Help­ing teens deal with stress

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT - My daugh­ter has school ex­ams at the mo­ment and is get­ting in­creas­ingly stressed. She is also be­com­ing more and more fussy with food as a re­sult, of­ten for­get­ting to eat or ex­claim­ing, ‘‘she’s un­able to di­gest any­thing.’’ What can I do to help her? With th

Hi Jenny. I think the first place to start is to ad­dress how you can help her with the things she can con­trol. These in­clude the rit­u­als she puts in place to help man­age the stress and the way she nour­ishes her­self. In times of in­creas­ing stress or pres­sure many of us dis­card the rit­u­als that ac­tu­ally help us to mod­u­late the stress re­sponse. If she’s open to these things I would sug­gest a reg­u­lar yoga, med­i­ta­tion or breath-based prac­tice.

There is no bet­ter way to bring about calm in the body than through ex­tend­ing the length of each breath. Be­ing re­ally dis­ci­plined about sleep and en­sur­ing she is get­ting at least eight hours will be one of, if not, the most ef­fec­tive things she can do to man­age her stress re­sponse. This is one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of bring­ing the ner­vous sys­tem back into bal­ance.

The next step is to look at stim­u­lants in the diet. Is she drink­ing cof­fee, soft drinks, eat­ing lots of cho­co­late and so on? Ex­cess caf­feine (the amount is dif­fer­ent for ev­ery­one) can re­sult in feel­ings of ir­ri­tabil­ity, anx­i­ety, heart pal­pi­ta­tions as it leads the body to make adrenalin.

When you’re stressed your body nat­u­rally makes adrenalin, so it’s best to avoid con­sum­ing things that fur­ther ex­ac­er­bate the is­sue. The feel­ing of not be­ing able to di­gest any­thing is a nat­u­ral re­ac­tion from the stress re­sponse. See if she is bet­ter with soups, smooth­ies and slow-cooked foods, such as casseroles dur­ing this par­tic­u­lar pe­riod, as they’re typ­i­cally eas­ier to di­gest.

If you feel like she is an ‘in­ter­naliser’ and is re­ally not cop­ing well it could be re­ally ben­e­fi­cial to have her talk to a qual­i­fied coun­sel­lor or psy­chol­o­gist. They will as­sist with help­ing her to un­der­stand how she can sup­port her­self emo­tion­ally. Many young women are ‘pleasers’ and put ad­di­tional pres­sure on them­selves to per­form and live up to their own ex­pec­ta­tions and they un­know­ingly per­ceive that they need to be ‘‘per­fect’’ to be loved/ liked/ac­cepted.

Hi Raewyn. Cau­li­flower con­tains sulphoraphane, a po­tent an­tiox­i­dant, that also sup­ports your liver de­tox­i­fi­ca­tion path­ways in a num­ber of ways. It con­tains an­tiox­i­dants that sup­port Phase 1 de­tox­i­fi­ca­tion along with sul­phur­con­tain­ing nu­tri­ents that sup­port Phase 2 detox ac­tiv­ity. Here are a few ideas for in­cor­po­rat­ing more

cau­li­flower in your diet:

Swap mashed potato for cau­li­flower mash – while there is noth­ing wrong with potato, cooked cau­li­flower can make a beau­ti­ful puree/mash, which can eas­ily be used in place of mashed potato. Sim­ply steam cau­li­flower un­til it’s soft, sea­son and puree with olive oil and pars­ley.

Roasted cau­li­flower – roasted cau­li­flower is de­li­cious! Cut into large chunks and sprin­kle with cumin sea­sons, turmeric, olive oil, salt and pep­per and roast in the oven un­til slightly golden.

Cau­li­flower soup – one of my favourite soup com­bos is cau­li­flower and broc­coli. Add to the nu­tri­tional ben­e­fits of this com­bi­na­tion by in­clud­ing gar­lic and onions. A nour­ish­ing win­ter op­tion!

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