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You are the barometer.

Have you ever heard that before? That your emotional state has an influence on others

around you.

When I was teaching in the classroom, I remember staff trainings where we were told that how we are in the classroom affects the atmosphere in the classroom. At the time, I never took this on board.

I was too busy trying to survive the day and the mountain of planning and marking that was building to be concerned about how my emotions and stress were affecting the children and other staff in my classroom.

And the problem was that no one really explained it, provided any solutions to help me to make any changes to my emotional state, nothing to support my regulation. Just a statement thrown out there and I paid it as much attention as was given to its sharing. No one explained this concept to me, and it’s only now I realise it’s importance and it’s impact.

It is only through learning the tools to help me to regulate my own state and to support my emotional state that I am able to see the difference it makes.

It’s palpable. I see it in my home all the time. If my children are emotionally unregulated (by that I mean sniping at one another) and I am feeling the same then it spurs them on to continue in that state and we all go down the spiral. I’m human. I’m a parent. And sometimes I’m unregulated too.

The times when I am in a better place emotionally myself, I handle those sniping situations in a very different way. I model patience and negotiation and listening. I model speaking calmly and respectfully. And for the most part, a situation is deescalated and some semblance of peace restored.

It starts with YOU.

In order for your child to feel calm; confident; use their natural creativity and have self-

compassion they need to feel that from you.

This feeling is communicated in two ways:

1. Via your own behaviour- children model: they do what we do not what we say.

2. Via your nervous system- there is an electro-magnetic field around your heart. On this

field travels information about your heart rate and breathing rate, plus about your emotional state. Our nervous system responds to the electromagnetic field of others.

If your heart rate, breathing rate and state suggests that there is reason to feel unsafe, those around you will also feel unsafe. Feeling unsafe can lead to us experiencing anger; rage; confusion; hyperactivity etc... and makes us disconnect from our natural state of calm, confidence, creativity and compassion.

Taking steps to calm your own nervous system each day can influence the nervous system of your whole family.

How do we do it?

It can be incredibly difficult in the midst of a situation to switch on your own regulation (I

know, I do it too). So how can we help ourselves to use regulation tools when we need


Creating a practice that becomes a regular part of your day, such as meditation or

mindfulness can help you to begin to build a toolkit that you are able to access when and if you actually need it.

This doesn’t have to be a difficult extra thing to add into your no doubt already busy day.

This can be as simple as taking 3 deeper breaths.

When we deepen and become consciously aware of our breath it taps into your rest and

digest state. It switches on the part of your central nervous system that allows your heart rate to slow, your blood pressure to lower, your breathing rate to slow and ultimately regulate your emotional state.

Practising this on a regular basis when you’re not in an unregulated state means that when you are in that state, you have tools you can utilise to help you navigate it, to calm your nervous system and in turn, you’ll help to create calm in those around you.

An easy way to start:

Relax your jaw (bet you were holding it)

Drop your tongue from the roof of your mouth

Let your shoulders release down

Let your belly relax

Now sigh out (a big one if you need to)

Then breathe in through your nose

Another sigh (a little bit longer now)

Breathe in through your nose

And slowly out through your mouth

Continue this breath for as long as you wish, but just 3 longer deeper breaths will begin to calm your nervous system.

To extend this practice, you could close your eyes or lower your gaze and simply count your breaths in and out for a period of time, maybe 2-5 minutes.

And there you go, a meditation or mindfulness practice is started. The regulation of your

nervous system is begun. Practising this will begin to make it second nature and it can

become part of your toolkit that you use when you need to regulate your nervous system.

And in turn you will be helping to regulate the nervous systems of those around you.

You can then begin to build on this starting point, why not check out local meditation classes (there’s X-HAIL instructors up and down the country) or check out online apps such as Insight Timer, Headspace or Calm.

And if you'd love to learn these techniques on a much deeper level and then go out and teach them to the world....

Check out our training courses HERE.

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