Dealing With Stress


                                                              TAI CHI STRESS BUSTER.

 Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art and is widely practiced all over the world instantly recognised by the slow flowing movements. Known as an Internal Martial art tai chi does not have wild powerful punching and kicking associated with other martial arts. Instead it focuses on inward energy, balance and relaxation.

It’s based on the beliefs of traditional Chinese medicine that our life force is an energy called ‘chi’ which can be used for self-defence, meditation and general health. Practitioners believe that it is vital to our health that the flow of our ‘chi’ is smooth and balanced and that practising tai chi encourages this.

 There are many different interpretations of tai chi but one that is most common is the hand form. This is the series of slow continuous movements often performed in open parkland. Working through these movements you focus on relaxing both body and mind and on breathing naturally and deeply into the ‘dantian’ a place about two fingers below the naval and the same distance inside. Breathing deeply in this way releases tension from the body and helps the mind to let go of external stresses and worries, bringing with it a sense of peace and calm. You will feel that your limbs have been gently stretched and your body will warm up. Some people also experience a tingling sensation in their fingers.



Getting out and about in the great outdoors has long been acknowledged as one of the best ways of dealing with life’s stresses. Everyone in the family can benefit from the healing and calming effect a stroll in the park or local woodland has on our psyche.

The traumas of step-parenting, divorce, family breakdown and difficult child access and contact can have on us doesn’t go away easily but getting back to nature seems to make us happiest and less stressed.

Park Life surveyed nearly 20,000 people in the UK and found that using green spaces was a good way to improve physical and mental health. The survey showed that 25% of the people visited a park to relax and think. 22% just went there for peace and quiet whilst 31% visited simply because they enjoyed the beauty of the surroundings, 44% wanted fresh air and 46% loved to walk. The survey hopes to encourage more people to join in with Love Parks Week (24 July to 1 Aug) Paul Bramhill, CEO of GreenSpace, says “Parks and green spaces benefit physical, mental and spiritual health.”


Dr William Bird of Natural England who already have a following of 40,000 people says “It has something to do with how we interact with nature. We feel happier, less worried, more engaged with what we are doing and more energetic

Getting Involved

There are many walking groups around and a walk to your local library may well spur you into joining.

You can, of course, simply get the kids out and about without it being an organised event. There’s no excuse for not making the effort. Getting the children away from the computer and television is in itself worthwhile.

If you are an organiser why not come onto the’s forum and organise a walking event to support our petition to Government to have a dedicated Minister appointed solely for Child Contact and Access (see our petition on the forum pages).




Life Style Day


Monday is Life-style day at My Child with our resident expert Kenn Griffiths

Life’s lessons come at a cost and believe me mine have proved to be very expensive over the years. It’s because of this life long learning and my work as a child contact and access consultant that I am now in a position to use my experience and knowledge to offer support to anyone experiencing emotional difficulties.

Losing contact with your children, or the thought of it, can have the effect of bringing you down and testing your confidence and self-esteem. But it does not have to be a negative...

  • View change as a start, not an ending.
  • Use the experience to learn from.
  • Use it to build confidence, not destroy it!

What’s gone on in the past can’t be changed. You may feel regret or disappointment and given the same situation again you would probably do it all differently. But, accept that you are not going to be given the same set of circumstances again. You may be given some similar experiences, but what’s gone, is gone and can’t be re-lived. Accept this now! Don’t keep torturing yourself. Going over the past events in your mind will not change the outcome so learn from it and move yourself forward. By all means use it to enhance you, to develop a ‘better’ you if that’s what you want but don’t dwell in the hurt.

In my work I am often instructed to carry out a parenting assessment and report my findings to the Court. This is usual in child contact disputes. One parent brings allegations against the other in an effort to demonstrate that the accused is an unfit parent and should not be trusted with the care of children. A person’s self-esteem is often a window into the current ability of a parent to offer unconditional love and support to their children. Low self-esteem is an indicator to a parent’s low opinion of themselves. If a parent does not believe that they have any worth they can internalise this and view themselves as a failure. Add to this the trauma of separation, divorce and the possible loss of their children and you can see how they could struggle with the day to day difficulties of being a parent.

Positive parenting is not easy even when everything is going well. Children need a lot of care, love and understanding. They quickly pick up on adult’s moods, and even when very young, they learn how to alter their position to ‘accommodate’ their parent’s difficulties.

Keeping yourself positive and ‘up-beat’ has a settling effect on the children. You owe it to yourself and them to take care of yourself and to have a positive outlook.

Take the time now to gauge your level of self-esteem. The following check list is one that I use in my assessment process.

If you are feeling low why not get in touch with our team of experts at they are there to help and will not be judgemental.

Download our Self-Esteem Checklist


All of us at some time or other have had times in our lives when we have not dealt with some difficulty that has arisen. By dealing with it I mean that we have not addressed it emotionally. It has been left unresolved and every now and then it comes to the forefront and evokes a negative emotional response, a inner hurt. For some people there are many of these unresolved issues that sap emotional energy and have the effect of stopping them moving on, effectively keeping them a prisoner with them as the gaoler.

The starting point to change is this: YOU CAN NOT CHANGE THE PAST, what’s gone is gone, you now have to live with the effects. What you can change is the perception you have about the past and it’s effects. If you only view it as a negative it will cause a negative in you. But if you can use the experience, no matter how bad, in a positive way then you move yourself from negative to positive. Using life’s difficulties positively means using the experience to make you a better person. A person that you can live with, a person that you like! No matter what the problem you will not be able to move forward effectively without ridding yourself of your self imposed gaol. That place that you keep yourself in, the place that stops you from enjoying your future.

Try this, imagine that you have a magic wand, and when you wave it your unresolved problem is now resolved. Ask yourself, “what would my life look like if I resolved this problem”. Well, what does it look like? How do you think you would feel? What would you do now you have rid yourself of the burden? Would other people know something was different about you? How would they know? What would you do that signalled to them that you were different?

In reality you can not remove the past but you can resolve your issues about it by dealing with you!

Now try this...

Let’s say that your issue is absolutely unresolved, it has never been viewed in any form of positive light and you can not live with it. On a scale of 0 to 10 this is ZERO. Now at the other end of the scale you have dealt with it in a positive way. This doesn’t mean that it never happened. It has, and you can’t remove the past. However, 10 is ‘resolved’, you can live with it and you have changed the experience from a negative to positive, you’ve used it to help you grow.

Now decide where on the scale you are. Let’s say you are living with the effects, but you do reflect on the issue regularly and it depresses you. The fact that you can think about it moves you from Zero. So you are not there. You have not moved through it so you are not at 10. You are however, wanting to resolve it and work through it. Sometimes you feel a little positive but not for long. You’re probably at 4. Moving forward, what would you have to do to get to 4.5 or even 5? It could be something very simple like telling yourself that you are going to deal with it eventually or simply accepting in yourself that you can not change the past. Whatever it is, is entirely up to you. You know what is needed. No one else has your experience and no one understands you better than you. So when you look to resolve issues you resolve them for you not someone else. Only you know what your preferred outcome should be.

  • Don’t become a prisoner of your past
  • Unresolved issues are your gaol
  • Turn your negatives to positives
  • Let go of your past, you can’t change it
  • Don’t suppress problems, deal with them
  • Dealing with problems gives you experience so that future problems are dealt with more easily

Exercise: Clarifying Preferred Outcomes.

If you are playing a tune on a trumpet that no one knows how can they join in?

This exercise is to help you to define what is realistic and can be resolved, bringing your from a no tune to a tune everyone knows and can join you in.

Let us say that your problem is that you become angry when you are trying to sort out the children’s contact with their other parent. You would like to be able to handle your anger better and talk about the contact without it becoming a volatile situation. Now make a list briefly describing the problem as you see it and what needs to change.

Next ask yourself how you will know when the problem you are facing is no longer a problem. Then write down your preferred outcome. Be specific using positive language in your writing.

Example: I will know that I am handling my anger better when I am able to talk to the other parent without anger driving my responses.

Use your notes to help you define what your preferred outcome looks like and to give you the direction to move forward.

If you are struggling with any issues and need to talk about them why not take advantage of the expert’s page.


The difficulty with life’s problems is that they tend to occupy massive parts of your mind. When you are ‘troubled’ the more you try to put the problem out of your mind the more it seems to be in your thoughts. If you have lots of life problems, as many of us do, they take over and our mind keeps throwing them at us one after the other. This state in meditation terms is often referred to as the ‘monkey brain’. I think it’s a really good description of the overwhelming way our minds function. The difficulty with the monkey brain syndrome is that it bombards us with negative thoughts and takes up so much of our mind that we can not access our logic and positive thoughts to make good quality decisions.

The answer is to learn to relax the mind especially when we are stressed. Easier said than done I know. But remember this:


By this I mean that we are capable of changing the way we deal with our self! We have the ability to cognitively change the responses we use in any situation. For example, if your response to a naughty child is to become angry and shout, which is clearly not a rational response as it does neither them nor you any real good, you can develop another way of dealing with the situation by the use of a positive reaction that allows you to turn your anger into a positive thought process that lets you deal with the child in a much more constructive and less threatening way.

No one can effectively deal with every problem to their satisfaction. There will always be times when you wish you had reacted differently. Accept this and you will avoid one of the most destructive unresolved problem responses… The ‘volcano effect’ as I call it. This is the effect that can happen when you do not deal with any of your problems. The effect is a build up of volcanic, emotional, energy. The stuff that makes your stomach tighten. Allowing this to build in you without airing it causes a build up of pressure that sooner or later will erupt. The problem is, the final straw will probably be something very simple. Those around you will wonder why on earth you have reacted so violently. What they won’t know is the enormity of the pressure you have built up over a period of time that they have not been aware of.

The way to avoid this is to reduce the pressure regularly and in a controlled way. Opening up and letting people know how you feel can help. Doing this gives you the opportunity to relax the stress. If you can’t, then try exercising. You don’t have to take on a marathon or spend hours in the gym. A short walk can do the trick.

Every day take a little time out to think about the things that have caused you anxiety. It may help if you make a list. What you are aiming to do is to release some of the pressure. Meditation can do this. Meditating is a simple process. You don’t have to sit cross legged on the side of a mountain. Sitting on a chair, keeping an upright posture with a straight back and slowly breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth will do. The idea is to allow your mind to relax. To think of nothing in particular and allow your mind to move from the monkey brain state to a more relaxed state. Thoughts will come into your head. Don’t tell yourself to relax, it rarely works. Better if you allow the thoughts to drift in and drift back out again, as a wave on a beach. Try not to focus on any one thought. Listening to soothing music, or just the sound of your breath entering and leaving your body helps you to lose the drifting thoughts and puts you back into a meditative state. At first you may only manage a few minutes of ‘no thought’, but in time you will have longer spells. Regular meditation, even for five minutes a day will soon become something that you will look forward to and benefit from.


It’s no good spending valuable healing time torturing yourself by going over your past life events. No matter what, you can not change them. They are what makes you good or bad!

Settling your soul starts with the acceptance that you can not change the past. Using your knowledge and experience to shape your future is what you should spend time thinking about. No one knows the core you better than you. Quite often psychologists, counsellors and social workers come into people’s lives, get them to talk about their past and analyse the information, giving it back to them in a very identifiable form. The person being ‘helped’ thinks wow, how fantastic and they have a feeling of relief. Months later that feeling goes and the question arises, ‘ok you’ve identified why I am like I am but nothing has happened since then. When are you going to make me feel better?’ Using a solution focussed approach to your problem gives you a way forward by encouraging you to think about how to shape the future not dwell in the past.

Settling your soul is best tackled by accepting who you are and understanding that you made past decisions with the knowledge you had then and that now your knowledge is different and that given the situation again you would not react in the same way.

We all have a past history, we all have negative experiences; we all develop differently. What we have to understand is that we are a product of our past. The way we deal with that past makes the difference. We can let past negative influences make us negative, or we can use the experience to adjust ourselves to a positive reaction and we can use the information to alter our environment to a positive place. Being subjected to many life negatives does not mean that you can’t change them. But it does mean that you have to make greater efforts to change your mindset to feel better about yourself and to find the positives.

Settling your soul means accepting your past and your self. Coming from a ‘difficult’ background does not mean that you are destined for a difficult future. In fact if you think about it, if your life experience to date has been difficult, then you should be able to use all of that understanding to make a better future.



What you have is priceless. Don’t underestimate your worth. Your knowledge is unique to you and whether you like it or not, good or bad it all belongs solely to you. You make your decision in this knowledge, it affects your every day thoughts and events.

Understand that no matter what, there are no negatives in there it’s all positive if you use the knowledge you’ve gained to good effect it is absolutely PRICELESS.

Let’s say that you are in a relationship that you are not enjoying. Why are you still there? The answer may well be that you are hoping something will change to make it ‘better’. Or you just don’t feel that you have the strength to move away from it.

Your reasons for staying are unique to you. Inside, you know the real reasons. To come to the reasons you have used your knowledge. It is this that determines how you cope. It may be that you have reflected on your past and that you have the knowledge that you have done something in the past that you regret and that you are blaming yourself for it. Reflect again on this and use your knowledge to inform you, not destroy you. Maybe you should have moved out of the relationship years ago but you did not. Don’t dwell on this. It may be that you are feeling guilty for thoughts or things that you consider are wrong. By all means reflect on your past but accept that we all do things that we regret. What you don’t want to do is to continue to do something that you know is wrong. Don’t try to appease everyone else you can’t win them all so don’t try, accept that some people will not understand and accept your position. That is a matter for them not you. Keeping a failing relationship alive because of your guilt or because you are trying to please others is not a positive way forward. It leads to uncertainty. Being vague about what you really mean to try to lessen the impact of the relationship’s end is more damaging than a clean break. Vagueness leads to unhelpful responses from those around you.

Ending a relationship cleanly and quickly may be brutal but weaning someone off you for months is down right abusive!

Using your knowledge to define your problem will help you to come to a positive conclusion.

When people are unclear about what they want to change, attempts at finding solutions are often misguided. This can lead to frustration especially when nothing seems to be improving. If you are unsure about the exact nature of your problem take the time to trawl your knowledge and find the reasons behind your needs then act on them.



 Easier said than done I know as the majority of us try to get everyone else to like us and as such we actually lose ourselves.

 Pleasing others and denying our ‘self’ leads to frustration, anxiety and often anger. Rarely does it result in happiness as, sooner or later, our true self comes through. So the best way is to start as we mean to go on. Be true to your self. Don’t fall in to the trap of trying to please others for their acceptance of you. Keep your beliefs and make sure that you stand up for them. Understand that people have a right to disagree with you but that shouldn’t make you feel that you are in the wrong or that your position has no value.

 If you have allowed your views and feelings to be hidden because of a lack of self esteem then changing that position will not come overnight. But come it will if you start to believe in you! If it helps, begin the change slowly. Make a point and stick to it. The more you do the better it gets and the easier it gets.