By: Laura Cesaroni

I love all things Self-Reg and approach the people I work with through this lens. Understanding how the brain, body, and relationships impact experiences and the world they live in has been an effective process to support children, teens, families, and those staff. 

A number of years ago, I brought a group of tweens together for a weekly social club. Besides joining for games, fun, and relaxation we also learned about stress and anxiety.  I often got asked, what curriculum did I use, what program? Although there was not a formal ’social skills’ curriculum, we used a variety of relational and emotion-focused interactions that helped us all grow and understand our experiences and relationships differently. In 2017, I decided to introduce a new tool from The MEHRIT Centre.  The Stressed Detective helped us frame our discussions and provided foundations in Self-Reg knowledge. This group formed into a close-knit community of teens, who still show up weekly! The pandemic did bring new challenges and since April 2020 we have been meeting virtually. Having the foundations of Self-Reg supported this transition. Recently we have been discussing stress, staying at home, and technology. This coincided with a Self-Reg course I recently joined: Reframed: Masters in Self-Reg Reframing.

I wrote these intentions (below) as a way to explore some new Self-Reg concepts and science. I use these intentions both in this teen group and with private clients. The science behind Self-Reg, stress, attention restoration, and emotion-focused therapy is woven in these words.

Moving through this piece slowly with teens has led to many discussions and self-insights. It has helped increase awareness around freedom, reasoning, and managing during these complex times.

Hope others will find it useful.

I want to be free and uncontrolled.
When I am not, I feel tension, anger, disappointment and pressure. I am distressed.
With constraints, with demands with expectations, I lose myself, my will, who I am. 
My mind may suffer, my relationships are strained. Am I good enough? 
Too many decisions in one day. Choices are hard. Getting up, eating, work, more work, teachers, chores, organizing, exercising, friendships, parents, siblings, sleeping…start again.  Rushing in decisions. Choosing to satisfy who? What about me?
What should I do, how should I behave, what should I do next? Not enough time for all that is asked of me and expected. Catching up always.
Driven to isolate, driven to escape and enter alternative worlds and games. All consuming for mind and body.
Might I need something different to be truly free?
Can I rest away from the materials and habits that drive me, that overdrive my brain and my body. Difficult to resist. Yes, this will feel uncertain, uncomfortable, maybe boring. But I will learn to ride this feeling. 
To become free I will wait more, want less. I will see my tired habits and dream. This is possible. 
The cravings for more will fall, slowly. I will need less. I will feel patience.
I can stop the noise of screens, people, news and the world. Internal quiet.
I may choose differently. With more reason. Processing thoughts better.
I can then self-direct and move with peace, move with true freedom and less tension. 
I will wander and wonder more. ‘Soft fascinations’ help me quiet my mind and self-restore.
With less distractions, time will slow down. Closing the tabs in my mind. I can breathe.
Yes, I will feel more. Maybe sadness, loss or loneliness. Anger may erupt. Not knowing what comes next is scary, paralyzing but I will learn to trust myself. I am strong. I am unfolding.
I may be less certain but more reflective. This is my wise mind.  Restoring in this state will take practice and be good for my mind, body and learning.
I may feel less worried, less stressed.
This is a path to freedom, awareness and calm.
I can then enter my world of sleep, food, school, work, parents, friends and technology with a wiser mind. 
I may spend less time with technology and online. Yes, this can still be fun and entertaining. But I may seek different and new things. I may seek for more meaning about myself, who I am and what I need and wish for in my life. I will want more for myself.
This is my new window, a new opening. A window that supports my well-being and thinking. 

Looking to Learn More?

Share Self-Reg learning with the youth in your care with our Feeling Stressed: A Self-Reg Course for Teens.

And for the parents who would like to learn Self-Reg themselves, we also have our Self-Reg Parenting Course.