Smiling family lie on a white bed

Parents Who Stay Mentally Healthy by Managing Their Emotions and Stress (especially during divorce or a custody battle), Make a Massive Difference in Their Children’s Lives.

You’re busy and you don’t want to take the time because you have so much on your plate. If you haven’t considered how essential it is to work with an expert to help you manage your emotions and mental stress in your current troubling circumstances, ask yourself,  ‘Are the kids alright?’

Did you answer with a resounding ‘Yes’?

Well, think again.

When you are under stress, trying to avoid facing what you are feeling, pushing your emotions away, thinking that all you need to do is get ‘through this’ and then you’ll ‘be alright’, is a fallacy. Difficult at best. Dangerous at worst.

Here’s why…

Reason Number One:

You have emotions and so does everyone else.

According to ‘Longman Dictionary of Psychology and Psychiatry’, emotions are “A complex reaction pattern of changes in nervous, visceral, and skeletal-muscle tissues response to a stimulus… As a strong feeling, usually directed toward a specific person or event and involves widespread physiological changes, such as increased heart rate and inhibition of peristalsis.”

Years of scientific discoveries have shown emotions are physiologically based. Which means having an emotion, whether acknowledged or not, alters biochemistry and cellular function, and that impacts organs and systems in the body. Thus, dis-ease and diseases; including eczema, stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, heart disease and others have been shown to be directly connected to emotional and mental stress.

In fact, some researchers in the field of mind/body medicine estimate that 99 percent of the people who die of cancer (as well as heart disease) suffer from chronic, serious depression, anger or a combination of both emotions.  According to famed physician, Dr. C. Norman Shealy, the most prevalent ongoing emotion leading to cancer is depression, while chronic anger is the most likely emotion to cause heart disease and high blood pressure.  These findings parallel those of former Stanford University scientist Dr. Bruce Lipton, whose research shows that chronic stress is a primary cause of more than 95 percent of all types of disease conditions.

Martin*, the CEO of a global financial company, when working with me to handle his current business stress, suddenly recalled that his chronic stomach problems started when his father suffered from depression and anger outbursts following a business collapse — nearly four decades earlier.

Tala*, a real estate entrepreneur, realized her skin condition started during the time she would hear her parents screaming at each other daily for years before they divorced when she was eleven.

I have a long list, from more than two decades of working with clients, who had physical problems that were previously uncorrectable until the emotions of their childhood were addressed and healed. In many cases they probably would not have developed the conditions if their parents did their own work to become emotionally and mentally healthy, especially during stressful times, and made sure their kids had expert help also.

Reason Number Two:

Emotions are Contagious.

For decades researchers have studied the tendency for people to unconsciously and automatically mimic the emotional expressions of others, and in many cases actually feel the same feelings, simply by exposure to emotions in social interactions.

Studies have found that merely seeing another person frown or a smile, or other kinds of emotional expression, trigger reactions in our brains that cause us to interpret those expressions as our own feelings.  Simply put, we are as a species, innately vulnerable to “catching” other people’s emotions.

Yes, your children can be deeply impacted by your emotions — even when your not aware you are emotionally reacting, even when you think they’re not looking and even when you believe you’re not showing your reactions.

Alicia*, a CEO in the middle of a divorce was in tears when she shared with me, “I just heard Melanie (her daughter) tell her sister she hates daddy because he made mommy so sad. I couldn’t believe it. I am sad, but when did I ever let her know I was?”

A high-profile attorney, William*, going through a major law suit and experiencing panic attacks, recalled in session that when he was a child, every time his mother had a certain look on her face he could feel his heart beating in his chest, just like he was experiencing during his current panic attacks, even though she said nothing.

The process in which a person (or a group) influences the emotions and behavior of another person (or group) through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotions is referred to as “emotional contagion” (EC).  According to many research studies, including reports in Psychological Science and Psychology today, this is a very real and serious issue.  These studies demonstrate how powerfully EC can impact our relationships—domestic partnerships, friendships, teams, business relationships, and groups of all kinds.  Most people do not realize how much their own emotions are influenced by the emotional states of others, or how much they can affect others by their emotional states.

We know that the impact can work both ways — positive and negative.  So, the important question is, ‘In what direction are your emotions being influenced, and how are you affecting your children and others around you?”

Reason Number Three:

You have ‘Mirror Neurons’ (and so do your children).

In the early 1990s, Italian researchers made an incredible discovery of something called ‘mirror neurons’.  Mirror neurons are a special class of brain cells that fire not only when an individual performs an action, but also when the individual observes someone else make the same movement.

Human infant data suggests that the mirror neuron system develops before 12 months of age.  This means your children can actually feel what you are feeling, just by observing you when you are under stress.  Your emotions are impacting their nervous system, their perceptions, their reactions, their behavior and their overall health and well-being — whether you are aware of it or not.  So, are you still too busy to get expert help so you can manage your emotions and your mental stress?  ©2002-2015 Dr Denise Nadler. All rights reserved

If you are going through a lawsuit, divorce, illness, bankruptcy or some other major stress, or if you’ve just come through something like that, or know it is imminent in your near future, let’s have a Real Conversation to discuss how VIP Consulting can help.

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*These are not my clients actual names.  However, they all gave permission for their story to be shared.