In the light of this new life stress and pandemic crisis, I realize that God was preparing me for this very moment in time. Over the past 2 years, I have been evolving and learning to deal with my constant stress state. Most people don’t realize the constant stress and anxiety that I have been living in my whole life. And the case is the same for anyone with a chronic health issues, genetic disease or chronic illness. I never thought that I would be sharing my story of triumph over a debilitating genetic condition but here I am. I never thought that I could learn to relax and release stress to reduce my physical symptoms, pain and stress but here I am. I never thought that I could support others to deal with stress, illness, digestive issues and grief but here I am. And this past year, I have done that and more. And I never thought that I would use my techniques to help me deal with the stress of claustrophobia in a pandemic, and yet here I am.
Most people don’t realize that my body has been under constant stress since childhood. Most people don’t realize that their stress reaches their children. Most people don’t realize that to truly tackle stress and calm the nervous system you need to address the subconscious mind. We all have a Negative Nancy or Negative Norm with in our minds. But there is power in transforming those negative thoughts into the positive. Trust me I was a skeptic at first. Shit I have been pushing through my negative thoughts and fears for years. I push through them everyday to write an article, post a video or be my authentic self. But the beautiful gift I learned in the process is that working on your Negative Nancy and Negative Norm actually impacts everyone around you. Have you ever noticed when you enter a room with a Super Negative person, your mood completely plummets? Have you ever noticed that when a high energy happy friend calls you, your energy and mood skyrockets?
Well the same thing happens inside YOUR home. If you are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed your children feel it. If you are stressed, anxious and overwhelmed your family feels it. If you are stressed out your customers, colleagues, partners and the world around you feels it. It isn’t hard to shift that Negative voice but it does take a little time and effort. And in the midst of this crisis we all have extra time to evolve and grow in our stress reduction practices. We all have more time inside our homes. We all have more time with those we love. And to truly value that time and soak in the delicious goodness of these quiet times we need to go within. Trust me I am beyond scared to have to wear that Hazmat suit and care for patients. But I am ready for the task. I was brought to this world to help people who are ill, anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. And I know it because that has been my life experiences up until now. I have become an autoimmune warrior, chronic pain survivor, chronic illness guru, digestive health prophet and so much more. And it was all preparing me to help others in this time of great stress and anxiety.
Trust me I have been avoiding my gifts for a long time. I have been too scared to share videos of meditations and hypnosis. I have been to scared to show the world that you can truly transform your stress and impact those around you. But I learned this special fact at home. Over the past year, I published a book, The Truth about IBS and Anxiety, and in that time I also wrote a children’s book to help my son with anxiety, sensory overload and stopping the stress response. And the book has been sitting in my computer because I was too scared to show the world the truth. And now in this moment of extreme stress I realize the injustice I am doing by not being authentic. So today, I will finally get out of my own way and share my gifts and secrets in a special Support Group for this Crisis. I will share simple bonding and stress relief techniques for mom’s to reduce their stress and support their children. The strategies I teach have astounded my physicians, they have no idea how I have been able to stop my frequent infections, pain, migraines, chronic lung issues and more… They are completely surprised because this is not something that is taught in nursing or medical school. This practice is something I learned by going within and learning my own body using the scientific background from my nursing career to hack my immune system and nervous system. Yesterday, my colleague and the founder of the non-profit Family Friendly Hands, came to me asking for a live to support families. Trust me I was scared shitless to share my gifts and story on social media, yet here I am. And yesterday, I recorded a healing audio on Facebook despite my own internal stress and resistance. And today, in the midst of all the chaos and stress, I will go LIVE with Elsa Murguia Clarke to support the community and families with special needs children. And I will continue to push through my fears and anxieties to support the community with COVID-19 inside the Hospital and Outside. Why? Because inside the Hospital my role is to support families as they receive these results positive or negative. And in the community my role is to help people slow down their nervous system, boost their immune system and release stress.
This is a vital role I play because the ones that are impacted the most by our stress is our children. Trust me I didn’t want to believe it either. But I lived a life of chronic illness, anxiety and digestive issues. And it all began in my childhood. As an empath, I was born with special gifts to sense stress in those around me. And many of our special needs children and regular children have the same gifts. And our stress reaches all of them. Let me tell you a story, when I was a little girl my mom was always under stress, she had chronic illness, chronic pain and anxiety. And the days she saw her mom the stress would multiply because her mom was a Negative Nancy. I love my grandma but the fact is she didn’t know how to cope with her predominantly negative mind and it impacted her physical health. Well that stress and tension crossed the generations to me. And I have been learning to deal with those special empathic gifts over the past 7 years. And finally, I am ready to teach people that you can reduce stress, improve your mood, calm your nervous system and boost your immune system. And I know it because I proven it at home, with my children and with my clients. So if you want to learn to calm and relax in the midst of this chaos, join the movement I am creating inside my support group. I’m here to support you through this stress. Join my free Facebook group Unleash Your Inner Strength to an exclusive video I will share today, The proof your kids feel your stress.
What is sensory overload? It occurs when input bombards your senses from all directions. This is exactly what happens when you receive stimuli in all 5 senses simultaneously. It can happen in loud parties, conferences, schools, public places, work, events, etc. Many events and public venues create this feeling of increased stress due to the magnitude of sensory assaults that are emitted from equipment or people. These constant and repetitive sensations trigger a reaction in the body. It is the flight or flighty response. You know the fear of the situation takes over, all your stress hormones turn on and you can fight back or run. You can either be stuck in the moment and allow the stress to build until you explode. Or you can step away and relax your senses. We are all impacted by noises, visuals and sensory stimuli but some have a significantly more potent experience. And for those that are anxious like me, sensory overload can be overpowering and exhausting. That’s right. It is exhaustingly depleting your energy every moment you stay stuck in that uncomfortable situation. And if the stress left unaddressed it accumulates in the body creating a sense of panic. That is why children and adults exhibit feelings of anger or frustration when sensitivities accumulate resulting in a reaction of some sort or a tantrum. A child might have a tantrum or cry during fireworks. A teen might get in a fight or scream at someone in a loud concert. And an adult might have an argument during a music festival. Of course there are unlimited possibilities and unlimited scenarios. But I’m all about positive solutions for the life we live in the environment around us. Helping others finding the mental wellness they desire through simple modifications in their daily lives.
So let’s get back to overstimulation in public venus. In public events there are often many groups of people talking, kids laughing, babies screaming, overhead lights, flashing lights, loud music, etc. It feels like an overwhelming assault on your senses and it happens every second. You might be engaged in a conversation but all the stimulation keeps distracting you. Its difficult to speak or understand everything. If you are trying to do something on your phone, its 10 times harder to concentrate. Any task or action you need to perform becomes excruciatingly difficult. Every second builds into minutes and hours of stimulation entering your 5 senses. And after many hours your body is completely drained and devastated. I bet you know someone who is highly sensitive. They may have an official diagnosis or medical condition. If you know someone you feel in your gut or body when you imagine them. The diagnosis or condition doesn’t matter. It is just a name given to a condition that is covered by an insurance. Its a name for something that will helps you acquire treatments or services. But this is simply about understanding your body and taking ACTION to help yourself relax. I am talking recognizing the symptoms or pain your body send you. It is about Recognizing the triggers that cause you to experience the stress in your body. If you can picture a friend who is always sick or has a headache. A friend who always has a stomach ache or pain. Or maybe its you. Maybe you always have this creeping pressure in your chest. Or your stomach feels like you swallowed a basketball. Take a moment to think about the last time you felt that way. What where you doing? Where were you? What did you feel in your body? How did you feel in that place? What emotion comes to mind.
Ok so now that you have a better idea if you are sensitive or you know someone who is sensitive let’s take a deeper look. Highly sensitive individuals include but are not limited to those diagnosed with a conditions like Autism, Seizure Disorders, ADHD, Multiple Sclerosis, PTSD, Anxiety and Mental health issues. It is prevalent in all ages (infants, children, teens and adults).
Here are some possible examples:
A child that is very spacey and distracted. They appear to be in another world many times a day.
A friend that keeps fidgeting and looking at their watch during your conversation.
A coworker that loses eye contact during conversation and is looking at everyone in the room instead.
An infant that is unconsolable and crying in her mother’s arms.
A friend that screams at you during a normal conversation for no apparent reason.
A child that hides in a tent during fireworks.
A person that is pacing back and forth.
Some symptoms of sensory overload: difficulty focusing, irritability, restlessness, urge to cover your ears, urge to shield your eyes from light, feeling overly excited, feeling anxious (fearful or stressed) and feeling sensitive to things rubbing against your skin (textures, fabrics, clothing tags and nails). Some symptoms may be even more confusing than you thought. I experienced sensory overload after attending a child’s party. The event was in a loud party venue (loud music, bright colors, kids, laughing, kids screaming, bright lights and tons of talking). As the time passed I felt more tired and drained. By the end of the event I was in such exhaustion that I needed a nap. Napping is not my typical routine. I usually have more than enough energy to complete my day. I might need an afternoon meditation but a nap usually won’t happen. Years ago I was exhausted like this every day. I had chronic fatigue and realize now that sensory overload was a huge part of this. So I returned home after the party tried a meditation but was still exhausted. And I cuddled up into my sheets to sleep for 1.5 hours. I woke up did another meditation and finally felt vibrant again. Interestingly my son exhibits symptoms of sensory overload too. But his energy was not impacted in the same way mine was. He actually developed a headache. After all the stimulation was over and it was time for bed, his head was pounding. I’ve been learning his symptoms along with mine for several months now. Becoming aware of your symptoms takes some effort. And observing your child is important to understand their symptoms. It is also important to ask them questions about their day and how they feel. Its important to help your child deal with sensory overload. It also helps you develop strategies to reduce sensory overload regularly. And have a plan in place for full fledged sensory exhaustion.
Our nervous system has two important parts that need to work together to establish balance: the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nervous system is involved in activities of wakefulness and alertness. The sympathetic nervous system is involved in the fight or flight response. This response helps us defend ourself during dangerous situations. Dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system results in nervousness, stress, and anxiety. The parasympathetic nervous system is involved in our restful activities like sleep and digestion. It promotes healing, regeneration, nourishment and elimination. Activating this system in your body is essential to reduce stress, sensory overload, and anxiety. Dysfunction of the parasympathetic system appears in symptoms of lethargy and fatigue. If the body is unable to calm and rebalance in response to these changes causes oxidative stress in the body. A prolonged stress response leads to stress on the adrenal glands and immune system. The prolonged stress response begins to exhibit symptoms and eventually illness in the body.
As an empath, I realize there are many people that experience this deep inner sense of stress. And these people experience it like me, every moment, in every second, in every activity. But I hadn’t realized its impact on the body until recently. It is so overwhelming that symptoms arise quickly. The stress builds and symptoms accumulate over time. I’ve noticed the prevalence of children exhibiting symptoms of pain or digestive issues is a growing trend. I was the same as many of the patients coming through the hospitals regularly. Children with inexplicable symptoms and negative lab results. Test after test just leads to no answers or solution for your child. So what if we decide to take a step back and observe. Taking time to understand your child a little closer and observing the symptoms that arise. Here are some common symptoms of sensory overload. And I also have some relaxation techniques to help your child calm their senses. But there are plenty more strategies that help calm the nervous system. And everyone is different, so its imperative to create an individualized routine for yourself or your child. The routine should be based on the individuals needs and preferences.
Symptoms of a Child with Sensory overload:
Zoning out/Day dreaming
Cover their eyes or ears
Shift in mood
And there are scientific methods of reducing this overload in yourself and your children.
Strategies to avoid sensory overload:
Plan to leave events early from parties- have an exit strategy and take breaks
Shopping- Plan, write a list and prepare before you enter the store. Being prepared will enable you to gather everything you need and exit the store quickly thus reducing the impact of sensory overload.
Learn your triggers and those of your child – It will help you plan for new events and have methods at hand to reduce symptoms.
5 Ways to Calm your Child’s senses:
Guide your child to relax with visual imagery and story telling
Relax outside in Nature
Cuddle and watch a relaxing nature show
Noise cancelling headphones with peaceful nature sounds
If you want to learn more ways to help your child with special needs. Then stay tuned for events and webinars coming soon. I will be presenting soon at Miami Family Friendly Hands in October. I will be discussing sensory overload and its impact on children and adults with disabilities.
What is empathy? Empathy is a sense of understanding the feelings and experiences of another person. Many of us are empathetic towards our friends, coworkers or family members experiences. And we have some form of empathy this sense of every day in conversations or communication with others. We may even experience empathy watching a movie, TV show or listening to a song. There are many unique individuals that choose to live a life of empathy and service to others. Those special individuals live a life of service in one form or another to better the lives of the world around them. They often choose their profession because of their high sense of empathy and compassion towards others. These loving individuals in the health care or service profession experience more empathic situations than others do because of their work environment. For example, my profession healthcare (nurses, doctors, EMT, Medical Assistants, Fire fighters, etc.) experience much more empathy because their career choice is founded on helping others. Every day they care for patients facing health challenges and they serve them in their role. Each of their patients is facing unique experiences that involve some form of physical or emotional pain. The healthcare workers role is empathic in and of itself, simply by their conscious decision to help others. Many health care workers may experience added stress or health issues because of their career choice and the way they process these experiences.
And yet there are still people that experience an extreme sense of empathy. This highly exclusive gift is almost impossible for others to understand. They experience empathy at a cellular level throughout their entire body. You can’t imagine feeling this form of empathy unless you experience it first-hand. Those enlightened individuals are empath’s and they feel exponentially more than everyone around them. Empath’s are individuals with a gift of hypersensitivity. Some may call it a curse but I call it a gift. Of course to reach this point of awareness and acceptance was quite a journey for me and those around me. Empath’s are hypersensitive to the feelings, thoughts, pains and emotions of others. That little fact was even hard for me to understand even-though I had an intuitive feeling lingering in my mind for a long time. The interesting fact is that many empaths (hypersensitive people) don’t even realize the extent of their empathy or the toll it can take on their own health. For instance my career paths have always lead me to a trajectory of caring for others in various roles and environments. My careers gradually transitioned and transformed from one career into the next in the service realm. Every career choice was a compassionate one: Special Education Teacher, Nursing Assistant, Registered Nurse, Health Coach, Hypnotist and now Transformational Author. These are all careers based on supporting the community by nurturing, caring, and loving others. All of these career choices were based on love and a hope to make a difference. They were each an opportunity to improve the lives of those around me. I acknowledged my empath gift a few years ago but didn’t understand its true impact. I had NO idea the significant role it played in my own emotional and physical wellbeing. I had seen a rollercoaster decline in my health and happiness but had no idea my empathic gift was the culprit. And truly it wasn’t the culprit at ALL now that I understand my gift. The cause of my health decline was my lack of understanding and preparation to live with my special gift. After all we may be born empathic but the cultivation of a deep connection with Your Inner Strength takes time. It was my lack of knowledge that caused me to fail at meeting my own basic human needs. It was a lack of self-loving, self-care practices that was my downfall. It was my lack of knowledge about self-protection that truly opened my eyes.
Imagine a person that is so open and willing to help others every second of everyday. They are so willing that they do this subconsciously all day long, 365 days a year, over and over again. And I mean in the moment and every moment. It could be a text message, phone call, face to face conversation or care-giver relationship. You name the situation and my body was ready to tackle it. And I had no idea it was happening for almost 38 years. I was effortlessly absorbing feelings, thoughts, emotions, pain and experiences of those around me. I absolutely mean absorb because that is what empaths do. And that is exactly what I used to do every day. I was completely oblivious and unaware it was happening. I did it with patients, complete stranger, friends, family members, co-worker, etc. It didn’t matter who it was if they were in pain I was ready to fix them or give them a little relief. The true awakening began when I noticed TV shows and movies triggered intense feelings.
Hypersensitive people are extremely sensitive to the energetic vibrations, emotions, thoughts and feelings of others. This weird phenomena can actually allow them to absorb the feelings, thoughts and emotions of others into their bodies. I know it sounds crazy because until I experienced it for myself I thought it was a crazy too. Then I started to feel intense emotions during movies and TV shows. The most significant experiences I had were watching Game of Thrones or other violent shows. And the most traumatic scenes in the first few episodes of Game of Thrones were the hardest for me to handle. I could feel the good, the bad and the ugly. I could feel everything as if it was happening to me. I could see the pain in Kalisi’s eyes as her new husband raped her. I could feel her pain when her brother treated her like garbage. It wasn’t always negative or bad. I felt the good ones too. I could feel her love transform into something new for her husband. And when I say feel, I mean my heart would race, my blood would boil, the emotions would pop into my head and fill my entire body. I could feel her fear; her shame and it took a lot of work to be able to watch the few episodes that I did. We tried to watch it years ago but it was too violent and at that point I hadn’t established a self-love routine. This past year we tried to watch it again and every time those rough and tough emotions came up I practiced my own routine on the couch amidst the chaotic show. Yep, I changed my breathing pattern, I chanted affirmations in my mind, I practiced my stretching and relaxation techniques to release those emotions that had entered me. It was an exhausting process and eventually we stopped watching the show. I truly thought it was an amazing show but it was a lot of work to stay relaxed and calm because I hadn’t learned how to protect myself yet.
After this phenomena, I was more aware of feelings and emotions in my body. I started to feel weird sensations in my body during conversations with friends, coworkers and family members. I began experiencing pain in areas that had been pain free for years. Random pains would emerge once again. Sometimes the pain would vanish after some self-love routines and others would last for days or even weeks. You see I still hadn’t learned a crucial element to prevent or limit this phenomenon. And truly this little crucial element is beneficial to everyone not only empaths because it promotes your own resiliency by building your own inner strength.
Have you ever had a conversation and suddenly your head hurts? Or Your shoulders tense up? or You get a sharp pain in your stomach? Once, I started to put things together and realize this was my reality I began to ask myself questions. Why does my back hurt? What is the message my body is sending? Suddenly, I started to ask myself a lot of questions. This little practice began several months ago. I began to see patterns with friends, family and strangers. I realized that many pains that arouse in my body were not mine: back pain, shoulder pain or headache. I’m not sure if they experienced any relief but suddenly after the conversation ended, I had their pain too. Some might say its psychological, you are imagining it but I wasn’t. They didn’t tell me they were in pain, I wasn’t assessing them as a nurse does, yet boom it came. Then later on in the day they would mention they had a headache or their right shoulder hurt and it confirmed what my intuition had already told me. And when I say I had pain I mean it. My muscles were tight and tender, I was less flexible. My muscles would making popping and snapping noises and activities became harder to perform. Let’s just say the things I had worked so hard to relieve started pilling back up again. My arm pain or back pain would be debilitating once again.
It would happen suddenly in the middle of a conversation, my neck suddenly tightened and tensed up causing a radiating pain. Then I would take some time to meditate, breath and relax. I would ask myself. Is this my pain mine or someone else’s? Boom, a name would pop into my head. Then I would think about the conversation and any visual cues I had received. Maybe the person was rubbing their neck or told me they had a headache. I usually didn’t know they were in pain during the conversation. Mysteriously symptoms would arise all the time out of absolutely thin air. It helped me understand a little more why working bedside in the Pediatric Emergency Room was so difficult for me. Being such a loving person and trying to heal the pain of those beautiful little children had eventually taken a toll so huge that I had to leave them behind. But I hadn’t figured this out until now. And I left bedside nursing more than 9 years ago because I left when my oldest was little. You see I have been taking care of myself for years already and my chronic pain is pretty much non-existent. I literally had to give up bedside care because my body couldn’t take it and my doctor was worried I was going to die if it continued. Fast forward to this year, I am aware that I can feel these intense emotions and am creating a routine to relax and calm but I’m still missing a key element protection. I get flare ups here and there but the extent of my pain is never close to what it was 6 or 7 years ago. Then I travel to Hawaii with my family. People that I love more than anything in the world. People that I would give my life for and obviously if I absorb the pain of strangers my body was open and ready to take on their pain too. Traveling in a group is always stressful. We all know that it’s hard to please everyone and I always try to please everyone. So I did, I used my ho’oponopono and my self-loving practices blessing everyone in my family. I blessed them all every single one of them all day long. If there was a family argument I blessed them. If the kids were fighting I blessed them. If we couldn’t agree on a tour, I blessed them. If we were in a car for a long time and tension was running high, I blessed them. I thought I was helping myself in the process that the blessings would help me remain peaceful, calm and protected. They helped me stay peaceful and calm but I definitely wasn’t protected. Each day I was exhausted and drained. I would fall asleep early and wake up exhausted. I didn’t realize I was missing some crucial steps in my process until I returned from Hawaii and read a book that arrived as a gift from my Publisher. Ramses Rodriguez’s book “Stop Pressing Your Own Panic Button” opened my eyes to my gift. It also brought to light a doctor that has my special gift. She has dedicated her career to help people understand their gift and protect themselves. Dr. Judith Orloff wrote the “The Empath’s Survival Guide” really opened my eyes. I began to listen to her book on audible and them progressed to purchasing her program for additional insight. And suddenly it all made sense, the exhaustion and the desire to rush home early from Paradise. By the end of my trip to Hawaii, I was exhausted, drained and overwhelmed. The lack of protection for myself caused me to feel completely overwhelmed and snappy. I was snapping at people, grumpy and making hasty decisions because I just couldn’t take any more stress. I had spent the entire trip blessing everyone around me and had lost myself. I had lost my happy, positive attitude and upbeat personality. I was at complete exhaustion and the only thing I could think about was getting home. I still oblivious of my true gifts and the impact it was having on my own health. I hadn’t developed a protection routine for myself because I didn’t know I needed one. I was still taking on the emotions, thoughts, pains and energies of everyone around me even though I didn’t want to. And thus my Empath awakening happened. It has been a few weeks since we returned from that spectacular trip that enlightened me to the true powers of my gifts. It also helped me realize the importance of creating a routine for myself that truly gave me resilience and happiness. The funny thing I learned along the way is these little routines that I have are not only beneficial to me but everyone around me. This week a course came into my email at Baptist called “Highly Resilient Nurses” that cemented this little fact in my mind. The course spoke of some of the practices I have developed for myself over the past few years. My practice is still significantly different than anything I have encountered out in the world. But I realize now that I am on the right path and that Hawaii was the trip that brought my true awakening to light. After all we all need to fall to stand up again. We all need to crawl to walk. We all need to hurt to heal. So now it’s time to write the Transformation book I was born to write.
So Here is a little gift. I created it for all those empath’s out there. Those Special people like me that feel more than the rest. Those people that have a unique gift and were born to help the world around them. And maybe even live in the health care world like I do. Take time for yourself to listen and relax before you begin your day. Create a sense of protection for yourself every morning. This practice of self-love will make your day Fabulous. Blessings and Joy to all of you. Click the image below to list to the Meditation.