As published by Youki Tekada on 11/03/2017

You can’t make timed tests go away, but you can help make the stress more manageable for students. Read more...

We all know the benefits of practicing a physical activity for anyone, whether an adult or a child. Whatever your age or body type, having a physical activity contributes to healthy living. While moderate and regular sports practice increases your cardiovascular activity and generally improves your physiological condition, one of its major and most obvious benefits is emotional as it also allows you to unwind and reduce your daily stress.

Children and particularly teenagers nowadays tend to live a much more stressful life than we used to. Between long school hours, tedious homework and other non-physical classes (learning to play a musical instrument, drama class etc.), their days are rather full. Luckily, more and more parents recognise the value of introducing their kids to regular physical activity to help reduce their stress level and provide a good balance between intellectual, physical and emotional development.

A good intellectual development (commonly seen as equivalent to a high IQ or good grades in class) has long been regarded as the most desirable outcome of parents for their children. We now know that Emotional Intelligence (or Emotional Quotient EQ) is as important, if not more than IQ. The EQ is “the capacity of individuals to recognise their own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and to label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide their thinking and behaviour” . The good news is that, unlike IQ which is widely viewed as the product of your genetic heritage, EQ is mostly based on your environment. This means that it can be developed and nurtured. Knowing that childhood and adolescence are particularly good times to help your child acquire new skills, as a parent you can decide to expose them to a diversity of situations where they can put those skills in practice.

One way to achieve it is through physical activity. Practicing a sport, whether as an individual or as part of a team,  has an emotional effect on a person. Some are positive (reducing their stress level), others may be less so (increasing their stress and anxiety particularly in highly competitive sports). As always, a good balance is found in moderation. By being exposed to various situations, children and adolescents learn progressively how to recognise, distinguish, label and handle the emotions that are bound to arise. For instance, as a parent, you may try to attend some of your child's training sessions to provide them emotional support and positive feedback. You can discuss with them about  how they feel about the event that they participated in, about what it means to them emotionally to win or lose. By doing so, you help enrich their emotions/feelings vocabulary along the way. The better kids become at paying attention to how they feel and the more acute and accurate they will be at perceiving how others may feel. Studies have found that having access to a large lexical of feelings is a good sign of a well-developed EQ. In time, as adults they will have at their disposal a much broader range of skills to help them process emotional information and navigate social situations.

As published by Dr Lori Desautels on 10/03/2016

We need all of our emotions for thinking, problem solving, and focused attention. We are neurobiologically wired, and to learn anything, our minds must be focused and our emotions need to "feel" in balance. Emotional regulation is necessary so that we can remember, retrieve, transfer, and connect all new information to what we already know. When a continuous stream of negative emotions hijacks our frontal lobes, our brain's architecture changes, leaving us in a heightened stress-response state where fear, anger, anxiety, frustration, and sadness take over our thinking, logical brains. Read more...

This article uses Positive Psychology as a foundation for the research. Feel free to contact me if you wish to access the paper for free...

(as published by Dr Emma Seppala on 15/01/2016)

After working in many high-achieving environments like Yale, Stanford, Silicon Valley, New York City, I noticed too many people pursuing “success” at a cost to themselves. They were postponing their happiness now in pursuit of success…with the idea that, when they attain success, they will be happy. Yet they were burning themselves (and others) out in the process. I too joined the rat-race, it seemed like what everyone was doing. It seemed like the right thing to do. But it wasn’t. Read more...

(as published by Simon Stevens in huffingtonpost.co.uk on 23/2/2016)

Stress can kill, in terms of causing suicides and the onset of other conditions, and it would be foolish to say otherwise. Stress has and will always exist, and we need to look at how we manage stress in the 21st Century. The first thing you can not do is remove the activities people find stressful, as it is so subjective, although I acknowledge systems like the welfare state could be made easier to avoid unnecessary stress. Read more...

On February 18th, we held a free Introduction to Positive Parenting. The turn up was really great! Many husbands and wives came together. Groups discussions were particularly popular and participants felt comfortable sharing their experiences, the solutions they had found so far and their expectations for the future.
Thank you to all the parents for being curious about the program, for inquiring and signing up!

Often it seems our kids spend all their time on a smartphone, a tablet or on a computer.

What is a healthy amount of time?

What is good and bad screen time?
How to enforce it best?

Often technology brings peace and is helpful for us as parents, but other times we feel like banning technology altogether. Those are choices we need to make as parents.

Reality is that these choices have consequences and our job as parents is to help our kids lead a balanced life. We are all well aware that these technologies are there to last; that implies we need to adapt.

Children can of course benefit from age-appropriate technology
Watching TV or playing on the computer or a tablet can be fun, entertaining, challenging and a good way to relax. There are also many programs, games and apps that are educational and can help your child's learning.

But if children spend too much time in front of a screen they will miss out on other important activities. Things like playing outdoors, talking to friends and reading are vital for kids.

So how can you strike the right balance in your house?

Start by learning about what technology is around. You can do your own research and talk to your children and other parents. Think about what is good about each device. And think about what you will need to limit or manage, based on your child's age.

My take is that under the age of two, children should not be allowed to use screens on a regular basis, period. I will probably not make friends in many groups of parents but what babies need (since under twos are still babies) is human interaction to help them develop their social and emotional, language and cognitive skills. Developmentally, this stage is key. Occasionally, parents may hand them a device for a few minutes, but not for long periods, 15 min max (my suggestion).

For preschool-aged kids (typically 2 to 6 yr.), they may be allowed more regular access to screens, but not unsupervised, to promote maximum adult interaction. Again, this is my take, but short periods of 15 min max each can become more frequent and represent a better usage than one long period. And they should always be spent with a parent or caretaker ready to comment, interact and answer to the little one’s questions.

For primary school-aged kids up to early adolescence (typically 6 to 12 yr.), it starts to become trickier as the kids are more and more aware of their peers’ usage and may put more pressure to be allowed longer screen time. However please try to limit screen time to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day of quality programs or apps. Keep television and computers out of their bedroom, or with controlled access so you know how much time they are spending. Access to tablets and smartphones can also be reinforced with family rules.

Indeed it is generally a good idea to put some family rules in place. Let your kids know what they are allowed to use and when they can use it. Rememebr to discuss this as a family so that your kids can have a say too.

With the pressures that come with being a parent it's easy to fall into one of the common parenting traps. Here are some of them:

The "criticism" trap is when you often battle with your child. You start to criticize them and soon you are threatening and yelling. Arguments like this leave both parent and child feeling angry. If you have these battles a lot, it's time to try a new way of handling the situation.

The "leave them alone" trap is when parents don't praise their child when they are behaving well. Kids might start misbehaving for attention. Try to praise behaviors you would like to see more often.

The "for the sake of the children" trap occurs when parents in unhappy marriages don't address their problems, for the sake of their children.

The "perfect parent" trap. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Trying to be one will only lead to disappointment, anger and guilt.

The "martyr" trap is one where parents neglect their own needs. You don't have to devote all your time to your child. Good parenting only happens when adults look after their own needs, too.

I am delighted to now offer therapeutic hypnosis as part of Newstate Psychology range of services.
Far from the public displays that one can see in shows on TV or the Internet, therapeutic hypnosis has a unique goal to treat patients.
Historically, the healing power of hypnosis was discovered in the late 19th century: it helped patients by allowing direct access to their subconscious while they were in the hypnotic state. Unfortunately it is now more famous for the extravaganza displayed on stage than its therapeutic effects.
Hypnosis can treat many issues affecting your daily life. Learn more information on its indications here.