coping skills | Kay Trotter

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All Posts Tagged: coping skills

De-stress: You have the power to reset

[callout1]You stomach clenches, your heart races, and you can’t catch your breath — all tell-tale signs you are getting anxious or overwhelmed. But while a slight from a co-worker or bad news from a family member can raise your blood pressure, you have the power to reset and focus on de-stressing.[/callout1]

Flight or Flight

When you’re stressed, your body instinctively reacts with the “fight or flight response,” which, in the pre-civilization world, helped us escape from predators and dangerous situations.

But, today, our bodies can’t tell the difference between an approaching grizzly bear or a difficult boss. So, our stress response is triggered when there’s no imminent danger. And, instead of helping us to escape, it can contribute to chronic conditions like hypertension and headaches, as well as mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders.

The good news? Just as you have a stress response, you also have a “relaxation response,” during which you can slow down your breathing, decrease your blood pressure and use less oxygen.

Go For A 10-Minute Walk

While just about any walk will help to clear your head and boost endorphins, consider walking in a park or other green space, which can actually put your body into a state of meditation.

Breathe Deeply

Breathing exercises – or even just taking a few deep breaths – provide an extra boost of oxygen and help reduce tension and relieve stress. Best of all, deep breathes will help you calm down.


A short visualization is an easy way to get back to center.

Simply make yourself comfortable (at your desk, on a park bench – wherever!) and then try to picture a peaceful scene: a future vacation, your favorite beach. You can even visualize yourself accomplishing a goal or maybe picture yourself in an elevator, happily sandwiched between two hot actors of your choice!

Eat A Snack

Stress-eating doesnʼt have to be bad. Pick a snack that will fill you up – half an avocado, a handful of nuts, a hard boiled egg. Then take your snack away from your computer and go sit someplace peaceful. Focus on your food: its texture, the way it tastes, how it makes you feel. Voila! Youʼve turned your snack into a meditation.

Step Away From The Screen

Uninterrupted computer use has been associated with stress, lost sleep and depression. Make sure to take frequent breaks from computer use during your day – and try to shut offline at least an hour before bedtime.

Or, On The Other Hand, Plug In

While screens can stress you out, you can turn to the Internet to get a little stress relief. Do a search for a web-based stress management program, like guided meditation, or watch a viral video that will make you laugh. Laughter is a great de-stressor because it first activates your stress response and then deactivates it, creating a kind of “rollercoaster” that leads to a feeling of relaxation.

Hang Up, Then Turn Off Your Phone

Cell phones stress you out, thereʼs no question about that. Smartphones, in particular, can make you feel pressure to respond to messages at all times and talking can even raise your blood pressure. So, consider shutting off your phone for an hour or so.

Put On Some Music

While classical music slows heart rate and lowers blood pressure, any music that you love will flood your brain with feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine. So, crank it up on the drive home!

De-stress: You have the power to reset  

You also might like these resources on reducing stress and anxiety by Dr Trotter

STRESS QUIZ: How Stressed Are You? Do you diminish or categorize your stress as “normal” or “it’s no big deal, everyone has stress?”

Belly Breathing – One of my favorite de-stressor or coping skills that I teach to all my clients young and old that can be done anywhere at any time is “Belly Breathing”. – See more at:

Social Anxiety and Stress – Shyness is the tendency to feel awkward, worried or tense during social encounters, especially with unfamiliar people. There are many degrees of shyness.

Anxiety – Anxiety is the displeasing feeling of fear and concern. Anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness and dread. It is also associated with feelings of restlessness, fatigue, concentration problems and muscle tension.

The Healing Power of Nature – Read how Dr Kay reduces her stress.

Kids and Stress—10 Parenting Tips -The way parents respond to emotional situations significantly affects how well children learn to cope with their emotions.

Dr Trotters Pinterest board Anxiety/Stress Management – Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress.

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How to recognize addiction in your teen

According to the 2012 National Survey on Drugs Use and Health, 9.5 percent of youths aged 12 to17 were using illicit drugs.  Many teenagers use drugs or alcohol just to experiment them, out of curiosity or to fit in with the crowd that they want to hang out with.  While some lucky teens experiment and stop or continue to use here and there without getting hooked up, but several stay addicted to drugs or alcohol and later turn into chronic addicts.  It is hard to say who will develop dependency and who will not.

However, the following circumstances can make teenagers more vulnerable:

  • Teens who grow up in a drug infested areas
  • Teen who hang out with grownup who are involved in the wrong activities
  • Teens who are unhappy and experiencing depression, stress or anxiety
  • Teens with low self – esteem
  • Teens who are uncomfortable with others around them
  • Teens who are abused physically, emotionally or sexually and
  • Teens who have anger issues and are defiant

Most teens start with alcohol or marijuana and gradually progress to using other hard drugs.  When teenagers begin using drugs sooner or later they start experiencing negative consequences such as losing interest in studies, cutting classes, playing hooky, violence, unprotected sex, risk of accidents, suicidal or homicidal ideation.

The most common early warning signs are:

  • Sudden mood changesBajeerao Patil
  • Irritability
  • Signs of low-self esteem
  • Uncommon behaviors
  • Staying too long in bed
  • Staying up too long
  • Lack of interest in general activities
  • Poor choices
  • Impaired judgment
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent long-lasting cough
  • Tired or red eyes
  • Frequent arguments
  • Defiance
  • Letting on discipline
  • Unwillingness to follow directions
  • Aloofness
  • Repeated health complaints
  • Lying or dishonesty
  • Things start disappearing from the house including money
  • Decreased interest in school
  • Falling grades
  • Cutting classes
  • Breaking laws
  • Weird sense of dressing (carelessness)
  • Mysterious friends
  • Change in friend circles
  • Spending more time outside the house or in the basement of the house
  • Negative attitude
  • Depression

Mind you, the above-mentioned signs can be of some other problems too.  If necessary you must consult your family physician without unnecessary delay.  Parents can play an important role in preventing their teenage children from using drugs by having open communication, educating them about drugs, demonstrating responsible behaviors (role modeling), and keeping an eye on their behaviors including being mindful of the company they keep.  Once a friend of mine suspected that his fourteen years old son was smoking marijuana, but he wasn’t sure about it.  His son had started bringing home his friends who had never had visited them before.  My friend didn’t know how to find out the truth.  He confronted his son, but his son created a scene and stopped talking to his dad for a while.  However, later his father smelled marijuana in the basement and also found some traces of marijuana there.  The son couldn’t lie any longer.  After the use of marijuana was confirmed, his father warned him not to bring his wayward friends home and also lovingly told his son not to hang out with his friends who are using marijuana or any other drugs.  Now my friend’s son has already completed a degree in Engineering and has well paid job.  Luckily, his marijuana use was found out before it got out of hand by his vigilant parents.  You think about it.

Struggling with addictionthere is help!

PatilPhotoGuest Author | Bajeerao Patil

Bajeerao Patil has been treating addictions as a drug and alcohol counselor for over 25 years. He has Masters Degrees in Social Work and Human Resources. He is an avid teacher of addiction and recovery.  He is affiliated with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.  Bajeerao Patil is an author of Insanity Beyond Understanding and Lifelong Sobriety. To learn more about Bajeerao Patil and his work, visit and



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How to De-Stress


One of my favorite de-stressor or coping skills that I teach to all my clients young and old that can be done anywhere at any time is “Deep Breathing.”

Deep Breathing is a very powerful and very simple technique. It’s amazing how just taking just 3 deep breaths changes your brain chemistry proving you with instant relief to stress and tension.  This type of breathing teaches you to breathe slowly from your “diaphragm” or belly. Deep breathing relaxes you and directly reduces many of the symptoms of anxiety and panic – Don’t believe me! Give it a try

Just 3 deep breaths changes your body chemistry


  1. First sit comfortable with your legs uncrossed and place one hand on your belly about 2 inches below belly button.  Let your eyes close.
  2. Focusing your attention on your belly as it rises and falls as you slowly breathe in and out. Now let your breathing get even slower, and count one…two…three as you breath in and one…two…three as you breath out. Expand your belly as much as you can – like a balloon.   You know you’re doing “belly breathing” right when you can feel your belly expand.  Then, exhale to the slow count of 3, just letting all the air out of the balloon.  As you exhale, just feel yourself letting go of tension.
  3. Keep repeating the belly breathing to the slow count of 3.  As you breath, try to keep a continuous flow of air without thinking about the beginning or end of each breath.
  4. Pay attention only to the feeling of the breath.
  5. If other thoughts wander in, just let them wander out again.
  6. If you have trouble getting the hang of Belly Breathing, try lying down and putting something on you’re belly. Then put all your attention into making it go up and down with each breath.
  7. Once you have mastered your Belly Breathing, you can use it when you have symptoms of anxiety or panic.  Many of the “scary sensations” of panic are related to “hyperventilation”, which simply means rapid breathing.  Also, during panic, people tend to breathe from the chest instead of from the belly.  Breathing rapidly from the chest increases anxiety.  Breathing slowly from the belly lowers anxiety and reduces many of the “scary sensations” of panic.If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18

“Struggling with sense of identity while also feeling awkward”

Cognitive Stage
Late adolescents have a major broadening of thinking abilities: they can think abstractly and hypothetically; they can discern the underlying principles of various phenomena and apply them to new situations; and they can think about the future, considering many possibilities and logical outcomes of possible events. At this stage, they also have a greater perspective-taking ability that can result in increased empathy and concern for others and a new interest in societal issues.

Moral Development
As they get older, adolescents age 14-18 become less egocentric. They place an increased emphasis on abstract values and moral principles and some develop a “principled morality” with an increased ability to take another’s perspective where they can see the bigger societal picture and might value moral principles over laws. Late adolescents also have different rates of cognitive and emotional development (e.g. they often advocate for specific values and yet violate them at the same time).

The process of identity formation is intense for late adolescents. They experiment with different roles, such as looks, sexuality, values, friendships, ethnicity, and especially occupations. Some girls might experience obsessive dieting or eating disorders, especially those who have higher body fat, are chronically depressed, or who have highly conflicted family relationships. Minority youths might explore several patterns of identity formation, such as a strong ethnic identity, bi-cultural identity, assimilation into the majority culture, and alienation from the majority culture.

Psychological and Emotional Traits
For some early adolescents, there is an increased ability to empathize with others along with a greater vulnerability to worrying, depression, and concern for others, (especially among girls). Many show an increase in responsible behaviors.

Peer Relationships
Peers help youth explore and develop their own identity and cross-gender friendships become more common. Anti-social peer groups can increase anti-social behaviors. Close friendships also help youth with the process of developing an individual identity separate from that of a child in a family.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
Conflicts with parents often decrease with age, especially as late adolescents have an improved ability to see parents as individuals and consider their perspectives. Most maintain good relationship with their parents. They also have a greater interest in taking on “adult-type” responsibilities (having their own checking account, doing their own laundry, buying their own clothes, cooking meals, making repairs, etc.). Late adolescents commonly make most of their own decisions, preparing for eventual family. Their needs balance between time spent with adults and with peers. They continue to benefit from some parental limits and monitoring, while often objecting to them. Common conflicts occur over money, curfews, chores, appearance, and activities with peers.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Does your child or you rely on others to soothe them?

Does your child or you rely on others to soothe them, and seek soothing in food, toys, or activities of distraction?

Does you or your child resort to “Someone PLEASE soothe me”

mode, turning turn to relationships, activities, and things to comfort them. It is important to remember efforts spent on teaching yourself and your child skills of self-soothing can pay off today … and way into tomorrow.

The Struggle to Become a Butterfly: A True Story

A family in my neighborhood once brought in two cocoons that were just about to hatch. They watched as the first one began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed in one end of the cocoon. After lying exhausted for about 10 minutes following its agonizing emergence, the butterfly finally flew out the open window on its beautiful wings.

The family decided to help the second butterfly so that it would not have to go through such an excruciating ordeal. So, as it began to emerge, they carefully sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a Caesarean section. The second butterfly never did sprout wings, and in about 10 minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died.

The family asked a biologist friend to explain what had happened. The scientist said that the difficult struggle to emerge from the small hole actually pushes liquids from deep inside the butterfly’s body cavity into the tiny capillaries in the wings, where they harden to complete the healthy and beautiful adult butterfly.


If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site

Dr Trotter also post regularly in her FaceBook fan page

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10 Parenting Tips: Children and Stress

10 parenting tips - children stressThe way parents respond to emotional situations significantly affects how well children learn to cope with their emotions.

  1. Children are continually learning how to care for themselves and need guidance in how to express and understand their feelings.
  2. Stay attuned with your kid’s feelings—ask how they are doing, provide environment so they feel safe talking about how they feel.
  3. Children who learn positive coping skills, such as stress reduction and relaxation, are better able to respond to and recover from difficult situations. This ability will serve them not only in childhood and adolescence but in adulthood as well, and will benefit their physical health and academic/work performance.
  4. Positive coping skills will likely also decrease anxiety and behavior problems, while increasing self-control, self-confidence, and positive interpersonal relations.
  5. The first step to reducing stress is helping your child become aware of when he/she is experiencing stress. The experience of stress exhibits itself in three ways: • Physiological (increased heart rate, headaches, nausea) • Behavioral (disturbed sleep, getting easily annoyed, being avoidant), • Cognitive (difficulty concentrating, worrying, negative thinking).
  6. By helping your child learn to identify when he/she is experiencing stress, your child will learn when stress reducing or relaxation activities would be useful.
  7. Help your child learn deep breathing – this is a highly effective way to decrease stress. Practice breathing in deeply and then breathing out slowly. Repeat this a few times. With younger children deep breathing can be easily practiced when they are put to bed.
  8. Progressive muscle relaxation is another effective relaxation technique. Focus on an area of the body, such as the arms, and tense them as much as possible for a count of ten. Then release the muscles for a count of ten. Progress through the major areas of the body (legs, arms, shoulders, etc.). This too can be practiced before going to sleep.
  9. Make sure your child has enough rest— but not over sleeping. Children need between 11 to 12 hours per night.
  10. Further, there are many daily activities that can lower stress, such as regular exercise, engaging in hobbies, write in a journal, meditation, yoga, listening to soft music, and visualization.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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