You know those days when you’ve planned to do all kinds of things but when you wake up you feel ‘little’ and it’s about as much as you can do to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other let alone tackle anything more challenging.
Has your inner child – you have many – taken over?
Here are just some of the symptoms you might recognize when your inner child has taken over:
You have a feeling of inner collapse.
You feel stuck.
You have ‘the fog’ your brain feels as if it’s been swamped in fog and you can’t think straight.
Your voice has a different quality, quiet and childlike.
You can’t get on with anything and even the simplest tasks seem overwhelming.
You have a wobbly, shaky feeling inside or a heavy weight in your stomach/chest.
You don’t want to engage with anyone let alone go to work.
You don’t feel in control
One or any of the above is an indicator that you’ve morphed into child mode and you can stay stuck in this state for minutes, hours and even days.
How did this happen?
There can be many things that flip us into child mode, for example a dream from the night before, a film that you recently watched or an item in the news that has triggered you emotionally. Sometimes an argument with a family member, a run-in with a work colleague or a falling out with a loved one can be the negative trigger that awakens your inner-child, even hearing someone shouting can be enough for some people to trauma trigger their inner-child.
Does it even matter what caused it? We can get hung-up on trying to discover the trigger, which can cause other issues such as avoidance behavior, which in turn creates other problems such as phobias and addictions.
So what do you do? How do you get out of this state?
- Firstly there’s some homework to be done. On a good day when you feel adult, and a bit more optimistic about life and yourself in general, make a list of what is going on around you that allows you to feel this way.
- I’m wearing bright colours.
- I’ve been for my run.
- I’ve spent time with good supportive friends this week.
- I’m eating sensibly
- I’m sleeping well because I haven’t been watching the news.
- I’m meditating regularly or listening to an audio programme
- I’m planning to go to my yoga class.
- I’ve been listening to music
- I’ve been reading/watching positive thinking material/sites
- I’ve spent some time in nature, been to the park or the coast
Revisit this list regularly if it’s in your notebook or stick on the inside of your wardrobe or cupboard where you see it daily and it can work on you in a subliminal way.
Read this list out loud on a day when you’re stuck in ‘child’ and aim to apply as many of the things on your list as possible.
2. Get some light into the room you’re in, open your blinds/curtains.
3. Nurture yourself, prepare some comforting food and a warm drink, have a warm bath and massage yourself gently with body lotion. Or gently scrub with a loofah both of which can help you start feeling again.
4. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down some questions to ask your inner child such as “What do you want or need so that you can feel better”
Listen intently for the first answers that form in your mind and write down the answer which may be something like, “ I want to feel safe, or I want to be loved” Ask next , “What can happen now so that you can feel safe or loved”?
Develop a written dialogue with that part of yourself until you can a) feel a difference and a healthy distance between you and the inner child and b) have an idea of what that part of you needs in order to feel better.
Aim to meet the needs of that part of you maybe with an imaginary cuddle or you may decide to cancel your visit to the family party because that part of you would benefit from some quiet time instead.
5. Call a trusted friend and see if they can help you to morph back into ‘adult’.
6. Do something that will help you to feel grown up and back in control. Perhaps do some gardening, baking or some yoga.
If this is something that happens more often than you would like, maybe it’s time to engage the help of a professional and help your inner-child to grow up. Talk to a counsellor or therapist. Perhaps a personal development course would give you some tools for dealing with these feelings when they surface. Remember too in the shop here at thestresshacke.com there are lots of audio guides, to help you get the best out of yourself.
One thing is for sure, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got so do something different and help yourself to feel better.
This self-care will contribute to a better sense of wellbeing and confidence. Take good care of you because you do matter.