Anna Kennedy Online – Autism Awareness Charity

Today’s guests on ‘All things Autism” Radio was Ali Knowles​

Annas guest  on ‘All things Autism’ Women’s Radio was Ali Knowles​.

‘All things Autism” will be aired at 1pm and 1am every day, please click here to listen to these amazing shows!

Ali shared: Anxiety is just trying to protect us

I’m Ali. A cognitive hypnotherapist, CBT Practitioner and creator and lead trainer at Ollie and his Super Powers. What is Ollie and his Super Powers? Well, it’s a therapeutic model to help young and old take control of their emotions rather than be controlled by them.

Why another therapy model?

Well, I can’t read and write very well, anything highbrow or that uses long words makes me run for the hills. I feel threatened and uncomfortable by people I perceive to be smarter than me and so I presume they are judging me. But I’m far from stupid and I don’t need fixing! I believe I have all I need in side to problem solve and not be dependant on external “experts” in order to be the best me.

I spent many years training in all the different therapies I could.  I stripped them down from being over complicated and using ridiculous long words making them user friendly and empowering to the user, so they never had to feel what I felt when I needed a little help!

I could wax on about the Model but if you get what I’m saying check us out on our social media platforms to see how the Model works and where we are working.

Today I got to speak to the wonderful Anna Kennedy, and we were talking about Anxiety and the last few years of covid and everything that entails.

Let’s start with Anxiety … what is it?

Well, I see it (and so do all the kids we work with) as a little annoying bodyguard!

This little bodyguard knows you inside out and he/she/it knows everything that ever made you scared or worried as well as all the good things. The bodyguard’s job is to keep a look out while we go about our days to make sure that we are not near anything that upset, scared, or hurt us in the past.

If the bodyguard spots something he has to alert you to get you move away from it. Well, he is only a little chap so he can’t leap out and defend you, so he lets you know via physical symptoms ranging from your tummy churning to your heart beat speeding up, to getting breathless etc. (all natural bodily reactions to the fight or flight response).

If you take note and move away from the perceived threat, the bodyguard stands down and you settle down. So, if it’s a physical threat … run or fight your way out of danger and the symptoms will stop.

The problem comes when the threat is not physical, its emotional.  For example: ‘how do I get the authorities to listen?’, ‘how do I keep my kids safe?’ All those worries we have for ourselves and our families.

You can’t run away from an emotion and so you squash it down and battle on. But after a time, you notice you’re exhausted, snappy, can’t sleep, can’t think and so on.  That’s the effect of anxiety taking over and exhausting you.

That’s a problem enough for you and can make you very poorly, despite your best swan impersonations.  Your children, all children, but especially those on the spectrum, they have a built in sixth sense that detects non-verbal cues so they will sense your anxiety and that’s when they get anxious because you’re their guide through life.  They totally depend on you to keep them safe, and if they sense your anxious then they get terrified!

So, what can you do? Take a look at this image. Imagine this on the ground.

Step 1. step in to the middle circle (Take Control) and have a think about that what do you have complete control over? The truth is very little, none of us do. Oh yes I can choose what to wear or eat.  I can choose what I want to do but I can’t control others’ thoughts or actions. But this is a nice place of total control and just stand their taking a few deep slow breaths and enjoy the sensation of being in control.

Ali Knowes

Step 2. now step in to the next circle (Some Control).
Again, think about what you have some control over … (again note – not a lot, really)
Step back in to the centre circle and allow complete control to feel what ever it feels for you … that safe place ….

Step 3. step in to the outer circle (No Control).
Things like the weather, politics, other peoples’ thoughts or actions.  Notice how it feels to stand in this circle .. I’m guessing its not great!

Before you step back into the centre and feel safe again just ask yourself “can I do anything about the things in the No Control circle?” Chances are .. not really … so why spend time and energy there?

Best to deal with stuff in the third circle from the safety of the first two, where you are in control, and you can see and think clearly and choose your battles and make decisions that are right for you and yours!

Another lovely simple thing to do is to anesthetise the bodyguard!

Stand with your hands by your side feet shoulder width apart.

Take a slow deep breath in to the count of 7, raising your arms to the side slowly as you do with them being parallel with your shoulders when you get to 7.

Hold that breath for a second or two and then begin to very slowly exhale lowering your arms to your side as you do and counting to 11 as you do, not releasing that last bit of air till you get to 11.

You should feel a little lightheaded if you do it slowly enough! Repeat as necessary.

How will this help? Well, your body is focussed on counting, and your arms and your breathing, not on the bodyguard and anxiety.  So, its a pattern interrupt.

It slows everything down and clears your head, it breaks you out of the fight or flight response.

Simple technique that works really well for kids and adults.

We have Ollie Coaches all over the UK. They are highly skilled at helping young and old take control of their emotions, work with them, help them. No therapist can change anything in your world, like covid or other people but we are awesome at giving you the tools to take charge of your super powers so you can think clearly and trust your judgement, communicate clearly and be heard and help those around you do likewise.

And you know, most of the time the things you get anxious about are things a much younger you got anxious about. Your bodyguard doesn’t know your older and wiser and maybe don’t need to worry like you did many years ago….

If you need a chat, get in touch,

If you would like to join us and train as an Ollie Coach to help us help others, get in touch.

Entry criteria? Oh, that’s simple … no previous required and we aren’t looking for degrees – tell me why and I will teach you how.

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NewsToday’s guests on ‘All things Autism” Radio was Ali Knowles