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      8 Ways to Help Your Kid Be Stronger Than Stage Fright   It’s holiday recital season, and while parents are excited to see their kids shine on stage, many children and teens dread being the center of attention. Stage fright, AKA performance anxiety, refers to feelings of nervousness from performing in front of an audience. Stage fright is one of the most common fears in the U.S. and it’s understandable why; the thought of speaking, singing, or dancing in front of grinning strangers and flashing cameras can be a little intimidating for anyone. But if children don’t find healthy ways to cope with performance anxiety, it can hold them back from pursuing their passions and reaching their potential later in life.    So what can parents do to help their kids cope with stage fright?    1. Rehearse routinely   It can be hard for parents to know how much to push rehearsals before a performance, as they don’t want their kids to feel burnt out. Still, ample rehearsing helps a child memorize their performance, boosting their confidence and reducing anxiety. Make rehearsing part of your daily schedule as soon as your child receives their lines or routine, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes a day.     2. Dial up that diaphragm   Every pro performer knows the importance of diaphragmatic breathing; in addition to helping a person project their voice, it also works to calm their nerves. Teach your child the difference between shallow and deep breathing. Have them practice slow “belly breaths” and remind them to take a few deep inhales and exhales before stepping out on stage.      3. Focus on the message   Stage fright can prevent a performer from showing their true passion and talent. Remind your kid that the audience is there to experience the performance’s message, and not to judge them as an individual. Ask your child what their performance goals are - what ideas or emotions would they like the audience to experience from their performance? Remind them to reflect on those goals when they are feeling self-conscious.      4. Soothe with self-talk   Encourage your child to practice positive self-talk about their performance. Tell them to repeat affirming statements to themselves such as, “I’m going to do great,” “I’m an amazing performer,” or, “this is going to be so much fun.”      5. Accept their nerves   Many people try to force away stage fright or tell their kids to just get over it, but repressing fear is ineffective and often makes it worse. A healthier approach is to teach your child to understand and accept their nerves. Talk to your child about symptoms of nervousness such as blushing, rapid heartbeat, and sweat. Remind them that they can do a great job even if they are feeling afraid. Assure your child or teen that nervousness is a normal part of performing that even famous performers experience.     Click here for more tips on coping with anxiety      6. Encourage excitement   Many parents think that kids should only focus on relaxation before performing, worrying that excitement will add to the high-strung feelings of stage fright. However, research suggests that excitement actually helps to reduce anxiety. By embracing their nervousness and channeling it toward excitement, your child will get amped up to perform with more passion and positivity.     Click here for more tips on igniting your child’s passion      7. Find their “A-game activator”   Encourage your child to come up with a special phrase or song that unleashes their A-game before they set out on stage. It may be saying a word to themselves like, “epic” or “outrageous” or listening to an empowering song like, “Roar,” or “Eye of the Tiger.” Have them imagine that every time they say their word or sing their song, their inner star is unleashed and their sassiest, boldest performer emerges ready to wow their audience.        8. See a specialist   Stage fright is a normal experience for children, teens, and even adults, but if a person can’t find healthy ways to cope with their fears, it can hold them back in several areas of life. If you are concerned that your child’s performance anxiety is holding them back from pursuing their passions or reaching their potential, our Specialists at Variations can help.       
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams, graduate and professional licensing exams such as MCAT, LSAT, GRE, CBEST, NCLEX, GMAT, CA Cosmetology Exam, CA Contractors State Licensing Exam, and CA Bar Exam).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Brooks, Alison Wood. “Getting Excited Helps with Performance Anxiety More Than Trying to Calm Down, Study Finds.” American Psychological Association , Journal of Experimental Psychology, 23 Dec. 2013, www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2013/12/performance-anxiety.aspx.  Dingfelder, Sadie F. “Putting the 'Play' Back into Performing.” American   Psychological Association, Monitor on Psychology , Dec. 2005, www.apa.org/monitor/dec05/play.aspx. Psychologist Jon Skidmore helps young musicians overcome anxiety and enjoy themselves on stage.  “How to Keep Fear of Public Speaking at Bay.” American Psychological   Association, Monitor on Psychology , Feb. 2017, www.apa.org/monitor/2017/02/tips-sidebar.aspx.    How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). 8 Ways to Help Your Kid Be Stronger Than Stage Fright.  Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/8-ways-to-help-your-kid-be-stronger-than-stage-fright

8 Ways to Help Your Kid Be Stronger Than Stage Fright

It’s holiday recital season, but is your child or teen dreading being the center of attention? Check out this week’s blog to learn 8 tips on helping your kid be stronger than stage fright.  

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      The Guy’s Guide to Life After Divorce   Movies often portray divorced guys living it up and enjoying the freedom they’ve always wanted. In reality, this stereotype can be far from the truth. Men often experience the most devastating losses from divorce, often without knowing healthy ways to cope. Men are nearly twice as likely to develop major depression after divorce than women, and the suicide rate of divorced men is nearly twice that of married men. Society’s stigma on men seeking mental health help only worsens this concerning problem.    So with men often losing their children, friends, reputations, and homes after divorce, is there anything they can do to feel like themselves again?    If you are a man going through a divorce, give these tips a try:    1. Reorganize your life   During your divorce, your role as provider, father, husband, and protector will either feel lost or significantly changed. These losses feel devastating and can really make you question your purpose in life. Dealing with these changes starts with being able to reorganize your life around your new situation. Rethink relationships with friends, family, children, and your ex to fill your time wisely and meet your physical, mental, and social needs. Men that fail to take these steps are subject to prolonged depression, grief, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.     Example:   “I’ve lost everything I’ve worked so hard for - my house is gone and I’m going from seeing my kids every day to every other weekend.”   Reorganized perspective:  “I’ll be getting more time to go out with the guys or just relax at home and do whatever I want. Every time I’m with the kids it’ll be more meaningful because we won’t see each other every day. Yeah, I’m moving into a smaller place but I finally get to listen to music as loud as I want and put what I like on the walls.”   2. Don’t set to self-destruct   Divorce can inflict a tremendous amount of pain that can cause men to try to escape what they are feeling. This puts them at risk to cope with self-destructive behaviors. Have fun and seek some thrills, but avoid resorting to damaging behaviors to numb emotional pain. Heavy drinking, drug abuse, or unsafe sex might temporarily boost your ego, but those highs are short-lived and will delay your process of moving on. Instead, get your adrenaline pumping with a new extreme sport or reigniting a hobby you gave up on years ago.     3. Stay Social   Men only initiate 1/3 of divorces.; this means that many men are forced to adjust to the idea of living alone after already being stripped of their role as head of household. Some men aren’t very social to begin with, so when their wife and kids leave they’re left with no social outlets. This isolation spirals many men into depression, so it’s important to surround yourself with a network of friends that you feel comfortable being yourself with.  Start a weekend poker night, join a fantasy football league, or plan a road trip with the guys.      4. Don’t dwell on the past   Men often get the short end of the stick with divorce with more financial obligations and less time with their kids. While these changes can be difficult, try not to dwell on what you’ve lost. Dwelling does not solve anything; much like running on a treadmill, you may think you’re going forward by rethinking the same thoughts, but you’re not.  However, processing and truly grieving what has been lost is the healthy way through a divorce. A    Specialist in Men’s Issues    can help you learn healthy ways to navigate your grieving process.      5. Keep a Forward Focus   Keep a forward focus by thinking of ways you can make the best of your current situation. Start a new tradition with your kids each time you see them. Enjoy doing things you could have never done while living with your ex – dust off the electric guitar and learn some new licks while cranking the amp up to 11, get online with your gaming system and some buddies and slay some newbs, carry out those old plans of creating a solid mancave. While you can’t control all that’s happening in your life, you do have the power to make the best of the hand you’ve been dealt.     6. Don’t ditch the doctor   Divorced men are more likely than married men to eat poorly, smoke more often, and die of preventable diseases. This is largely because spouses are more likely to push their husbands to stay on top of health screenings and preventative care. This can also be the result of men not doing the first recommended step – reorganizing their life around their new situation. Resist the tendency to let your physical health go once your spouse is out of the picture. When your body is healthy, your mind will be better equipped to move past the pain of divorce. Boost your mood with regular exercise, a well-balanced diet, dental screenings, annual physicals, and mental health support from a therapist or psychologist.      7. Date when you’re ready   Choosing when to get back in the dating scene is a personal choice. There’s no need to be in a rush to date after divorce, but going out and dating can be a great way to boost your confidence, feel attractive, and get out of a depressive slump. If you do decide to dive into the singles scene, use protection and steer clear of heavy, consistent drug or alcohol use. While there is certainly hope for another meaningful relationship in your future, take your time to grieve your marriage before jumping into another serious commitment.      8. Don’t pretend you’re fine when you’re not   If you are struggling with the mental and emotional impact of divorce, you are not alone. Seeking mental health support shows strength and courage, and can also provide you with the space to let out and process what you’ve been holding in. If you are experiencing any of the following warning signs of depression, don’t assume they’ll get better if you ignore them:      Anger, aggressiveness, or feeling on edge    Noticeable changes in energy and mood    Change in sleeping patterns    Trouble concentrating    Feelings of sadness and hopelessness    Suicidal thoughts    Feelings of worry and fear    Craving alcohol or drugs    Not enjoying pleasurable activities     Engaging in high-risk activities    Ongoing aches or digestive issues      Click here to read our blog on unmasking the 6 disguises of depression in men        9. Visit a Men’s Specialist   Divorce can feel earth-shattering to a man whose life and identity have revolved around his family. Moving past the losses that men experience in divorce is difficult, but adjusting to your new lifestyle can be much smoother with the support and guidance of a qualified men’s specialist.        
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment  with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams).  See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a call and we will guide you..  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References:   Block, T. (2017). Divorce and MENtal Health. The Good Men Project. https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/divorce-and-mental-health-cmtt/  Bruce, M. L., & Kim, K. M. (1992). Differences in the effects of divorce on major depression in men and women.  The American Journal of Psychiatry, 149 (7), 914-917.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/ajp.149.7.914  Kposowa, A.J. (2000). Marital status and suicide in the National Longitudinal Mortality Study.  J Epidemiol Community Health ;54:254–261254   Menaghan, E., & Lieberman, M. (1986). Changes in Depression following Divorce: A Panel Study.  Journal of Marriage and Family,48 (2), 319-328. doi:10.2307/352399  Nauert, R. (2018) Men’s Mental Health Suffers After Divorce. PsychCentral. Retrieved online: https://psychcentral.com/news/2013/10/01/mens-mental-health-suffers-after-divorce/60153.html   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). The Guy’s Guide to Life After Divorce.   Psychologically Speaking .   [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-guys-guide-to-life-after-divorce

The Guy’s Guide to Life After Divorce

When a man goes through a divorce, he not only loses his spouse, but he often loses his children, friends, reputation, and home. Life after divorce can feel earth-shattering, but there are ways for men to work through their grief and find acceptance. Check out this week’s blog on The Guy’s Guide to Life After Divorce.

     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


      The Final Semester Survival Guide:    13 Tips for College Students Who Just Want it to be Over    The final countdown   Whether you’re in your first year of college or finishing up the home stretch, the last semester of each year can be a stressful time. In the fall, finals seemed so far away, and day-to-day assignments didn’t feel like they held so much weight. But before you know it, the end of the term is upon you, and you’ve only got a few short weeks or months to achieve your academic goals for the year.   How do I keep my momentum?   A lot of students start the year off feeling very optimistic, but as the months progress, tough classes and academic burn-out can curb their motivation and confidence. The pressure of the last semester can get to anyone, and while a little tension can motivate us to achieve our goals, extreme stress can negatively impact both grades and mental and emotional health.   Here are 13 tips for staying on top of your tasks and finishing your semester strong:    1. Focus on your strengths   Remember that even the world’s smartest and most successful people have both strengths and weaknesses. Keep your mind on the positive by taking time to reflect on your strongest areas – maybe science is really challenging for you and you’ve been feeling your hair turn gray as you cram for your chemistry final. While this test may be tough, consciously thinking of areas that you have strengths in will boost your confidence in your abilities and remind you of the bright future you are securing by powering through this class. Reminding yourself of your talents will help reduce the intimidation of subjects that you aren’t as self-assured in.   2. Work hard, play hard   It’s important to have fun and recreational time while you’re working through college; if you don’t let yourself unwind now and again, your stress will curb your creativity, lessen your retention, and could give you a mental break down. Set aside time for fun, humor, and laughter. When you’re feeling stressed out, pass on binge watching crime dramas and instead check out a comedy club with some friends. Laughter can instantly change the chemicals in our bodies, allowing stress to naturally release.   3. Cheer yourself on   It’s common for students in their last semester to stress over the “what if’s” – “What if I didn’t study enough?” “What if I don’t pass the class?” “What if my GPA isn’t high enough?” These worries can put a damper on your focus, mood, and academic performance. When you’re feeling stressed out,   Dr. Jill S. Kapil, specialist in young adult issues  , recommends repeating positive affirmations. Encourage yourself with phrases like, “I can push through it! I’m almost there! I’ll be done in no time!” “I can do this!” Even if you don’t believe everything you’re saying at first, affirmations will gradually train your brain toward more empowered, confident thinking that can help you overcome stress and bring your “A-game” to finals week.   4. Live one day at a time   If you look at big projects in their entirety, they can appear overwhelming and insurmountable. Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and big tasks that appear impossible can be accomplished if you break them down into smaller pieces. Relieve your anxiety by breaking up large projects into manageable fragments. Strategize how to tackle each piece over time, and only focus on achieving your goals for the present day. Congratulate yourself for completing each day’s task. Present-minded thinking will minimize how massive you perceive the work ahead of you, and it will help you relieve stress about your academic future. After all, the future hasn’t happened yet, so why waste today worrying about what may or may not occur?     5.Calendar everything   Let’s all just take a moment of silence to acknowledge those who had to go through college without smartphones or Google calendar! We are incredibly lucky to live in a time where daily organization and time management has never been so convenient or accessible. Find a calendar app that works for you and use it to document your daily goals, tasks, and to-do list. Make sure to schedule time for fun and self-care as well!   6. Ground yourself   By “ground yourself,” we don’t mean to exile yourself to your room with no TV for a week. We are referring to focusing your mind on your present moment by meditating on your five senses. Go through each sense one by one – taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. Take deep breaths, filling your lungs and belly, as you direct your focus on each area. Try out a yoga class or research different meditations and relaxation exercises. Taking a few moments to ground yourself each day will assist your mind in staying present and your body in releasing stress tension.   7. Study outside   With the chaos of exams, projects, and grad checks around the corner, thoughts of lounging on the beach with your mind set to empty may feel tempting. While you can’t drain your brain just yet, ditching the dorm and getting outside to study can hold over your appetite for full blown vacation mode. Take your laptop to the park, an outdoor café, or anywhere else you can take in an enjoyable environment while you get your creative juices flowing.   8. Rethink your ramen   It’s common for young adults juggling school, work, and social lives to, well, eat like crap. The “freshman 15” and “ramen noodle diet” may feel like the norm, but don’t underestimate the power of nutrition to fuel your brain and motivational drive these last few months of the term. Eat a hearty breakfast that’s heavy on protein. Go easy on sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, all of which can make you crash and worsen your final semester slump.   9. Hit the snooze button   College students are notorious for lacking adequate rest and for having a “we’ll sleep when we’re dead,” attitude. The problem is, all of those 2AM cram sessions can have a serious impact on your mental focus and emotional well-being. Yes, full class loads and challenging projects force most students to stay up late every now and again, but try to get 8-10 hours of sleep on most nights. Set a curfew for yourself and unless you’re working on task that will make-or-break your grade, stick to it. For less pressing projects, you’ll do a better job if you return to your work with a refreshed and rested mindset.   10. Sweat it out   Working out boosts endorphins in your brain, naturally reducing stress, depression, and anxiety. If doing 500 burpees and posting sweaty gym selfies isn’t your thing, have no fear - a 15 minute walk around campus a few times a week can be a great, low-impact way to boost energy, release endorphins, and decrease stress.   11. Vent it out   When we are feeling stressed out with life’s challenges, it can become easy to isolate yourself and get stuck in your worrisome thoughts. Make sure to talk to friends, parents, professors, and academic advisors to help vent your stress and receive extra support and guidance to help you push through the challenges that college life presents.   12. Find your inner champion   If you’re a college student, then you’re no stranger to challenges. Whether you were valedictorian or more of a “C’s get degrees” type of student, you’ve had to work diligently and overcome obstacles to get where you are today. When you start doubting yourself, reflect on ways that you coped with challenges in the past – think of how you can apply those strategies to the obstacles you face today. By finding and highlighting inner strengths exist based on your past accomplishments, you will discover ways to break through challenges as they arise, You are a champion, and you got this!   13. Visit a Specialist   Our specialists support young adults and “millennials” through major life transitions including experiences related to college life and academic success, careers, and relationships. We empower our patients to overcome anxiety, self-esteem issues, and other stressors that impact their emotional well-being.      
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              The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the highlighted topic. For a full consultation, assessment, and personalized treatment plan, schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.   More about Variations Psychology   Variations Psychology is a group practice specializing in Child and Family Psychology.  Our specialists provide therapy to infants, children, adolescents, and adults to help them overcome the many challenges they may face throughout the lifespan of a family. We also conduct diagnostic testing of child and adult conditions that may impact the family’s mental health and development (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Anxiety, Learning Disorders, college entrance exams). See our   Specialists   page to select the specialist that best suits your need, or simply give us a   call   and we will guide you.  Variations Psychology is located in Newport Beach, CA and provides counseling to residents throughout Orange County and its surrounding areas including Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Irvine, Shady Canyon, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Coto de Caza, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Yorba Linda, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Mission Viejo, Pelican Hill, Crystal Cove, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, Lake Forest, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Seal Beach, and more.      
  
       References :  Lucier, K.L. (2017). How to Stay Calm During Finals Week . ThoughtCo.  Retrieved online: https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-reduce-stress-during-finals-week-793289  Mental Health America (2018). Retrieved online: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/most-stressful-time-semester-finals  Taylor, K. (2018). 6 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health During Finals.  HerCampus.com  Retrieved online: https://www.hercampus.com/school/wm/6-ways-take-care-your-mental-health-during-finals  Werner, C. (2017). 5 Ways to Prioritize Mental Health During Finals Week.  The Odyssey . Retrieved online: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/5-ways-to-prioritize-mental-health-during-finals-week   How to Cite This Blog Article:   Shinn, M.M. (2018). The Final Semester Survival Guide: 13 Tips for College Students Who Just Want it to   be Over.  Psychologically Speaking . [Variations Psychology blog post].  Retrieved from https://www.variationspsychology.com/blogs/the-final-semester-survival-guide-13-tips-for-college-students-who-just-want-it-to-be-over

The Final Semester Survival Guide: 13 Tips for College Students Who Just Want it to be Over The final countdown

Whether you’re in your first year of college or finishing up the home stretch, the last semester of each year can be a stressful time. finals seemed so far away, and day-to-day assignments didn’t feel like they held so much weight. But before you know it, the end of the term is upon you, and you’ve only got a few short weeks or months to achieve your academic goals for the year.