Rollercoasters, some people love them and some people absolutely, no way, no how, never in this lifetime, will consider going for a ride. The riders will tell the non-riders that once you go on you will love it and will laugh at how scared you once were. The non-riders may not be able to aptly explain what about the rollercoaster causes them tremendous anxiety, but they are forthright in their commitment to never try. Interestingly enough, I’m sure if you asked adult non-riders, a lot of them would say they wish they could be brave enough to go for a triple loop, upside down, backwards ride of merriment. In an attempt to thwart a new generation of rollercoaster-anxious adults, one theme park is giving some helpful advice on prepping kids for the “ride of a lifetime.” An article in USA Today that describes the parks suggestions is useful in terms of giving frustrated parents some tools for discussing anxiety with their kids, but it doesn’t really give kids a way to power through their fears. Totem Tamers provides an active process for keeping potentially overwhelming emotions in check. Redirecting the anxiety from the rollercoaster in to the totem may actually help reduce the grandeur of the feelings and make them more manageable. So as we welcome summer and the season of the rollercoaster, grab a totem and strap yourself in for the ride!
And shouldn’t you love yours? It seems like the majority of people truly dislike the dentist and have major anxiety as a result. A lot of that I believe is due in part to the lack of control we may feel when in the dentist’s chair. We can’t see what they’re doing and really have no sense of timing as to when something may give us a zing in just that spot that makes us cringe all the way down to our toes! You know exactly what I’m talking about. I never really considered what my dentist must go through and how he handles patients with anxiety until he asked me for some Totems to keep in his office. Brilliant! He hopes that patients will be able to relieve some of their own anxiety so he can focus on the task at hand, or mouth as it may be. You know how when you’re about to get a novocaine shot and your dentist wiggles your cheek? They don’t do that because it helps them, they do it because it helps you. Your brain gets distracted by the wiggling in your cheek just long enough to still you so the doctor can inject you. If a patient is holding on to a totem and reciting the rhyme or just visualizing the shift in colors, they will more than likely reduce the level of anxiety they are feeling and help the dentist relax as well. So take your totem to the dentist, or better yet get your dentist to stock some totems!
Smile big and stay well!
As a mother of three I am used to getting complaints. “I don’t like this dinner!” “My brother hit me!” “I don’t want to do my homework!” So when a mom came to me in the school play ground telling me she had a complaint, I naturally steeled myself for the worst. She practically put her finger in my face as she told me how she had spent 25 minutes the night before looking for her son’s Bear Totem. Her son suffers from terrible nighttime anxiety and he was refusing to go to bed without it and therefore she had to find Bear (it was tucked in the corner among the sheets.) I was unable to hide my huge grin as I thanked her for giving me and Totem Tamers tremendous validation. Naturally, I apologized and reminded her to reinforce the notion that each Totem belongs to the totem owner and that learning responsibility for your totem is just as important as being responsible for your emotions. With that, she hugged me and thanked me and went on her way. This is the kind of complaint I could hear everyday!
My son suffers from anxiety, yet he inspires me daily. Today he joined the entire 4th grade as they celebrated Stevie Wonder through dance with the National Dance Institute. There was my sweet boy, who can have anxiety over the littlest event, all smiles and rocking out to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday”, among other hits. Through my tears I caught his incredible smile as he spied us from the stage, his pride shining through and me barely containing mine. Way to go E, you are an inspiration. Stevie Wonder reminds us that even without sight, there is still vision.
It’s another Monday, which means the start of another work week for most of us. Work may mean getting up ridiculously early to catch a train to the office, or getting the kids up with just enough time to brush teeth and hopefully down something fairly nutritious (I include organic toaster pastries in this category and no I am not that kind of mom.) It is also a good time to remember to stop even for just a few seconds and take some deep, cleansing, healing breaths before we realize that we are huffing and puffing just to get out the door. A little oxygen can do wonders for the body as well as the mind. Try it! Yes, right now, inhale…..exhale, inhale…..exhale. Don’t you feel better? I know, I do!
Find your peace at www.totemtamers.com
There is a difference between fear and anxiety. The definition of fear reads: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. For example, a child often fears going to the doctor because of the association with shots and pain. The definition of anxiety reads: an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs (as sweating, tension, and increased pulse), by doubt concerning the reality and nature of the threat and by self-doubt about one’s capacity to cope with it. For example, a child already fearing a visit to the doctor now is terribly worried about how he/she will react to simply being in the doctor’s office, let alone reacting to the possibility of vaccinations. The layers continue to mount until a full blown attack of anxiety renders said child into an emotional volcano. As a parent of a child who suffers from generalized anxiety, I have been on the receiving end of the volcano. It’s not fun That’s why Totem Tamers was born, hoping to find a way of preventing the volcano from erupting. People who suffer from anxiety wish they didn’t, and even though there is no cure-all, there are ways of coping and a totem in hand is one of them!
My son had an anxiety attack about having an anxiety attack. That’s how awful this condition can be for some people. His fourth grade class was taking a day trip to Philadelphia and “E” was worried about having an anxiety attack on the bus, among other potential mishaps like running out of gas, getting sick, getting lost, just to name a few. With totem in hand he finally fell asleep. We had to get up considerably earlier than normal to be at the bus on time, E woke up still nervous. When E has an attack, he loses his appetite, his stomach gets upset and he becomes incredibly pale and even a bit clammy. All of these symptoms were in play for him and therefore me at the wee hour of 6:30am! Even without a drop of coffee, I knew that we needed to redirect E’s feelings before they got out of control. We took some deep breaths together and armed him with his totem to take on the bus. Upon seeing his friends, E’s nerves seemed to calm down and he was giving me his plastered on smile of courage as he boarded the bus. I alerted his teacher to let her know that he was anxious about the trip, she reassured me that she’d have his back. Imagine my anxiety all day worrying about my sweet boy so far away. When at last the buses pulled in and E hopped off the bus all grins and Abe Lincoln Top Hat in place, my heart swelled. But wait, it gets even better. At home, E placed his totem on the counter and said “Guess what? I didn’t need the totem, but my friend did.” His seat mate started to get a little bus sick and was really worried he might throw up. So my sweet boy E took out his totem and gave it to his friend while he explained how the totem would help him. My eyes are welling up at the image of this even as I type it out. The boys even worked on a list of new animal totems for the company on the trip home. I am humbled and excited that Totem Tamers is already helping children and can only hope that we will help many more to come!
We are all different. Thankfully. If we were all the same we would get bored with each other pretty quickly. As an individual I revel in my “different-ness.” As a parent however, I worry that my children might not be ready to handle their “different” character traits and personalities. I applaud my son who doesn’t care that his pants are too short or that his shirt is on backwards. I praise my other son for not caring that people think his long hair makes him look like a girl. Then there is my middle son, of whom I am his biggest cheerleader, who is amazingly sensitive to the world around him and cares greatly what others might think. It is this sweet boy who is also unique and special, but just hasn’t developed that ingredient that helps him accept it. That’s why he carries a totem around with him a lot. The totem reminds him that his feelings aren’t bigger than he is, and he can use the totem to calm himself if he gets overwhelmed. It’s been wonderful to watch him take over power of his emotions, and even though he still gets upset and angry and nervous and experiences all the feelings you expect from a nine-year-old boy, the feelings don’t prevent him from participating in life.
I will be updating you as often as I can with stories, tips, articles and links to support. Hopefully we can remove the stigma that exists for people who “feel too much,” and we can recognize that all people feel differently and that’s a beautiful thing. Find your totem at www.totemtamers.com.