Inner Child Work to Release Stress

Very early in childhood, by the age of 5 years we have formed our personality, our morals, our attitudes, our beliefs and also our coping mechanisms.

If you have children yourself you know they are like sponges, soaking up everything around them whilst learning and growing. Whilst this is great, it means children including us when we were children pick up behaviours including coping mechanisms and reactions to stressful situations from our parents or adult role models. It also means that we can take things that were said or done to us by our parents quite literally and let that form ideas around our self worth or the acceptable way for us to behave as adults. We have all experienced some form of trauma whether it be big or small and that often gets carried into adulthood. It could be a teacher telling us we would amount to nothing or another child at school telling us we have a big nose we subconsciously or consciously carry these things with us. Carrying trauma, these beliefs, attitudes and coping mechanisms can be downright exhausting and can absolutely lead to stress and overwhelm in adulthood.

In many of my posts about stress I talk about getting to know your triggers and your automatic responses, this can have a lot to do with your inner child. Old wounds can be opened or retriggered by events and cause our inner child to respond, as all children do with often extreme emotions (which is why I always recommend noticing these emotions and choosing to take a breath and not respond right away when emotions are heightened).

What my Inner Child?

Your inner child is you as a child, the child you once we were from the very day you were born right until adulthood. This includes your positive aspects maybe your creativity, your positive outlook on life and joy for just being but can also include supressed emotions or unmet needs. These supressed emotions and unmet needs can carry forward into adulthood as self worth, coping mechanism and the way we respond when we feel unsafe or at risk.

What is Inner Child work and what does it involve?

Inner child work, is based on the idea that when we reached adulthood it did not mean that the child version of ourselves was lost forever transformed into an adult. Inner child work can involve a visualisation meditation exercise where you interact with your inner child either verbally or through action such as play, perhaps doing a task together that you enjoyed as a child. It may also involve journaling from the point of view of your inner child. Through this practice you can learn to 'reparent' yourself based on what comes up for you. This often involves reassuring your inner child that everything is okay, they he/she is safe, loved and supported unconditionally this allows you to stop acting from a place where your inner child is hurt and instead you are aware and connected to your emotions.

How can I integrate Inner Child work into my life?

When you are stressed or have been triggered by a certain situation or event and the emotions have decreased but the event is still fresh in your mind try an inner child mediation or journaling practice. Visualise yours self a young child, the age of 5 or 6, visualise how your face looked, what emotions are displayed by the child's disposition, the colour of the child's hair. Next walk over to the child and ask the child if he/she would like to play with you, you begin playing with the child, drawing, climbing trees whatever it is your child wanted to do. After you have finished playing you sit down with the child and ask if you can talk, you ask the child what makes him or her feel stressed or sad, or angry or anxious (talk in a way your child will understand). You ask further questions, what makes you feel this way and why? when you feel this way how does your body feel? How do you react? Do you hold back, how do you really want to act? You can see your inner child is upset, you thank your inner child for sharing this with you, you tell him or her, that they are loved and they are safe and you are sorry if the don't feel that way, it will all be okay that you are here for them no matter what, you will love him/her unconditionally.

This practice may feel a bit forced at first but once you practice more regularly more will come up, you will see patterns and links to how your child is triggered and responds to stress with how you to as an adult acknowledge this as it is a great place to work from. If any intense emotions or trauma come up, you may need to speak with a therapist one to one which can be really powerful too.

What are the benefits of Inner Child work?

  • Allow you to access repressed memories, mindsets or beliefs that have been holding you back in your life

  • Becoming aware of why certain things trigger you as an adult and why you automatically respond or react they way that you do

  • Help you to accept, let go and move on from past hurts through forgiveness

  • Building self esteem

  • Building healthy boundaries

  • Learning to show yourself empathy and understanding during times of stress and overwhelm

  • Learning to take care of you and your inner child through self care practices

Inner child work can be so powerful for helping us to understand or triggers and our automatic responses when we are stressed, it awakens us to these and allows us to break out of the cycle of going through life on autopilot constantly adding to our own stress and overwhelm.

I hope you found this helpful to cope with your own stress and overwhelm, I know this practice has been really powerful for me and my journey.

As always, until next time.

Love and light,

Rebecca xx

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