5 Foods & Beverages That Can Cause More Anxiety

April 19, 2018

Most people know that a healthy diet is important in managing weight and aging well. But what many people don’t realize is that the foods we eat can significantly alter our mood. While eating foods rich in protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can help fight depression and other mood disorders, eating the wrong kinds […]

5 Foods & Beverages That Can Cause More Anxiety

Most people know that a healthy diet is important in managing weight and aging well. But what many people don’t realize is that the foods we eat can significantly alter our mood.

While eating foods rich in protein, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can help fight depression and other mood disorders, eating the wrong kinds of food can cause depression and anxiety and even worsen symptoms.

If you have panic attacks or suffer from a mood disorder, it’s important that you can identify which foods may trigger or exacerbate symptoms. As a general rule, the following 5 foods should be avoided if you suffer from anxiety.

1. Coffee

Have you ever had one too many cups of coffee and a little while later had the jitters? Coffee can worsen existing anxiety and even cause it in people who don’t normally suffer from it. Caffeine increases cortisol levels (one of our “fight or flight” hormones), which in turn makes you feel stressed even when there is no external stressor.

According to research, lower intakes of coffee (less than 6 cups per day) has been linked to less depressive symptoms.

2. Alcohol

It has been said that one or two glasses a day of alcohol such as wine is good for your heart. While this may be true for those that don’t suffer from anxiety, those that do should steer clear of alcohol. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has stated that alcohol may worsen mood and contribute to anxiety.

3. Sugar

Often people reach for sugary foods like cookies and candy when dealing with a mood disorder. While it may seem these sweat treats are soothing in the moment, sugar actually makes your negatively feelings worse. A diet high in sugar causes spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which can wreak havoc on your moods and cause you to have panic attacks. Though delicious, avoid sugary foods as much as possible.

4. Trans Fat

It turns out trans fats found in foods like French fries and packaged snacks are not only bad for your health but for your mood as well. In fact, studies have found that foods containing trans fats, also called hydrogenated fats, can increase your risk of depression.

study, published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, examined the brains of rats and found that prolonged consumption of trans fat led to more anxiety-like symptoms.

5. Gluten

You don’t have to have Celiac’s Disease to be bothered by gluten. Many people don’t realize they have an intolerance to gluten that often shows up in the form of anxiety and panic attacks. A study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine found that those with gluten sensitivities are more prone to feeling anxious after eating wheat.

While cleaning up your diet can help you deal with your anxiety, sometimes diet alone is not enough. Therapy can help you to identify the root cause of your anxiety and cope with it.

If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child

April 1, 2018

If your child is sensitive to the emotions of others, worrisome and easily overwhelmed by changes or new people and environments, you may have a highly sensitive child. Parenting can be demanding, and parenting a highly sensitive child can present additional challenges. However, with a few simple strategies, you can better manage everyday problems and […]

Parenting the Highly Sensitive Child

If your child is sensitive to the emotions of others, worrisome and easily overwhelmed by changes or new people and environments, you may have a highly sensitive child. Parenting can be demanding, and parenting a highly sensitive child can present additional challenges. However, with a few simple strategies, you can better manage everyday problems and create a more peaceful home for the both of you.

Change Your Viewpoint

First, it’s important to change your viewpoint. Your initial reaction might be to see your highly sensitive child’s special needs as a detriment, rather than an asset. However, highly sensitive children tend to be more creative, insightful and empathic. With proper guidance and understanding, your child will grow into a happy and well-adjusted adult.

Encouragement and Praise

Your highly sensitive child will maintain his sensitivity into adulthood. Therefore, it’s crucial that he learn as a child to embrace and manage his emotions. Feeling shame about his sensitivity could cause him to develop anxiety and depression as he ages.

Validate your child’s feelings by encouraging him to express himself, and listen when he speaks. Encourage your child to manage his emotions rather than suppress them. Don’t ask or expect your child to “toughen up.”

Your sensitive child will also benefit from praise on a job well done, as this will help him develop confidence in himself.

Help Them Prepare

Sensitive children can become easily overwhelmed by new environments and people, so a little preparation can be helpful to both of you. For example, if your child is headed to a new classroom, prepare him a week or so in advance by visiting the school, playing in the playground and meeting some of the teachers. Reassure him that it’s natural to feel a little anxious, and that the other children are nervous as well.

Create a Safe Space

It’s often important for highly sensitive children to retreat to a quiet place where they can be alone with their thoughts. Their safe space can be a literal space you’ve created, or it can be as simple as a container of crayons, blank paper and their favorite stuffed animal in a quiet area of the house.

Get Involved

If you notice that your child tends to isolate or have great difficulty in social situations, try volunteering for field trips or as an occasional recess or lunch monitor. Encourage your child to participate by interacting with the other children. When he sees you having fun, he’s more likely to go from observing to participating.

With love and gentle guidance, your highly sensitive child will develop a confidence and self-acceptance that will carry him into adulthood. If you or your highly sensitive child needs guidance and support, please give me a call to schedule an appointment.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

4 Ways Play Therapy Can Improve Your Child’s Life

March 15, 2018

Children have great imaginations, and they use it in every aspect of their lives. Play is a huge part of children’s lives and they create imaginary scenarios with their toys all the time. If something is going on in a child’s life, one of the best ways to discover their true emotions is by watching […]

4 Ways Play Therapy Can Improve Your Child’s Life

Children have great imaginations, and they use it in every aspect of their lives. Play is a huge part of children’s lives and they create imaginary scenarios with their toys all the time. If something is going on in a child’s life, one of the best ways to discover their true emotions is by watching them play.

Play therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment, specially developed to help children between the ages of 3 to 12. A play therapist works with the child to explore and resolve their issues through the therapeutic use of play.

A safe space called a playroom is created. This allows the child to play with specially chosen toys, encourages them to express their feelings and helps them develop healthier behaviors. A a variety of techniques such as drama, storytelling, sandplay, painting, drawing and creative visualisation can be used.

Who can benefit from play therapy?

– Children who are constantly aggressive and willfully disobedient.
– Children who are ill or grieving
– Children who have depression, anxiety or attachment problems
– Children who are involved with fostering or adoption
– Children with conditions like autism and speech problems

Here are some ways play therapy helps children:

1. It helps them heal from past traumatic experiences- When children go through traumatic events, the negative experiences can create emotional and behavioral problems. Play therapy helps them make sense of the traumatic experience, by using their imagination to express themselves through toys. For example, a child who has witnessed domestic violence may make his toys fight each other. Play helps the child unpack emotions, understand the experience better and heal.

2. It enhances creative thoughts and ideas- During play, children use their imagination and creative skills to learn through play. During play therapy, children get to create different scenarios with different endings. This gives them a better understanding of what’s happening in their lives, and helps them cope.

3. It helps them deal with difficult emotions and situations- Play therapy involves activities that helps the therapist discover how the child deals with difficult emotions and situations and help the children address these difficulties. For example, a child may feel like they caused their parent’s divorce by being naughty. The therapist can help correct this wrong belief and help to eliminate feelings of guilt by encouraging positive thoughts.

4. It gives the child emotional support and helps them communicate their problems and concerns with others- In play therapy, children learn to work through difficult feelings and memories that they may not know how to put in words by expressing themselves symbolically with the use of toys. This helps the adults in their lives understand what children need in order to provide the right type of help and support.

Play therapy is quite beneficial to children, and kids who go through play therapy show great
improvement and display a higher level of confidence. Working through difficult feelings through play can be deeply restorative for children.

If you would like your child to see a play therapist, please contact me to book a session.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

How to Help Children Understand Terrifying Events

March 1, 2018

As a parent, your job is to make sure your kids grow and develop in a safe and healthy environment. While it’s possible for you to control your immediate environment – your home –  it’s simply not possible to ensure the greater world around your child is safe and free from trauma or natural disasters. […]

How to Help Children Understand Terrifying Events

As a parent, your job is to make sure your kids grow and develop in a safe and healthy environment. While it’s possible for you to control your immediate environment – your home –  it’s simply not possible to ensure the greater world around your child is safe and free from trauma or natural disasters.

The latest research points to the utter futility of trying to keep kids shielded from any form of violence. According to Caroline Knorr, parenting editor for Common Sense Media, the online resource for vetting kids media, “Ninety percent of movies, 68% of video games, and 60% of TV shows show some depictions of violence.”

What does prolonged exposure to this media violence do to children’s brains and psyches? The research is woefully out of date and incomplete.

What we do know is that controlling what kind and how much media our children consume is far easier than shielding them from real-world violence and devastation.

No child should have to learn about a school shooting, terrorist attack, or the fact that adults and children were killed in an earthquake somewhere in the world. But protecting them from hard truths is not the answer.

The reality is that parents have to talk to kids about reality. Children will hear about terrifying events eventually, and it could scare your child more if you are reluctant to speak with them about it.

Here are some ways you can help your child understand terrifying events:

Try to Stay Calm

Children not only listen to the words you tell them, they, at the very same time, look for your emotional reaction. From this they gauge what is actually going on and how they should react.

Though it may be difficult, it’s important that you try and remain as calm as possible to reassure your child, while, at the same time, letting them know it’s okay for them to feel upset. A delicate balance? You could say that.

Determine What Your Child is Really Worried About

When children hear about scary events, they will have many questions, such as, “Did people die? Why would somebody hurt people? Were they bad people? Will I be killed by a bad person? Are we going to war?”

Some children will ask many more questions than this, but what they are really trying to determine is if THEY are safe. The answers you give should be truthful but age-appropriate, with a final assurance that your family is safe.

Keep Your Daily Routines

Scary stuff is unpredictable stuff. Therefore, your child will be reassured by predictability. Stick to your routines as best you can. Along with talking to your children about the events, make sure they have a sense of regularity in their lives.

Seek Professional Help if Necessary

If your child continues to show signs of stress or agitation, it might be a good idea to talk with a licensed mental health professional who can help your child express their concerns and offer coping strategies.

If you or a loved one has been affected by a traumatic event and would like to speak with someone, please be in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I may be able to help.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

Strategies for Talking to an Abused or Neglected Child

February 15, 2018

For many of us, we remember our childhood fondly with images of birthday parties, family holidays or playing in the park with friends. But for approximately 6 million children in the United States this year, their childhood will also include memories of abuse. It’s impossible to understand why anyone would want to harm an innocent […]

Strategies for Talking to an Abused or Neglected Child

For many of us, we remember our childhood fondly with images of birthday parties, family holidays or playing in the park with friends. But for approximately 6 million children in the United States this year, their childhood will also include memories of abuse.

It’s impossible to understand why anyone would want to harm an innocent child, yet every year approximately 3 million cases of child abuse and neglect are reported in the United States. When you’re in contact with children, whether they’re children of your own, children in your extended family or children you interact with through the course of employment or volunteer work, a child that’s been a victim of abuse may decide to divulge to you their experience of abuse or neglect.

Listen

As the child is talking to you, be silent and listen. Let them talk freely. When they pause or stop talking, your calm silence and attention may prompt them to say more.

Calm

As the child is talking, it’s important to stay calm and steady, yet caring. Don’t cry, get upset or display any negative emotion as they may feel they’re being punished or shamed. It’s natural for you to feel upset or angry, but be sure to express your anger or upset to the appropriate people.

When you speak or ask questions of the child, be aware of your tone. Ask questions for the purpose of reporting pertinent details to the proper authorities, and avoid leading questions. Open-ended questions are best.

Believe

Believe the child’s report, and let them know they are believed. Now is not the time to assess validity, determine details or do detective work. You might want to say something such as, “I believe you. It’s good that you told me.”

Reassure

Re-establish safety with the child by reassuring them that they are loved and cared for, and that they did nothing wrong and are not in trouble. Free them from self-blame by letting them know it isn’t their fault. You can say something such as, “Nothing that happened is your fault” or “You did nothing to make this happen.”

Don’t restrict the child from play or fun activities unless necessary for their safety. They may see restrictions as punishment.

Get Help

Do not alert or confront the alleged offender. Call the local police or Child Protective Services/Department of Children and Family Services in your area as soon as possible to make a report.

Above all, it’s important that the child receives support and assistance immediately. If your child or a child you know has been the victim of abuse and you need the help of a licensed professional, please contact me today to set up an appointment.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

How to Have a Healthier Family Through Better Co-Parenting

February 6, 2018

Moving forward after divorce is difficult for everyone, and trying to figure out how to co-parent complicates things even further. Here are some tips to help you co-parent with your ex. Put Your Child First Putting your child first is an absolute necessity for successful co-parenting. Always consider their wants and needs above your own. […]

How to Have a Healthier Family Through Better Co-Parenting

Moving forward after divorce is difficult for everyone, and trying to figure out how to co-parent complicates things even further. Here are some tips to help you co-parent with your ex.

Put Your Child First

Putting your child first is an absolute necessity for successful co-parenting. Always consider their wants and needs above your own.

Putting your child first doesn’t mean that you stop taking care of yourself. Your child also deserves a parent that’s happy and healthy. Self-care is vital, so be sure to rest, eat healthy, exercise and make time in your busy schedule to do something special for yourself. This way, you give your child her parent at their very best.

The Golden Rule

The best co-parenting relationships have the best communication. To practice the golden rule, share the information you would like, and expect, to have shared with you. Neglecting to share information could risk unintended negative consequences for your child.

For example, if you get your child immunized for school and don’t tell your ex, your ex might also get your child immunized for school. This could have unintended consequences for your child.

If you’re having difficulty communicating with your ex in person or by phone, try text or e-mail.

Be Consistent

Children need structure to feel safe, secure and loved. Therefore, it’s important that you and your ex create a united front for the sake of your child and try to keep schedules as similar as possible. Resist the urge to give in to demands out of guilt: it’s familiarity and routine that will make your child feel loved and cared for.

Accept Differences

Even with the best of intentions, things will not be as perfect as we would like. If your ex lets your kids eat sweets or stay up late, you must learn to accept the different ways your homes are run. If you let go of control you’ll put less anxiety on your children, and relieve yourself of the stress of trying to control something you can’t.

Respect Each Other

Regardless of what happened in your personal relationship with your ex, your ex is still your child’s parent. To that end, you must respect your ex for the sake of your child. Don’t speak ill of your ex in front of your child, and don’t talk to your children about issues or difficulties with your ex.

Although your relationship with your ex didn’t work out, your relationship as co-parents of your child is forever. Let your child feel the love from both of her parents without feeling like she has to choose. A stable home and positive role models will help ensure your child grows up to be a happy, productive adult.

If you need help developing better and more positive communication with your ex, give me a call today and let’s set up an appointment to talk.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families

3 Natural Ways to Help Your Child’s ADHD

January 20, 2018

It is estimated that ADHD affects roughly 9% of American children between the ages of 13 and 18. ADHD can make ordinary childhood activities like going to school and being part of a sport’s team incredibly difficult. It can make life at home challenging as well. (SOURCE) Children with ADHD may exhibit one or more of […]

3 Natural Ways to Help Your Child’s ADHD

It is estimated that ADHD affects roughly 9% of American children between the ages of 13 and 18. ADHD can make ordinary childhood activities like going to school and being part of a sport’s team incredibly difficult. It can make life at home challenging as well. (SOURCE)

Children with ADHD may exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Easily distracted
  • Easily bored
  • Difficulty completing tasks
  • Easily loses things
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Fidgety behavior, can’t sit still

Every child is different and the severity of symptoms can vary greatly depending on environment, diet and other factors.

Treatment

ADHD is commonly treated with medications such as Ritalin and Adderall. While each child is different, and medication can be an effective treatment method for some, it’s important to remember that these medications come with a host of side effects. Ritalin stimulates the central nervous system and can cause agitation, anxiety, insomnia, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and even psychosis.

Adderall is a highly-addictive amphetamine whose potential side effects include hallucinations, tremors, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeats, and extreme mood swings.

These are very scary side effects, particularly when talking about children sometimes as young as five-years-old being prescribed these medications. It’s easy to understand why parents would want to seek natural alternatives.

The good news is, there are natural remedies that have been found very effective at helping your child address ADHD behavioral challenges. Again, each child is different, so it’s important to recognize that what is appropriate and works for one child might not for another. But these are good natural strategies to implement and see if they can help your child.

1. A Clean Diet

Many researchers are pointing to modern foods as the cause of the increase in ADHD cases seen each year. And is it any wonder? Much of our modern food is laden with toxic additives like artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and food colorings. Many of these can be found in foods geared toward young kids.

One of the best ways to treat ADHD naturally is to clean up your child’s diet. Ensure your whole family eats additive-free, unprocessed whole foods. This means spending more time shopping on those outer grocery aisles and less time in the middle ones where packaged foods line the shelves.

2. Supplementation

Even when eating a clean diet rich in fruits and veggies, we often can’t get enough nutrients from our food and must turn to supplementation. The EPA/DHA in fish oil are critical for brain health and can reduce symptoms of ADHD and improve learning.

Since ADHD has also been connected to digestive issues, a quality probiotic that can improve gut health is also recommended.

And finally, a multi-vitamin that contains all of the B-vitamins is essential. B-vitamins help with the formation of serotonin. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to ADHD.

3. Exercise

Too many children are sitting in front of the TV or their smartphones, playing video games and texting their friends. But young people with ADHD have an excess of energy, and it’s got to go somewhere. Along with diet and supplementation, physical exercise is key in treating ADHD naturally.

Make exercise something the whole family can do together. Go hiking or bike riding, climb a rock wall at your local gym, or go kayaking. Exercise will help your child’s symptoms and bring you closer together.

Family therapy is another way to heal the pain or confusion that has been caused by ADHD. If you or a loved one is interested in exploring treatment, please contact me today. I would be happy to speak with you about how I may be able to help.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.

Helping Your Teenager Transform into a Happy, Well-Rounded Adult

January 12, 2018

Raising kids is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. You do everything you can to make sure they stay safe and healthy. And then a study comes out that states that happy kids grow up to be more successful adults. (Great, so now they have to be happy as well!). It turns out that happiness is a […]

Helping Your Teenager Transform into a Happy, Well-Rounded Adult

Raising kids is one of the toughest jobs on the planet. You do everything you can to make sure they stay safe and healthy. And then a study comes out that states that happy kids grow up to be more successful adults. (Great, so now they have to be happy as well!).

It turns out that happiness is a big advantage in the real world. According to the study, happy people are more likely to earn a college degree, land a good job with better pay, and get promoted more quickly than unhappy people.

So how exactly can you help your teen transform into a happy and successful adult?

Build Resilience

Part of being happy comes from knowing your own resilience; knowing that when life knocks you down, you’ll get right back up. Resilience isn’t a latent talent, but a skill that can be developed.

You can help your child build resilience by teaching them how to put things into perspective. Being able to face challenges and adapt to constant change means recognizing the significance, or insignificance, of life events. Teach your kids not to sweat the small stuff and choose their battles wisely.

Instill Productivity

Feelings of accomplishment naturally lead to happiness. We feel good about ourselves when we are productive individuals. You can instill productivity in your child by helping them make decisions on their own over time. The more autonomy an individual has, the more able they are to get things done.

It’s also important that you help your teen discover their interests, talents and abilities. People that known their passions and what makes them tick have a knack for reaching goals.

Encourage Independence

It may seem counterintuitive, but teenagers cannot gain independence on their own. They simply don’t have the perspective or experience necessary to separate from you. Independence is actually a gift you give to your children. You can help your teen become more independent by:

  • Teaching responsibility – Help your kid have a clear understanding of what is expected of them at home and at school as well as the consequences for not fulfilling those expectations.
  • Demand Accountability – Make sure you stick to your guns and see those consequences through to the end. If you don’t hold your child accountable for their own behavior and actions, how will they be able to hold themselves accountable as adults?
  • Practice letting go – It’s important not to send mixed signals to your teen during this time. As you help them become more independent, practice letting them go. Be open to stepping back as they step forward.

You and your teenager are embarking on an exciting journey; one with many ups and downs. The best thing you can do is to let your kid know you are there for them and that they can talk to you about anything. Good communication is crucial during this time.

If you could use some help talking with your teenager, consider family therapy. A therapist can facilitate effective communication and offer tools that will help your teen become the adult they are meant to be.

If you’d like to explore therapy, please be in touch. I’d be happy to discuss how I might be able to help you.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.

5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety as a Parent

December 18, 2017

The hard work and unpredictability that makes parenting so rewarding can also cause a great deal of anxiety. Here are some simple ways to bring yourself to a place of calm. Make a To-Do List Ruminating on worries can cause lots of stress. Clear your mind by making a to-do list. Put down everything that […]

5 Ways to Cope with Anxiety as a Parent

The hard work and unpredictability that makes parenting so rewarding can also cause a great deal of anxiety. Here are some simple ways to bring yourself to a place of calm.

Make a To-Do List
Ruminating on worries can cause lots of stress. Clear your mind by making a to-do list. Put down everything that needs to be done into your phone or onto a sheet of paper, and as you write them down, visualize yourself removing this task from your mind onto the list.

Watch Your Language
Many times parents believe things will get better when their children move on to the next phase of their maturity. However, the truth is that the worry will continue until you change your pattern of thought. To do this, watch the language you use to describe things. Don’t use phrases such as, “this will be a disaster if I don’t get it done on time” or “I’ll die of embarrassment if I forget.”

Also change thoughts of “I have to” to “I want to”. For example, instead of saying “I have to sign the kids up for karate” say, “I want to sign the kids up for karate because I know they’ll love it.”

Get Some Fresh Air
There’s nothing like some fresh air and sunlight to ease anxiety. Put your baby in a stroller and go for a walk around the block, to a neighbor’s house, or a local park. Take your kids to an outdoor mall or sit on the patio of a frozen yogurt shop and share a frozen treat. You can also try your local library. Some libraries also have outdoor patio areas where you can read with your kids.

Practice Mindfulness Exercises
If your anxiety is difficult to control, try deep-breathing from your belly. While you do this, concentrate on five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste. This can help calm you when you’re feeling a panic or anxiety attack start to arise.

Use Your Support Network
Call your friends or family to chat or ask for advice. It may also help to vent with a Facebook parenting group or other online message board. You can also call your therapist and make an appointment and work through your challenges.

Try these tips to control and cope with your anxiety, and enjoy the time with your children free from worry.

If you find your anxiety to be impacting your ability to be a happy, successful parent, it might be time to speak with a professional who can help. Please contact me today for an initial consultation.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.

3 Reasons Why Play Therapy Is So Effective

December 5, 2017

Through play, children discover the world around them and their feelings about it. Play is also how children communicate these often-complex feelings. This is what makes play therapy such a powerful treatment. Pretending offers children the opportunity to “finally” be in charge and express what if feels like to be them. Here are some more […]

3 Reasons Why Play Therapy Is So Effective

Through play, children discover the world around them and their feelings about it. Play is also how children communicate these often-complex feelings. This is what makes play therapy such a powerful treatment. Pretending offers children the opportunity to “finally” be in charge and express what if feels like to be them.

Here are some more reasons why play therapy is so effective:

Play Reveals the Child’s Emotional Life

Though the characters of the real world and play world may be different, the storylines tend to be the same. A young girl may walk into a therapist’s office, spot the plethora of toys, grab a stuffed horse and kitten and make the horse hit the kitten repeatedly, all the while the kitten begs the horse to stop. While some adults might watch and perceive this young girl to be aggressive, a trained therapist recognizes this child is revealing a world of pain; the pain of living in a home where one parent routinely abuses the other.

Feelings can overwhelm children. Add to this their lack of a developed vocabulary to express these feelings and you have a young person with pent up emotions and nowhere to put them. Play therapy helps children reveal their inner emotional world.

Play Therapy Explores Other Options

Children are instinctual and impulsive. They haven’t yet developed the ability to stop, reason, and determine best courses of action.

Play therapy allows young people to explore different options, behaviors, and ways of feeling and thinking about things. Through play, a child may learn, for example, that aggression isn’t the only reaction, or even the best reaction, to a particular situation they are facing in home or at school. Understanding this is an area the child needs to work on, the therapist can assume a role or character and guide the dialogue and action of play toward a beneficial resolve and lesson.

Play Therapy Helps Children Feel They Will Be Okay

Children are often sent to therapy because they have been acting out at home or at school. By helping them work through their complex emotions, as well as making them feel heard and respected, play therapy helps children feel safe and okay, which results in the development of acceptable social behavior.

If you feel play therapy might be right for your child and would like to explore treatment options, please be in touch. I would be happy to discuss how I might be able to help your child work through their emotions.


Harini Sukumaran is a Qualified Mental Health Professional and certified Ayurvedic Physician who is passionate about helping children to become less stressed by giving them and their parents tools, support and encouragement. Her passion also includes helping Women suffering from trauma, depression, anxiety and Pregnancy/Postpartum mood disorders. She received her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology and Master’s in Marriage, Couple’s and Family Counseling with special concentration in Children (Play Therapy), Women and Families.