’s what they learned.

Parents who are emotionally intelligent will be able to teach their children to be emotionally intelligent as well. Learning how to manage stress and anger is our first step to the direction of emotional and social intelligence.

Here are 5 steps to start teaching emotional and social intelligence to your children.

stress_management1) Managing stress

learn how to reenergize after a stressful day of work. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and your health. Eating a healthy diet will keep your body balanced, helping you avoid mood swings and irritability. Going for a walk, going to the gym, or even meeting a friend for a dinner once a week is a way for you to get out of the routine and release stress. You can also get a massage, attend a Yoga class, meditate or learn relaxation techniques.

2) Compassionate communication

opens a new realm for connection. It is when you are willing to open your heart to reach out to the other person. When you learn how to open our own heart to communicate with others, you get our point across more effectively, without making the other person feel threatened.

3) Be aware of things that trigger uncomfortable and unmanageable feelings

Learning the signs that lead us to feel abandoned, uncared, unloved, disrespected, etc, is a very important step to decrease emotional reactivity and improve assertive communication. The more you pay attention to these cues through your body sensations and thoughts, the more you will be able to manage them. This is especially important in the way you communicate with your children, as it shows them you are in control of your emotions, not the other way around.

4) Be human

Admitting that you make mistakes shows your children that you are human beings and you will be susceptible to making mistakes. Mistakes are irreparable when we are not willing to admit them and do something about it. Owning up to your mistakes will also help the other person foster a greater sense of respect for you, especially your children.

play5) Play

The best way to reach children is through play. You can’t expect to get your point across if the only way you try to communicate is by sitting them down for a serious conversation . It doesn’t work that way. Through play you can teach them whatever you want and they will learn how to be a SUCCESSFUL and HAPPY being.

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7 Steps to Reduce Stress

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We are all running around all day long. We are exposed to various stressors all the time. We have our children to take care of, we have to get ready to go to work, jump in the car, drive on the freeway. Call people, get ready to that staff meeting, prepare reports, visit clients, get the children back from school, prepare the dinner, and so on.

Stress is always related to our body reactions to events that we perceive as harmful or distressful. Stressors can be internal (related to our body and physiology) or external (related to the environment). We all respond different to different stressors. For example: two people need to take the same exam. One can feel very stressed about it while the second person is feeling calm and relaxed.
Stress lead to aggression and it is very important for us to acknowledge when we are getting stressed so we are able to stop the cycle immediately in the beginning.
Self-care is very important because it gives us the balance we need to recover from all the stress we are exposed to. My clients come to me with all sort of confusion on how they are feeling and thinking about the difficulties in their lives most of the time because they don’t stop a little to take care of themselves. Here are 7 steps to help you to reduce stress in your life.

1. Eat well

Eating well is very important to keep our body healthy and prepared to deal with the stress of our daily lives. The body needs the appropriate nutrients for us to be balanced and have the ideal health. What are we eating? It is very important to chose the amount of food and nutrition properties. I love the chosemyplate.org website because it shows how we can have control of our diet. We can have important information about nutrition and how we can manage and control what to eat to improve our health. There we can have a good idea of the amount of each food group we need daily.

2. Avoid alcohol and drugs

Most of the time when people are stressed they tend to seek comfort in alcohol and/or drugs to relief the tension. In fact it happens because we look for a way to forget whatever is leading us to feel tense. Studies have shown that stress is a major contributor to the continuation or initiation of Alcohol and drugs use. What happens is that when we use alcohol and/or drugs to get rid of our stress we are sabotaging ourselves and the effect of the alcohol pass we will get worse than before.

3. Meditate

Research has shown that even 20 minutes of meditation/relaxation everyday can reduce stress and improve our health. When we learn to meditate in a consistent basis, our brain learns how to enter in a more relaxed state even when we start thinking about taking a deep breath. Relaxation becomes automatic and when a stressful situation presents to us, we immediately enter in a relaxed state and are able to manage the stress much better than we used to do before. Seeking for a group that practices meditation can be a good start.

4. Exercise

It is known that exercise is a powerful ingredient to maintain health. Most of the time when I talk to my clients about exercising they tell me that they feel bored when exercising. I always suggest them to look for something that they like to do. There are several ways of exercising, and like studying, I believe each person has his/her own way of exercising that will be stimulating and exciting that probably is different from others. I love to dance and I found this place where I can attend several different kinds for dancing classes throughout the week and have my exercising done. It is exciting, invigorating, and I have a lot of fun! Find what you like to do. Go online and search for something that makes you excited about doing. Play Tennis, Volleyball, soccer or any other sport. Maybe it is hiking and you can find groups throughout the city that are passionate about hiking. Find the activity you want to do and go for it!

5. Changing that conversation with yourself

How are you talking to yourself? Most of the time we become anxious or depressed because of what we are talking to ourselves about. Paying attention to our thoughts and challenging distorted thinking is a fundamental step to reduce stress and stop anxiety. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one of the most common techniques used to help clients with anxiety and depression. It is not easy to change our patterns of thinking and for this reason, it is very beneficial for us to seek professional help. Keeping a journal with a record of your thoughts, and feelings can help you to identify self-defeating thoughts and substitute them to more realistic ones. When you take notes of what you are thinking you are able to analyze the thoughts and understand how that thought is affecting you. Then you can challenge the thought and come up with something that is much more realistic and healthy. It will help you to change some core beliefs that are probably holding you back in your life and contributing for your anxiety.

6. Take time out

Get a few minutes everyday to do whatever comes to your mind. Cherish yourself, give your inner child a big hug and make this child feels happy! Maybe you can go out and do your nails, or your hair or you can go for a walk connecting yourself to the nature, read a book, or simply listen to a good music. Try to schedule at least 30 min a day for your time out and enjoy!

7. Laugh, laugh, laugh

Laughing is one of the most important ingredients here. Get a comedy movie or go to a comedy show, and give yourself a good hour and a half of laughing. Studies have shown that when you laugh your immune system improves, your blood flows easily, and you can sleep better.

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Do you have a pill for Happiness?

Happiness

Neurofeedback a non-invasive treatment for ADHD/ADD, Autism Spectrum, and addictions.

It helps the brain to regulate itself in a way that the person treated is able to overcome whatever the deficit she/he has.
Sometimes my clients come to me and ask: “Do you have any pills for Happiness?” most of the time we both laugh and talk about our dreams of making it happen.
How great would be if we could just take a pill and feel happy. We could go through our day facing challenges and problems keeping the happiness state 24/7. Nothing would make us feel discouraged, angry, inappropriate, or sad.
Our brain has an emergency system that activates very specialized chemicals when we are experiencing stressful situations. It is like the smoke detector in your house. When it senses smoke it immediately ignites and releases that sound announcing that it is time for you to get out of the house to be safe. You leave the house, the fire department comes and takes care of the problem and the system goes back to its normal state until the next time it senses smoke again.

Our brain releases chemicals to prepare our bodies to fight or flight

So when we perceive a certain situations as dangerous or threatening, the brain releases chemicals to prepare our bodies to fight or flight the same way our ancestors used to do when facing a lion. It is not bad when it happens the same way as the smoke detector, and as soon as the problem is resolved we can get back to our normal state. Stress is beneficial when we are able to take the necessary actions to resolve the problem we are facing at the moment and get back to our normal stated after that. Actually we need certain amount of stress to be motivated to take actions. But what happens if you are not able to simply relax for a while until the next challenge comes. What happens if you are in a constant pressure moment after another throughout your day every day?

When we are locked inside ourselves with feelings and emotions generated by chronic stress, anxiety, depression and trauma, it is very difficult for us to believe and understand that we can live our lives fully. It is almost as if we are living in this limb with no hope for a better future. We are engrained with feelings of profound sadness and pain. It seems that there is nothing we can do to make it better. Read the rest of this entry »

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The pictures presented in this website have being used for illustrative purposes only. All persons depicted in the pictures presented in this website, are models.

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12304 Santa Monica Blvd. Suite 213
Los Angeles, CA, 90025
(310) 600-0159
cristina@westlacounselingcenter.com

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